'Once in a Lifetime' Opportunity
1863 $1 Dollar, Judd-347, Pollock-419, High R.7, PR67 Cameo
1863 Aluminum Dollar, Judd-347, PR67 Cameo;
Finest Certified, Only Three or Four in Private Hands
Design. A so-called transitional issue, this pattern uses the dies of the regular Seated Liberty dollar of the year, but it bears the addition of the motto IN GOD WE TRUST on a swirling scroll on the reverse, of the type introduced on regular-issue coinage in 1866. Struck in copper with a reeded edge.
Commentary. Another product of the U.S. Mint that was likely produced some time later than the date it bears, perhaps well into the 1870s. Aluminum was an extreme rarity in 1863 and for a couple of decades after, although its rarity decreased as better ways were found to isolate the highly reactive metal from its many different naturally occurring chemical compounds. The examples in aluminum, rated High R.7 (four to six known) are notably rarer than those in copper and silver, however, with USPatterns.com providing a meager estimate of "at least four known including an example in the American Numismatic Society."
It is certainly worth noting here that, in a largely fruitless search through the several landmark pattern auctions of the last several decades--Bass, Garrett, Rogers Fred, Sieck, Rarities Sale--each one of those remarkable sales has lacked an example of this variety. Even in this remarkable collection of patterns, we believe the present lot poses a remarkable "chance of a lifetime" opportunity.
Physical Description. Aluminum patterns from the early days of the Mint--regardless of the particular year in which they were struck--frequently show trapped air bubbles or other surface roughness on the struck coins, indicative of Mint personnel's inexperience in handling the new and experimental metal. This piece, however, as expected for the Superb Gem Cameo grade, is remarkably free of such distractions--or any others, for that matter. Much delightful field-device contrast is evident, with powder-gray surfaces overall and an exceptional strike. NGC Census: one each in PR65, PR66 Cameo, PR67 Cameo (this piece). PCGS Population: one PR64, one PR65. There could easily be two or three duplications among these five pieces (10/08).
Census and Provenance. We believe that only four pieces exist, although a fifth is not out of the question.
1. New Millennium Collection; Heritage (11/2003), lot 11046, which realized $19,550; Pittsburgh ANA (Heritage, 7/2004), lot 7903; FUN Platinum Night (Heritage, 1/2006), lot 3703. PR64 PCGS.
2. ANS specimen.
3. Stack's private treaty. The present specimen, almost certainly the finest known.
4. Possibly one or at most two other pieces (see Pollock)--although auction appearances are so infrequent and fragmentary as to make verification impossible.
From The Lemus Collection, Queller Family Collection Part Two. (NGC ID# 29G2, PCGS# 60509)
Learn more at the Newman Numismatic Portal at Washington University in St. Louis.
View all of [The Lemus Collection, Queller Family Collection Part Two ]
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