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    Rare 1868 Aluminum Pattern Proof Set with Leather Case

    1868 Sixteen-Piece Aluminum Proof Set, one of each denomination from the cent through double eagle. All are struck from regular dies in aluminum and are plain edge on the cent through nickel and reeded edge thereafter. They were originally housed and are accompanied by a morocco presentation case lined in purple velvet and fashioned like a book in which both sides of the coins could be viewed under glass. The cover is gold tooled leather with brass clasps and hinges, and survives with only slight fraying at the edges.
    Aluminum was considered a semi-precious metal in the years following the Civil War and was valued at approximately the same level per troy ounce as silver, although its lighter weight would have caused a significant reduction in intrinsic value on current silver issues. In referring to these pattern sets, Dr. Judd wrote that they were produced "to demonstrate how excellently aluminum coined in any die, (and) several proof sets were struck in aluminum from the regular dies of the 16 denominations of the year and were presented to Dr. Linderman, Director of the Mint." Linderman's original instructions were for the striking of two sets, one to be sent to the Bank of England and the second to France. Apparently his directions received prompt attention because two days later he wrote, "As you can furnish impressions of our coins in Aluminum so readily, I desire that you will make four sets instead of two."
    Several sources have listed the number of sets issued at five, a number that would leave three in this country. The Garrett Collection set, which we believe to be the set offered here, was sold in November, 1979 and included a leather case of issue. Another is rumored to have been owned by Abe Kosoff or Abner Kreisberg in the 1950s, and a third was passed down in the family of the Secretary of the Treasury in 1868, Hugh McCullough, only in the past few years being sold to a numismatist from Missouri. Individually, the set consists of:
    Indian Cent, Judd-612, Pollock-677, R.7, PR 65 PCGS. Tiny fleck of corrosion above the first T in STATES and a short hairline in front of the mouth, otherwise superb.
    Two-Cent Piece, Judd-614, Pollock-679, R.7, PR 65 PCGS. Die polishing in the obverse field and, according to its pre-slab description, machining marks around the edge as struck.
    Three-Cent Nickel, Judd-621, Pollock-690, R.7, PR 65 PCGS. Faint striations on Liberty's cheek from the minting process.
    Three-Cent Silver, Judd-622, Pollock-691, R.7, PR 65 PCGS. Trivial corrosion on the reverse border, just below 9 o'clock.
    Shield Nickel, Judd-636, Pollock-708, R.7, PR 64 PCGS. Light hairlines to the left of the date and on the reverse.
    Seated Liberty Half Dime, Judd-639, Pollock-711, R.7, PR 65 PCGS. Well frosted with a small indentation in the planchet on the obverse edge at 7 o'clock.
    Seated Liberty Dime, Judd-649, Pollock-722, R.7, PR 66 PCGS. Carbon-free and essentially as struck.
    Seated Liberty Quarter, Judd-650, Pollock-723, R.7, PR 64 PCGS. A lovely cameo that is hairlined on the obverse.
    Seated Liberty Half-Dollar, Judd-651, Pollock-724, R.7, PR 65 PCGS. Another beautifully frosted specimen, this piece has a thin unfinished area along the right obverse margin and is a trifle soft on the eagle's left leg.
    Seated Liberty Silver Dollar, Judd-652, Pollock-725, R.7, PR 65 PCGS. A bright-white cameo with a tiny planchet flake to the right of Liberty's bent elbow, the clue that linked this set to the Garrett Collection.
    Gold Dollar, Judd-653, Pollock-726, R.7, PR 64 PCGS. Hairline scratch below the portrait.
    Quarter Eagle, Judd-654, Pollock-727, R.7, PR 62 PCGS. The obverse exhibits wispy hairlines and a more severe band of lines from Liberty's chin to the edge.
    Three-Dollars, Judd-655, Pollock-728, R.7, PR 64 PCGS. Scattered hairlining on each side.
    Half Eagle, Judd-660, Pollock-733, R.7, PR 63 PCGS. No carbon is present, but similarly hairlined to the three-dollar.
    Eagle, Judd-664, Pollock-739, R.7, PR 64 PCGS. A hint of (NGC ID# 5W8J, PCGS# 60612)

    Learn more at the Newman Numismatic Portal at Washington University in St. Louis.

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    Auction Dates
    Jul-Aug, 1997
    30th-2nd Wednesday-Saturday
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