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Undated (ca. 1850) Double Eagle Pattern
(ca. 1850) DT$20 Twenty Dollar, Judd-126, Pollock-148, R.8, PR62
Struck in Silver, R.8, One of Two Known
Judd-126, PR62, Ex: Dr. Judd
Design. The design is that of the Liberty Head double eagle that would premier in 1850 for circulation purposes, save that the die is undated. Struck in silver with a reeded edge.
Commentary. This is a pattern of paramount importance, as it represents the intersection of geology, history, and numismatics as perhaps no other coin can. The California Gold Rush bounty by 1849 was making its way back East, upsetting the traditional balance between gold and silver. True to the laws of supply and demand, silver became overpriced in relation to paper currency or gold, and it was widely hoarded and melted, promptly disappearing from circulation. The vast supplies of gold and need for circulating specie dictated a twenty dollar denomination be introduced, large enough for important commerce and international trade but not so unwieldy as to prevent its circulation (as happened with the octagonal California gold fifties of 1851 and 1852).
A unique 1849 double eagle struck in gold is in the Smithsonian, and it is a national treasure that has justly achieved fame and renown. Of the 1850 double eagle patterns, only three are known, two struck in silver (including the present piece), and a copper-gilt piece in the Harry Bass, Jr. Research Foundation Collection. The date of issue is unknown, but the year 1850 is an eminently reasonable guess.
Physical Description. Both sides are deep steel-gray, with accents of cinnamon around the devices front and back. The fields show some minor, insignificant contact that explains the grade but fails to diminish either the considerable appeal--or this piece's historic importance. NGC Census: one in PR62, one in PR64. PCGS Population: one in PR63 (10/08). There is undoubtedly one duplication here.
Census. Only two are known. An example (Judd-126a) in the Harry W. Bass, Jr. Research Foundation is copper-gilt, not silver.
1. Dr. J.H. Judd; Illustrated History (A. Kosoff, 1962), lot 150; Mocatta Metals; 1979 ANA (NERCA, 7/1979), lot 1290, proof; various Rare Coin Reviews (Bowers and Ruddy, 1981); Auction '89 (Superior, 7/1989), lot 944. The present specimen. PR62 NGC.
2. Champa (Bowers and Ruddy, 5/1972), lot 1113, proof; Evans (Bowers and Merena, 8/1980; Southern Collection; Simpson Collection.
From The Lemus Collection, Queller Family Collection Part Two. (NGC ID# 298H, PCGS# 11542)
View all of [The Lemus Collection, Queller Family Collection Part Two ]
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