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    B1883 Hawaii 1/8 Dollar "Pattern" PR 50. Unauthorized pattern of the Hapalawu, or 1/8 dollar denomination, precursor to the dime, and ultimately rejected so that the Hawaiian coinage could tie directly to that of the United States. One-eighth of a dollar is 12 and 1/2 cents, thus the Hapalawu would have been the one coin to destroy the complete and total correlation between the two coinage systems. This is the variety with the Italic 8s in the date, labeled by Breen as a clandestine pattern which surfaced following the sale of the Farouk collection in 1954. This coin has been lightly cleaned, with some faint hairlines on both sides. A partial wire rim is noted on the obverse; the reverse has rounded rims.
    Some question exists as to the status of this coin. There is no doubt that the Hapalawu with the block, or standard 8s, is the coin of which 20 or so proofs were struck and which is illustrated in most major price guides. The question boils down to the status of this coin. By off-handedly dismissing the Farouk patterns as bogus, Breen inadvertently lumps this coin into that group. Our purpose here is to convince the bidding audience that this particular coin is not a clandestine issue. 1) This piece is struck in silver. To date, the unauthorized patterns are unlisted in silver and do not appear in any major reference work, nor did an example of the "unauthorized" Hapalawu pattern appear in the Farouk sale in this metal. The planchet for this particular coin was a cut-down Liberty Seated quarter, so there is no question as to the metal content. Traces of the undertype appear on the obverse with Liberty's arm, hand and flagstaff appearing between Kalakaua's eye and OF. An outline of the first 8 of the date appears by the bead to the left of the date, and lines of the shield are evident in the king's hair. That a cut-down quarter was used is not unexpected, as the mint did not have any planchets for this denomination. 2) This piece is struck from unrusted dies. We have not examined any of the other unauthorized patterns, but they are claimed to have been struck from rusted dies, indicating a later use of the dies. It is quite possible, and highly likely, that this piece was struck at the same time as the other, legitimate 1883 patterns. 3) The shape of the 8s in the date has long-been the basis for condemning this issue, because the italic 8s of the unauthorized patterns do not match the block 8s of the regular issue coins or legitimate patterns. However, we do not agree with this theory. Rather, this pattern might have been rejected because of the difference. Isn't the purpose of a pattern to present a design for approval? 4) There is no doubt that this is a product of the U.S. Mint. Krause-Mishler attribute the dies to a workman in the Philadelphia mint sometime after 1900. However, we know of no basis for such a speculation, nor do we see these dies as being something deliberately produced after-hours by some industrious workman. These dies are the work of a skilled engraver, not the night watchman. The same letter punches that were used on the dime were used on this piece, and the king's head is from the same device punch. There is nothing crude, fake, or amateurish about these dies. They are of the same high quality as the regular Hawaiian coinages. We do not dispute that the off-metal, unauthorized patterns from rusted dies might have been struck at a later date, but there is a vast difference in the level of skill required to create a working die and the act of striking a coin, and we suggest that these are dies contemporary with the other Hawaiian coinage and pattern dies.
    The status of this coin is actually moot, especially when it comes to value. The unauthorized patterns are regarded just as highly as the regular pattern coinage. This unique example in silver should set a new record for the variety. If it is, in fact, a legitimate pattern of the Hapalawu, it ranks as one of the very rarest of all Hawaiian coins. (NGC ID# 2C55, PCGS# 10981)

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

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    July, 1994
    27th-30th Wednesday-Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 3
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 268
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