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Auction Name: 2020 November 19 - 22 US Coins Signature Auction

Lot Number: 3263

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1879 $1 Silver Dollar, Judd-1605, Pollock-1801, Low R.7, PR65 PCGS. Ex: Simpson. The Judd reference calls this William Barber obverse similar to the famous "Washlady" design, but to our eyes there are also similarities to the Coiled Hair stella obverse. Liberty's hair is tightly coiled about her head in a bun, with two flowing ribbons in back and a beaded headband inscribed LIBERTY. IN GOD WE TRUST and 13 stars appear around the rim, date below. The reverse shows a rather scrawny eagle inside a laurel wreath with evenly matched berry pairs. UNITED STATES OF AMERICA is around the rim -- the letters irregularly spaced -- and ONE DOLLAR is below. The motto is in small letters above the eagle. Struck in silver with a reeded edge.

We wrote of this design in the Lemus-Queller catalog, "In a classic case of closing the barn door after the horse has got out, the Mint in 1879 produced a plethora of silver dollar pattern designs aimed at supplanting the Morgan dollar design of the inexperienced assistant engraver, George T. Morgan -- a design that, of course, was struck by the many millions beginning the prior year, in 1878. While the Morgan dollar design saw much criticism in its time, it is well-loved today. If this was meant as an improvement, it is not. ... If this is truly a William Barber design as Judd maintains (others differ), it is worth noting that he would have been 71 or 72 when he executed this die. (William Barber died unexpectedly on Aug. 31, 1879, after catching a chill on vacation while being in the surf off of Atlantic City, New Jersey.)"

This Gem is among the finer survivors of the dozen or so examples known. Deep bluish tones dominate, with a ring of amber-gold around the reverse rim. Population: 2 in 65, 1 finer (9/20).
Ex: Purchased from W. Elliot Woodward (August 18, 1883); Garrett Collection, Part II (Bowers and Ruddy, 3/1980), lot 1055, Choice Proof.
Collecting Patterns – A Brief History and Commentary

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