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    1794 Half Dime Pattern in Copper
    Judd-15, Pollock-19, MS64 Brown
    Finest of Two Known

    1794 DTH10C Half Dime, Judd-15, Pollock-19, R.8, MS64 Brown PCGS. Ex: Simpson. In his important series reference, United States Patterns and Related Issues, Andrew Pollock divided the earlier Judd-15 pattern designation into two sub-varieties, Pollock-19 and 20. Pollock-19 was struck from the same dies used to strike regular-issue 1794 half dimes of the V-3, LM-3 variety, while Pollock-20 employed the dies used to strike the V-4, LM-4 variety of that date. Both Pollock varieties were struck in copper, with a reeded edge. The present coin represents the Pollock-19 variety, with the date positioned closer to the bust. Only two examples of Pollock-19 are known to numismatists today, and this coin is by far the finest.

    Both Pollock-19 and 20 are true trial pieces, struck to test the half dime dies before regular-issue production began. Since the 1794-dated half dimes were all delivered on March 30, 1795, Pollock-19 was probably struck early in 1795. The earliest lot description of a Pollock-19 was probably lot 2438 of the Joseph Mickley Collection (W. Elliot Woodward, 10/1867):

    "Pattern mill, or tenth of a cent. 1794, copper, struck from the dies of the 1794 Half Dime, fine and excessively rare, possibly unique."

    Of course, Woodward was wrong about the denomination of this piece, possibly thinking it was related to the cent because of its copper composition. When R.C. Davis published his seminal work on patterns in a series of articles in the Coin Collector's Journal from 1885 through 1887, he mistakenly followed Woodward's lead in calling this coin "1/10th of a cent." On another note, there is actually nothing in Woodward's description of the coin to differentiate between the Pollock-19 and 20 varieties, but in his Comprehensive Catalog and Encyclopedia of United States Coins, Don Taxay notes the Mickley coin was struck from the "Val. 3" dies, tentatively identifying it as a Pollock-19.

    The coin offered here is a spectacular Choice example, with well-preserved chocolate-brown surfaces that show a few highlights of olive around the devices. Hints of original mint luster shine through the patina. A long lint mark across Liberty's jaw serves as a useful pedigree marker. The design elements are boldly rendered and an impression of a portion of the reverse wreath is evident between Liberty's forehead and star 10, identifying this piece as a flip-over double strike error. The overall presentation is most attractive for this extremely rare early pattern. We expect intense competition from series specialists when this lot is called.

    Roster of Judd-15, Pollock-19 Patterns
    The following roster was expanded from information provided by
    1. MS64 Brown PCGS. William H. Woodin; Waldo C. Newcomer; Major Lenox Lohr; Robert Batchelder; River Oaks (Bowers and Ruddy, 11/1976), lot 936; Public Auction Sale (Stack's, 1/1987), lot 511; Red Bank Collection (American Numismatic Rarities, 12/2003), lot 278; Southern Collection; Simpson Collection. The Adams-Woodin, Judd, and plate coin. The present coin.
    2. AU55 NGC. Auction '85 (Stack's, 7/1985), lot 1595; David Queller; Lemus Collection (Heritage, 1/2009), lot 1503.

    Additional Appearances
    A. Matthew Stickney Collection (Henry Chapman, 6/1907), lot 447; Chapman; possibly number 1 above, per Don Taxay.
    B. Joseph Mickley; Mickley Collection (Woodward, 10/1867), lot 2138; Col. Mendes I. Cohen; Cohen Collection (Cogan, 10/1875), lot 384; Jules Fonrobert; Die Jules Fonrobert Sammlung (Adolph Weyl, 2/1878). Possibly number 2 above, if Don Taxay was correct about this coin being Pollock-19 (not Pollock-20).

    Coin Index Numbers: (NGC ID# 294P, PCGS# 11042)

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

    Auction Info

    Bidding Begins Approx.
    15th Friday
    Auction Dates
    3rd-8th Wednesday-Monday
    Proxy Bidding Begins Approx.
    77 Days
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: N/A
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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