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Description

Probably Unique 1878 Judd-1553
Copper Dollar, PR64 Red and Brown

1878 $1 Morgan Dollar, Judd-1553, Pollock-1730, Unique(?), PR64 Red and Brown NGC. The obverse appears to be identical to the regular issue 1878 Morgan dollar. Compared to a proof 1878 7 TF Morgan, both obverse dies have exactly 148 dentils, and all other details appear to be the same. The reverse is similar to the regular issue reverse, with minor differences. The olive branch has nine leaves in a slightly different layout, with other differences in the arrows and slimmer wings. Note the first A in AMERICA, distant from the wing on this pattern, and touching the wing on the regular issue. Berries are in different clusters and leaves in the wreath are in different groups. However, this 1878 Morgan dollar pattern is a closer match to the regular design than any others of the year. Struck in copper with a reeded edge.
This pattern is almost certainly unique, as the only known record of an example dates to the King Farouk Sale in February 1954, where lot 1989 was described as "1878, a similar pattern in copper, A.W. 1561 A. Extremely Fine, prettily toned and probably unique." Unfortunately, like so many of the King Farouk coins, that lot was unplated in the catalog. However, the grade of Extremely Fine and the description of "prettily toned" seem counterintuitive. Many of the Farouk patterns were conservatively graded Extremely Fine, while today they are known to be considerably nicer. Given the aesthetic desirability of this piece and the lack of any other auction records for the variety, we feel strongly that the present piece is the same as the Farouk coin, remaining unique. Only this single example has been certified by NGC, and PCGS has never graded a Judd-1553.
This amazing pattern is mostly brilliant, with rich orange luster and lovely iridescent toning. The surfaces are exceptional, and the strike is bold. There is little evidence of spotting or other blemishes. The appearance or reappearance of a pattern that is believed unique and has remained hidden for more than half a century is nearly unprecedented. This piece will appeal directly to pattern specialists and advanced Morgan dollar collectors. The connoisseur who desires the rarest numismatic specimens can do no better than the present piece, which resides on a short list of unique coins.
From The Frank M. Stirling Collection. (PCGS# 71914)

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Auction Dates
May, 2009
27th-31st
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 17
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