Condition Census 1877 Copper 'Sailor Head' Dollar
1877 $1 Sailor Head Dollar, Judd-1542, Pollock-1715, R.7, PR66
Red and Brown PCGS.
Judd-1542, R.7, PR66 Red and Brown
Design. On the obverse a head of Liberty faces left, with 13 stars around, IN GOD WE TRUST at top, date below. She wears a coronet inscribed LIBERTY in raised letters, and the hair is tied back with a ribbon. On the reverse a thick central wreath frames 1 / DOLLAR, with the country reference above and Latin motto below. Struck in copper with a reeded edge.
Commentary. The Sailor Head dollar is one of many pattern varieties from the year 1877, a year in which Mint experimentation, or production of numismatic delicacies, or both, apparently reach their zenith. It is an attractive presentation in its own right, and the large surface area of the dollar, as here, makes it doubly attractive by allowing the more-intricate details to be fully appreciated.
The Sailor Head obverse, however, made its debut in 1875, on pattern designs for the twenty cent piece, half eagle, and eagle. In 1877 this same obverse was combined with several different reverses, but not in the dollar size. The 1877 Sailor Head quarter in silver with regular reverse of the Seated Liberty quarter (Judd-1499) is a legendary rarity, unique and unconfirmed in modern times, while the copper specimens of the same pairing are rated Low R.7. Copper dimes (Judd-1498) with a similar obverse exist, also Low R.7, while silver specimens are unconfirmed. A somewhat similar, though not identical, design graces the Judd-1501 and 1502 half dollars in silver and copper, R.8 and Low R.7 respectively.
As one of the few Sailor Heads in a silver dollar size available in the numismatic marketplace, this piece is sure to see intense bidding competition in this healthy market for collectibles of all kinds, especially numismatic treasures.
Physical Description. Copious quantities of original Mint red accompany strong visual appeal, with highlights of orange and lilac and minimal distractions of any sort. A small comma-like dark spot through the 8 in the date and a second in the obverse field below the W(E) serve as pedigree identifiers, but they fail to dampen the impact of this marvelous Premium Gem. An hourglass-shaped area of bluish patina is noted on the reverse around the 1 in the center. NGC Census: one each in PR65 Brown, PR65 Red and Brown, PR67 Red and Brown, PR67 Star Red and Brown. PCGS Population: one each in PR66 Brown, PR64 Red and Brown, and PR66 Red and Brown (this piece); three PR65 Red and Brown (11/08). Ten certified examples, with likely duplications. USPatterns.com estimates that "at least seven" are known, with one of them in the Connecticut State Library.
Provenance. Expanded from USPatterns.com:
Ex: Phillip Warner Sale (Robert L. Hughes, 1/1980), lot 62; Great '80 (Robert L. Hughes, 7/1980), lot 137; Bowers and Ruddy Rare Coin Review No. 44, p. 8 (9/1982); Steig (Bowers and Ruddy, 9/1982), lot 1810; Connecticut Historical Society (Bowers and Merena,4/1983), lot 2428; Jascha Heifetz (Superior, 10/1989), lot 3318, PCGS PR65 Red and Brown; Heritage (11/2003), lot 11214, PR66 Red and Brown PCGS.
From The Lemus Collection, Queller Family Collection Part Two. (NGC ID# 2AES, PCGS# 71886)
View all of [The Lemus Collection, Queller Family Collection Part Two ]
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