US Coins

Second 1916 quarter pattern attributed

Only the second known example of a 1916 Standing Liberty quarter dollar pattern has been authenticated, graded and encapsulated by Numismatic Guaranty Corp. after previously being misattributed as a regular issue coin.

The pattern, Judd 1989 as catalogued in United States Pattern Coins, was graded by NGC as Proof 61 and will be offered Aug. 16 by Heritage Auctions in their Platinum Night session held in conjunction with the American Numismatic Association World’s Fair of Money in Philadelphia. 

The pattern was listed as Judd 1795 in earlier editions of the Judd pattern reference. 

While the coin rests in a holder with a Proof designation, numismatic researcher and author Roger W. Burdette concludes that neither of the now two known examples of Judd 1989 is a Proof strike. Burdette is author of the Renaissance of American Coinage trilogy, a detailed historical analysis of U.S. coinage redesign from 1907 to 1921. 

The Judd 1989 pattern differs from the regular 1916 Standing Liberty quarter dollar in several ways. It is missing sculptor Hermon A. MacNeil’s M designer’s initial to the right of the date and it has a different style olive branch near the L in LIBERTY. 

Zeke Wischer, a cataloger of U.S. Coins at Heritage and specialist in Standing Liberty quarter dollars, said when he initially received the coin at Heritage’s Dallas headquarters, it had been examined by Professional Coin Grading Service. Wischer said the 1916 piece was part of an auction consignment that came through Heritage’s New York City gallery.

Sarah Miller, a consignment director for Heritage in New York, said it’s likely that the late collector, whose family consigned the 1916 pattern to Heritage, didn’t know that what he had was a pattern. Miller said the piece was secured in the slot in an album as a regular issue 1916 Standing Liberty quarter dollar. Miller said something about the piece made her suspect it was something special, but she didn’t find out for sure until Wischer finally had the opportunity to inspect it.

The piece was first submitted to PCGS by Heritage and returned to the auction house by PCGS in a holder with a label that identified it as Genuine, Uncirculated Details, Repaired, without attribution as a pattern, Wischer said. 

Wischer said it took him less than a minute to determine that the 1916 Standing Liberty quarter dollar was a pattern after noting the head detail differed from detail found on a regular issue 1916 Standing Liberty quarter dollar. Additionally, the surfaces of the Judd 1989 pattern were striated and granular, which is not consistent with the regular issue coins. His suspicions were confirmed when he compared the olive branches and noticed the difference between the number of leaves on the pattern and on the regular issue.

“This piece differs from the [other Judd 1989] example in that all of the obverse olive leaves are intact,” Wischer said, referring to the piece once owned by collector Jimmy Hayes. “The Hayes coin shows two of the leaves scratched off the coin, which is believed to have been done by the Mint Director in 1916, per documented correspondence from that period. Examples of Judd-1989 other than the Hayes coin should have all of the olive leaves intact, as this newly discovered example does.”

The submission was then sent to NGC whose graders confirmed Wischer’s attribution and certified it as a pattern.

Auction appearances

The last time an example of Judd 1989 was offered at auction was during Heritage Auctions’ Jan. 7, 2004, sale. The NGC Proof 65 pattern realized $312,000, which included the then 15 percent buyer’s fee added to the final closing hammer price. That was the second time the Hayes example of Judd 1989 was offered at auction. 

The first time the pattern came to auction was when the piece was owned by the former Louisiana congressman. Offered simply as “Proof” in Stack’s Oct. 22, 1985, sale of Hayes’ collection, the pattern realized $20,900, which includes the then 10 percent buyer’s fee. 

The former Hayes piece was once in the collection of former Treasury Secretary William McAdoo. 

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Hayes’ pattern was identified in the 1985 sale as J-1795, its original designation in the J. Hewitt Judd book. The Stack’s auction lot description notes that “the obverse was originally designed with two extra leaves around the L in LIBERTY, virtually obscuring that letter. Since Judd used photos of coins in the Smithsonian [National Numismatic Collection] he did not notice that the leaves had been removed carefully and that the toning hid the removal perfectly.”

The 2004 auction lot description further quoted from an Oct. 22, 1916, letter from U.S. Mint Director F. H. von Engelken to Adam M. Joyce, superintendent at the Philadelphia Mint, correspondence located by J.H. Cline, author of Standing Liberty Quarters:

“I am returning to you herewith two of the four sample quarters you sent me, one being blank on one side with the reverse design on the other, and the other being your number 4, as submitted in your letter of October 20th.”

“With one slight alteration, the design as it appears on No. 4 is acceptable. The slight alteration referred to is the elimination of the two leaves in the angle of the letter ‘L’ in the word ‘Liberty’. You will notice that I have scratched these two leaves off the coin I am returning to you. With this slight change you may go ahead and make up the dies for the finished coin. I have kept here No. 2 and No. 3, which you can charge to me.”

Saul Teichman, who operates the website, explains the letter is also noted on Page 74 of Roger W. Burdette’s book, Renaissance of American Coinage 1916-1921.

“Apparently the third coin mentioned in the letter was discovered by Heritage masquerading as a regular issue,”according to Teichman. “This coin is likely sample #3 in Roger’s description,” Teichman says. 

Burdette describes sample #3 as “Pattern coin incorporating von Engelken’s suggestions from early October. Details are unknown, but the obverse probably had leaves overlapping the L. Natural luster suppressed; possibly a sandblast (‘matte proof’) surface.”

Sample #4, the former Hayes piece, is described by Burdette as “Same as #3 but with the natural luster unimpaired. Von Engelken scraped off the two leaves obscuring the L and approved making dies from the modified design.”

“I compared the NGC photos of the candidate new J-1989 with an historical photo posted on of the Jimmy Hayes quarter,” Burdette informed Coin World via email July 3. “As is well known, the Hayes coin has olive leaves scratched off the piece at the angle of the letter ‘L.’ Comparison indicates no difference in the olive branch and other obverse design elements except for the intentional alteration. The coins match in all respects discernible from the photos.

“Also, I reviewed the documentary background including the relevant pages from my book (pp.73-74). The quoted documents confirm two characteristics of the Hayes coin and presumably of any other example made at the same time. First, mint director von Engelken deliberately defaced a pattern quarter (#4 according to the letters) to show how he wanted the design altered prior to production.

“Second, all examples of this pattern were made on a normal toggle press so they would be ‘the natural product of the press.’ Since all ‘proof’ coins were made on a hydraulic medal press, the Hayes and candidate J-1989 cannot be proofs, except by extension of imagination.

“My conclusions are that candidate J-1989 as illustrated and described by NGC is a newly identified example of Judd 1989, and it was deliberately struck on a normal toggle press and therefore not a “proof” example. (The Hayes coin is also not a ‘proof.’)” 

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