1838 Judd-85 Gobrecht Dollar, PR65
    Fewer Than a Dozen Pieces Believed Known

    1838 P$1 Name Omitted, Judd-85 Restrike, Pollock-94, High R.7. PR65 NGC. Silver. Plain Edge. Stars Obverse, No Stars Reverse. Die Alignment III (the center of Liberty's head is opposite the N in ONE). This rarity is a variant of the Judd-84 1838 Gobrecht dollar, a rarity in its own right, the difference between the two being in the edge treatment, the Judd-84s have a reeded edge and the Judd-85s are plain edge coins.

    As noted in the Gobrecht Dollars reference, all Judd-85s show the same reverse characteristics. All show minute die cracks that connect MERI, TE, and LAR (continuing into the field to the right). The spur on the right side of the D in UNITED is also diagnostic. The always-seen depression below the F in OF is very faintly seen on this piece, most likely obscured by the toning. The Judd-84 dollars are believed to have actually been struck in 1838, and are considered by many to be the only legitimate patterns in the Gobrecht series. The Judd-85 dollars are restrikes and were undoubtedly struck by Mint personnel for sale to collectors. The fields on this piece have confirmed reflectivity that is consistent with later 19th century proofs. It is believed these pieces were actually struck during Henry Linderman's second term as Mint director, sometime between 1873 and 1878.

    These pieces are extremely rare. Our reference for this series states that probably only a dozen pieces exist, but there may be even fewer. We only know of four other coins. One was offered by Stack's in their 2003 sale of the L.K. Rudolf Collection and graded Very Choice Brilliant Proof; another piece was plated in the Gobrecht Dollars book on page 101, a coin owned at the time by Kenneth Goldman; the ANS/Korein PR62 coin; and the fourth is a PR66 piece sold by us as part of the Lemus/Queller Collection, a piece that brought $149,500 in January 2009.

    The depth of mirroring in the fields would undoubtedly be even more pronounced were it not for the layers of color present. Each side displays variegated shadings of rose, blue, golden, and brown, lighter in the center of the obverse and deeper around the margin. The color is evenly distributed across the reverse. The strike is generally full. This includes complete definition on the foot of Liberty, the eagle's breast feathers, and the right-side stars on the obverse. The only weakness is noted on stars 4 through 8 on the left side of the obverse. This same area of weakness is seen on the Rudolf coin, but is not present on the ex: Goldman piece, and is only slightly evident on the Lemus coin. The only pedigree markers we see are three short parallel marks in the field above the eagle's wing. This rarity should be of great interest to the Gobrecht specialist. (NGC ID# BLXU, PCGS# 11354)

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

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