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    Description

    1849 Gold Dollar Pattern, Judd-115, MS61
    Hand Engraved By James Longacre
    Possibly the Only Piece Struck in Coin Gold

    1849 PG$1 Gold Dollar, Judd-115, Pollock-130, Possibly Unique, MS61 NGC. A simply laid-out coin with a square central perforation. On the obverse, around the perforation, is the legend 1.DOLLAR. 1849. The reverse has a laurel wreath around the perforated center and outside that U. STATES OF AMERICA. Struck in gold with a plain edge. Composition - 90% gold, 2.5% silver, 6.5% copper, weight = 22.8 grains.

    This is the only U.S. pattern that was hand-engraved, and as such it is distinctive and highly collectible. The necessity for hand-engraving and the larger history of these pieces is covered in an in-depth article in The Numismatist in October 2011, written by Ed Rector. In short, these patterns were emergency issues that were hand-engraved to simulate what a struck coin would look like with a square hole in it. They were needed in a hurry because a lame-duck Congressman from North Carolina, James Iver McKay, was pressing hard for the issuance of the pieces (mostly as an outlet for the gold mines from his native state). By January 26, 1849 Congressman McKay was in possession of one of these pieces (presumably this one). On January 30, six additional specimens were produced and sent by Mint Director Robert Maskell Patterson to other Congressmen.

    All of the seven known pieces of the Judd-115s and 116s have been weighed and three have been metallurgically tested. This particular piece is by far the heaviest of the seven possible pieces at 22.76 grains and it has a specific gravity of 18 - pure gold has a specific gravity of 19.3. The gold dollar adopted later in 1849 weighed 25.79 grains. The closest weight of the other six pieces is 19.02 grains. The lightest of the six others is the Chase Manhattan piece that weighed only 15.28 grains. Metallurgical testing of two of the other pieces showed a gold content of only 52.7% and 51% gold. Close examination of the seven known Judd-115/116 patterns strongly suggests the present piece may be the only actual Judd-115 in existence, as it is the only piece struck in coin gold (90% gold). The other six specimens should more properly be designated as Judd-116s. The tests conducted on those other six pieces also recommend reexamining the assertion that the Judd-116 pieces are gold-plated silver. Instead it suggests they are gold-silver-copper alloy pieces, but not gold-plated.

    This piece is an attractive example with lustrous, lightly marked antique-gold surfaces. A small mark near the reverse rim at 2 o'clock serves as a useful pedigree marker. The eye appeal is outstanding.
    Ex: Colonel James Flanagan (Stack's, 3/1944), lot 1559, sold to "J.B." (Jake Bell?); King Farouk; Palace Collections of Egypt (Sotheby's, 2/1954), lot 331; Abe Kosoff; Harold Bareford Collection (Stack's, 12/1978), lot 2.

    Coin Index Numbers: (NGC ID# 297U, PCGS# 11502)


    View Certification Details from NGC

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    April, 2015
    22nd-26th Wednesday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 39
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 3,424

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