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Description

Extremely Rare and Valuable Name Below Base 1836 Gobrecht Dollar

1836 PS$1 Name Below Base, Judd-58 Restrike, Pollock-61, R.5, PR66 NGC. Die Alignment III. Plain Edge. Silver. On the obverse, Liberty is seated on a rock with a shield and a Liberty Cap on pole held in her left hand. The word LIBERTY is embossed on a ribbon that drapes over the shield, and C. GOBRECHT. F. (i.e., C. Gobrecht fecit, where fecit is Latin for "made this") appears in the field between the base of Liberty and the date. This variety, with Gobrecht's name appearing below the base of Liberty is an American numismatic classic. Nevertheless, criticism concerning the prominent placing of Gobrecht's name on a U.S. coin forced director Robert M. Patterson to have this signature moved to a less conspicuous place. In particular, Gobrecht's signature was impressed in small letters at the base of Liberty, creating the Judd-60 issue, or standard 1836 dollar which was then released to the public in December 1836.
All Gobrecht dollars, including the patterns, were struck with a proof finish (i.e., were struck at least twice to bring up the details of the low relief design). This particular coin exhibits excellent mirrored surfaces and is uniformly toned in colors of gray and blue with an undertone of reddish patina. Some doubling of the letters within the reverse legend is noted, and the coin may be unique as such. Since this coin was clearly struck at least twice, it is possible that the observed doubling occurred as a result of planchet rotation between strikes. This is the only Judd-58 specimen that we are aware of that shows this type of doubling.
The original dies for this pattern dollar were produced in 1836 by Christian Gobrecht (as an engraver at the U.S. Mint) from sketches made by Titian Peale and Thomas Sully. On the reverse, an American eagle flies to the left in a field of twenty-six stars. Thirteen large stars represent the thirteen original colonies, and thirteen smaller stars depict the subsequent states admitted to the Union (with Michigan expected to be admitted in 1837). The legend UNITED STATES OF AMERICA and ONE DOLLAR appears around the circumference. On the present coin, the head of Liberty is nearly opposite the O in ONE, with the eagle flying level to slightly downward after a normal coin turn (i.e., rotation around the coin's horizontal axis). A die crack unites the tops of NITED STATES O, and a second smaller crack is located at the bottom of DOLLA in DOLLAR. The Die Alignment III configuration, and the presence of reverse die cracks, indicate, according to the most recent and ongoing research by Mike Carboneau and James Gray, that this coin is a restrike, probably made between 1857 and 1869. However, since no "original" Judd-58 coin has been authenticated; it appears that all, or nearly all, of the Judd-58s are restrikes. Had the U.S. Mint not made these coins for collectors in the late 1850s and 1860s, then for all practical purposes, this pattern would be a non-collectible item. Therefore, the only collectible Gobrecht dollar patterns are the restrikes, and even these are very difficult to locate. In fact, no Judd-58 specimen exists in the Smithsonian Collection. Although the exact mintage of Judd-58 coins is unknown, recent estimates based on the observed population of Judd-60 coins (and their known mintage) suggest that if any Judd-58s were made in 1836, then fewer than six originals were struck (however, all of these examples seem to have vanished from the numismatic community). In addition, approximately 80 restrikes are estimated to have been made sometime after 1857. Although PCGS has recently begun to classify some Judd-58 coins as "originals," it is not clear that these newly identified coins are in Die Alignment I orientation and were made on 416 grain planchets; or if they represent other die alignment configurations made from an uncracked reverse die. In any case, after 18 years of grading and encapsulating coins, only 22 Judd-58s have been certified: sixteen by PCGS and six by NGC. Two coins have been graded Proof-66 by NGC and none by PCGS. No coins have been graded higher.
Finally, the current coin is a spectacular specimen representing one of the best preserved examples of one of the greatest rarities in numismatics. Simply an incredible coin and an incredible opportunity. (#11217) (NGC ID# BLWU, PCGS# 11217)

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Auction Dates
June, 2004
3rd-5th
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 7
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