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    Description

    1866 Washington Five Cent Mule in Silver
    Judd-521, GW-792, PR62
    Two or Three Known

    1866 5C Washington Five Cents, Judd-521, Pollock-549, Baker P-46C, Musante GW-792, R.8, PR62 PCGS. Ex: Simpson. A fantastic muling of two obverse dies, originally used on Judd-461 and Judd-464, to create a two-headed coin. One side features a portrait of Washington with the legend UNITED STATES OF AMERICA around, and the date below. The other shows a bust of Washington with the motto IN GOD WE TRUST above and the date below. Struck slightly off-center, in silver, with a plain edge.

    This rare issue was struck from genuine Mint dies but outside of that facility. Specimens of this design have been reported on nonstandard planchets in a bewildering variety of metals, including nickel, brass, copper, white metal, and silver, as here. The present coin has a diameter of 0.850 inches, larger than a standard nickel (0.808 inches-0.811 inches). The large diameter and the slightly off-center strike of this example indicate that it was not struck with a close collar. Since close collar technology was used for all issues at the Mint in 1866, it is most unlikely that the coin was produced there.

    Joseph Mickley is most often associated with unofficial restrikes using Mint dies. A number of dies were seized by the government at the posthumous sale of his collection (Mason, 11/1878), lot 917. Mickley may have been responsible for producing this coin, but there is room for doubt. The dies used to strike the present issue were absent from among those seized at the Mickley sale. Dr. George Fuld relates that the dies used for this mule were donated to the Boston Numismatic Society sometime between 1869 and 1878 (see The Numismatist, 5/1998). Mickley may or may not have been the donor. Fuld reports that the dies were destroyed only in 1956, affording ample opportunity for someone other than Mickley to make the restrikes. An example was sold in the Crosby Collection (Haseltine, 6/1883), lot 1776. Sylvester S. Crosby had close ties to the Boston Numismatic Society, making him a viable candidate for restrike honors. Whoever produced the restrikes made only a few of them. Experts can account for only two or three survivors today.

    The obverse is sharply struck, with crisp detail on the portrait. Several die striations are noted, but few handling marks. The reverse displays prooflike surfaces and a particularly sharp strike. Two planchet flaws are noted, one at the rim at 6 o'clock, and the other in the field near the neck. A beautiful prize for the collector of Washingtonia or the pattern specialist.
    Ex: Belden E. Roach Collection (B. Max Mehl, 2/1944), lot 2902; Fred E. Olsen Collection (B. Max Mehl, 11/1944), lot 417; Major Lenox Lohr; Empire Coin Co; Rare Coin Review No. 21 (Bowers and Ruddy, 1974), p. 43; River Oaks Collection (Bowers and Ruddy, 11/1976), lot 298; Public Auction Sale (Stack's, 1/1987), lot 503; Lemus Collection, Queller Family Collection Part Two (Heritage, 1/2009), lot 1664.

    Coin Index Numbers: (NGC ID# 29LD, PCGS# 60718)


    View all of [Important Selections from The Bob R. Simpson Collection, Part V ]

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    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    April, 2021
    22nd-25th Thursday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 11
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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