1868 $10 J-661
Memorable 1868 Gold Eagle Pattern, Judd-6611868 Eagle, Judd-661, Pollock-734, R.7, PR 65 PCGS. The obverse features a bust of Liberty facing left and wearing a beaded Coronet. This portrait bears striking similarity to James B. Longacre's three cent nickel design, and has been reported as the final work of this well known 19th century engraver before his death in 1869. Outlining the bust are thirteen stars and below is the date. Featured on the reverse is a small eagle with upraised, perched wings and a scroll above reading IN GOD WE TRUST. The peripheral legend UNITED STATES OF AMERICA and the denomination (TEN D.) encircle these features on the reverse, which DeLorey and Pollock credit to Anthony Paquet due to the artistic style of the eagle. But the design is nearly identical to the reverse of Judd-271, a thin planchet half eagle pattern that, like the Judd-661, has long been credited to Longacre. Struck in gold with a reeded edge.
Both sides of this memorable gold pattern, one of just four pieces known to exist, are a rich yellow-gold and are deeply reflective with a hint of milky patina on the lower half of the reverse. Wispy die striations in the fields are the product of die polishing at the Mint and are said to be identical not only on all gold specimens, but those struck in copper and aluminum as well. There is a squiggly lint mark below the TE in UNITED on the reverse and a raised die file mark just above Liberty's jawline that are also Mint produced.
Of the four known specimens in gold, one has been impounded in the Connecticut State Library Collection since 1913. The second and third examples were part of the incredible Dr. John E. Wilkison Collection of United States Gold Patterns that was acquired by Paramount International Coin Corporation in 1973. One of these, the Boyd, Judd, Wilkison specimen was sold in 1988 as part of a three-piece set that included all three metallic versions (gold, copper, and aluminum) of the design; and made an appearance on its own as a PCGS PR 63 in Auction '90 (Superior 8/90), lot 1463, where it reportedly brought $100,000. The third specimen came to Dr. Wilkison by way of Abe Kosoff in the early 1940s for an impressively high $5,500; was later offered by Paramount as lot 178 from Auction '79 in July, 1979; and last appeared in the William R. Sieck Collection (Bowers and Ruddy, 7/81), lot 2432, where it was hammered for what now seems like the bargain price of $42,000. A fourth 1868 gold pattern was purchased by Abe Kosoff at Sotheby's Palace Collection of King Farouk in February, 1954, lot 312, and, like the unique Judd-1570 gold pattern, seemingly disappeared for decades. We were hesitant at first to identify this as the Farouk specimen due to reports in both Judd's United States Pattern, Experimental and Trial Pieces and in Pollock's United States Patterns and Related Issues that it was "scratched." Since its companion piece in the 1999 ANA Sale, the 1878 five dollar thin planchet pattern in gold, appeared just three lots after our "mystery" ten dollar gold pattern, since both escaped all numismatic eyes for more than a generation, and since images from the Wilkison specimens just don't match the presently offered example, we must conclude that this important gold pattern is indeed the Farouk specimen. An impressively rare and beautiful gold pattern, with an equally fabulous pedigree. (PCGS# 60879)
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