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1795 Judd-23 Copper Half Eagle Die Trial1795 DT$5 Draped Bust Half Eagle, Judd-23, Pollock-38, R.8, VF30 PCGS. Dies of the regular issue 1795 Small Eagle half eagle, Breen 3-D. The reverse is the well-known blundered die with the final S in STATES over a D. Struck in copper with a reeded edge. This early die trial is believed to be a contemporary or true pattern issue, unlike many off-metal pieces dating to the middle 19th century. Dark chocolate surfaces with lighter tan color around the devices. The surfaces are smooth and free of porosity, the only imperfections being a few minor scrapes on the reverse. On USPatterns.com, Saul Teichman reports: "Although the coin appears to be well worn, it is actually weakly struck and may have been made to space the dies prior to the striking of gold coinage."
Only two confirmed examples of the Judd-23 pattern issue are currently known. The other is from the Breen-1A dies, and it is defaced, thus the present example is handily the finest available example of this pattern variety. In his pattern reference, Andrew Pollock III noted a third similar piece, from the Breen-2C dies, with heavily granular surfaces that may be a cast counterfeit.
This example has an undertype with traces of the previous design visible across Liberty's forehead, and also in the lower drapery and hair details. Wavy lines at the center of the reverse are of little help in identification. Possibilities for the undertype include a cut-down large cent or a Talbot, Allum & Lee token. It is probably not a half cent undertype as the diameters are different enough to preclude such a scenario. Another possibility is that this piece was double struck, and there appear to be certain similarities between the design outlines of the different impressions. We believe that this die trial was struck twice, and that it was produced when the press was being set up, for spacing or alignment purposes.
Ex: Numismatic Auctions Sales and Consulting (Andy Lustig, 6/1986); Goldberg Coins (2/2001), lot 154.
From The Jones Beach Collection. (NGC ID# 294Y, PCGS# 11063)
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