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Lot
1564

1858 P50C Half Dollar, Judd-223A, Pollock-267, R.8, PR63 Brown NGC....

2009 January Orlando, FL FUN Auction #1121

 
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Auction Ended On: Jan 7, 2009
Item Activity: 6 Internet/mail/phone bidders
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Location:

Orange County Convention Center
North/South Building
9400 Universal Blvd.
Orlando, FL 32819

Description:
Extremely Rare 1858 Half Dollar, PR63 Brown
Only Example in Private Hands of Judd-223A, R.8

1858 P50C Half Dollar, Judd-223A, Pollock-267, R.8, PR63 Brown NGC.
Design
. The two known Judd-223A patterns were created through the marriage of two Paquet Perched Eagle reverse dies, although one was extensively ground, thus removing approximately 75% of the detail. Struck in copper with a reeded edge.

Commentary.
Judd-223A is perhaps one of the oddest patterns of any date and, until the eighth edition of United States Pattern Coins by Judd, was listed under Appendix A: Die and Hub Trials in the same reference. The age-old question regarding this peculiar pattern--or, more accurately, "fantasy piece"--is which die was ground to create the near-uniface side. The latest edition of Judd (2005) states that the ground side is "possibly Reverse B of 1859, but this has not been confirmed." This suggestion is logical since Reverse B is the "broken ribbon" version of Paquet's Perched Eagle die, and the opposite side of Judd-223A is the "perfect ribbon" variation. Given the limited quantity of pieces struck from Paquet's dies, we can safely assume that only one die of each version was prepared.

Because little detail was spared when the die was effaced, past researchers have only speculated that it could be the "broken ribbon" variety. Using computer overlay technology, the catalogers of this sale are confident that the ground die is indeed Reverse B, or the "broken ribbon" variety. The key diagnostic is the positional relationship of DOLLAR to the dentils. Further proof is found in the differing styles of the olive branch leaves. Now that the effaced die has been positively identified, a new questions begs to be answered: Why was one die cancelled, as opposed to simply being discarded, and were the two dies married for a purpose, or are they truly fantasy pieces? These mysteries, unfortunately, may never be solved.

Only two examples of Judd-223A are known. The Cox piece, which was unknown to Pollock, is permanently impounded in the Smithsonian Institution. Taxay (1975) also considered this to be a unique die trial. The USPatterns.com website provides a provenance which corrects the information documented in Pollock's 1994 treatise. The current offering is plated in both Judd and Pollock.

Physical Description.
Mottled ebony and walnut coloration blankets both sides of this bizarre production. The surfaces are smooth with a few scattered abrasions that are commensurate with the assigned grade. Although more fascinating than attractive, this extremely rare piece is sure to be a highlight of its new owner's pattern cabinet.

Census
. Only two examples are known.
1. King Farouk; Palace Collections of Egypt (Sotheby's, 2/1954), lot 1756; M.H. Bolender; Edwin Hydeman; Mann Sale (Bowers and Merena, 9/1988), lot 597. The present specimen.
2. The Cox example; Smithsonian Institution.
From The Lemus Collection, Queller Family Collection Part Two. (PCGS# 11919)

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