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1836 Gobrecht Dollar Judd-60, Original, Pollock-65, PR64 PCGS

1836 PS$1 Name on Base, Judd-60 Original, Coin Alignment, Pollock-65, R.1, PR64 PCGS. The head of Liberty is opposite the DO in DOLLAR, with the eagle flying "onwards and upwards" after a normal coin turn--Walter Breen's definition of "Die Alignment I". The coin is well stuck with excellent detail on all the devices. A few hairlines are evident but no significant marks are worthy of specific description. This coin has attractive proof surfaces with deep original toning. There is no raised die line present in the field immediately above the eagle's right wing pointing toward the AT in STATES. This raised die line is present on most, but not all, Judd-60 coins; however, excessive wear or weak strikes on some coins can eliminate this diagnostic feature. However, well struck coins that do not have this raised die line are generally considered to be the earliest strikings of the Gobrecht Dollars from December 1836, made before the reverse die was accidentally scratched. Some of the earliest coins were held back from circulation by the U.S. Mint for special presentation purposes. In particular, Christian Gobrecht's own personal specimen (sold in 1992) does not have this reverse die line characteristic.
There were two deliveries of 1836 dollars (made in 1836), although all coins were officially reported on the same day (December 31, 1836). Warrant #1471 reports that 400 dollars were minted; however, it appears that most of these coins were retained in the Mint for special distributions, including a few presentation pieces. This includes coins given to both Christian Gobrecht and President Andrew Jackson. After the first set of 400 coins were made, a second warrant (#1480) shows that another 600 dollars were produced. Unlike the first set of coins, the second 600 pieces were sent to the Bank of the United States for public distribution (and destined for circulation). A total of 1000 silver dollars were produced in December 1836, and all of these coins were struck as proofs on a 416 grain planchet (the official weight standard from 1792), and were in Die Alignment I. Most of these coins were deposited into the U.S. banking system, either through the Bank of the United States or through transactions conducted at the Mint. Consequently, the "original" 1836 dollars (Judd-60 coins in Die Alignment I) are regular issue U.S. coins and therefore are not patterns. The main reason for calling these coins patterns seems to go back to Woodin's pattern book (1913) or even earlier, based on isolated comments made by certain Mint personnel. Nevertheless, information from the time these coins were initially struck clearly indicates it was Mint's intention to strike these pieces as a regular issue (although struck as proofs). The information from Woodin's book was simply carried over to Judd's book on patterns without further investigation. This misinterpretation has continued into the present with Pollock; however, inclusion of the Gobrecht Dollars in his book appears to be based mainly on tradition.
Due to the lack of a raised die line in the reverse field above the eagle's right wing, and because of the high state of preservation for this coin (it is hard to believe that this coin could have been pulled from the U.S. banking system), it appears that this piece is from the first striking of Gobrecht Dollars made in December 1836, and probably represents one of the few special pieces that were purposely held back by the Mint for dignitaries and other high government officials in order to honor the striking of a new dollar coin. Due to the high grade and excellent condition of this coin, it should be possible to trace its pedigree via careful comparison with similar coins appearing in past auctions.
Compared with other silver dollar issues, Gobrecht Dollars represent a very scarce three-year series, and in high grades (64 or higher), these coins are extremely rare. There can't be many more high grade Gobrecht Dollars awaiting certification for the first time. The history surrounding this coin is one of the most distinctive and interesting of any coin ever made by the U.S. Mint. For either the type collector or silver dollar specialist, this coin will surely be the centerpiece of a most enviable collection. Population: 8 in 64, 0 finer (10/04).(#11225) (NGC ID# BLWV, PCGS# 11225)

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Auction Dates
December, 2004
8th-10th Wednesday-Friday
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 10
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Gobrecht Dollars Illustrated by the Collection of Julius Korein

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