US Coins

Market Analysis: George Morgan’s gold $10 pattern

A top lot sold in August from Heritage Auctions’ continued offerings of the Bob Simpson collection was this magnificent 1878 pattern for a gold $10 eagle designed by George Morgan, designer of the famed Morgan dollar that was first struck for circulation the same year.

Graded Proof 66 Deep Cameo by Professional Coin Grading Service, it is listed as Judd 1581 in the series reference and is one of just two known, with the other part of the collection of the Connecticut State Library for more than a century.

The design is similar to Morgan’s adopted design for the dollar, but with a different Phrygian cap and no cereal wreath, while the reverse is closer to that used on the dollar. Researcher Roger W. Burdette discovered a Jan. 12, 1878, entry in the Mint archives indicating only two sets of Morgan’s patterns were produced in gold.

The first public offering of these patterns was in Baltimore dealer George Massamore’s December 1884 auction.

Heritage noted of the coin in the auction, “The impeccably preserved orange-gold surfaces show highlights of green and lilac in selected areas,” adding, “The richly frosted devices contrast profoundly with the deeply mirrored fields to create a dramatic cameo effect.”

The rare pattern issue realized $810,000 on Aug. 18.

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