The Dr. Maris-Garrett 1877 Barber Pattern Half Dollar
1877 50C Half Dollar, Judd-1535, Pollock-1703, R.8, PR65
Struck in Silver, Judd-1535, R.8
PR65, Finest of Three Known
Plate Coin in Judd Ninth Edition
Design. The obverse is the so-called "Barber's Liberty Head with coronet and wheat and cotton." The head of Liberty faces left, IN GOD WE TRUST is above and the date below. Liberty wears a coronet reading LIBERTY in raised letters. The coronet is decorated with wheat ears, cotton bolls and leaves. The stars are seven left, six right. The reverse is "Barber's small heraldic eagle." The eagle has a shield on its breast, clutching arrows and an olive branch. UNITED STATES and HALF DOLLAR are at the rim, with E PLURIBUS UNUM in an inner arc between the wingtips. Struck in silver with a reeded edge.
Commentary. Only three specimens are known of this R.8 silver pattern, although at the time of the Garrett sales, the cataloger called this piece "possibly unique." One of the three pieces is permanently sequestered in the Byron Reed Collection in Omaha, and the only other specimen in private hands is graded only PR60 by PCGS. As the finest known of this illustrious pattern variety and with an equally starry pedigree, this piece is a standout, even in the remarkable Lemus Collection of incredible breadth and quality. Dr. Edward Maris, the author of what remains today the standard reference on New Jersey coppers of the Colonial era, is the first documented owner of this piece. Next it went to the incredible Garrett Family-Johns Hopkins Collection, begun by railroad magnate T. Harrison Garrett.
The possibility presented by the present lot, to acquire a pattern of such importance and lineage, probably represents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for most collectors and pattern specialists.
Physical Description. The silver-gray surfaces cede to moderately intense, iridescent pastel patina in shades of golden and rose on the obverse, with emerald-blue dominant on the reverse. There is considerable cameo contrast despite the bold coloration, although it is unnoted on the PCGS insert. As noted in the ANR catalog a few years ago, the piece is actually an overdate of sorts, with the 1 in the date first punched too far right, giving the appearance of an "1877/1177." Other modern collectors would term it an RPD, for "repunched date."
Census. Only three pieces are known. The census below is expanded from USPatterns.com:
1. Dr. Edward Maris (Harlan P. Smith, 6/1886); Garrett Collection-Johns Hopkins University; Garrett I (Bowers and Ruddy, 11/1979), lot 391, $24,000; Auction '89 (Superior), lot 626; D. Novoselsky, PR64 PCGS; Kagin's; Superior (7/2003); Classics Sale (American Numismatic Rarities, 12/2003), lot 307, PR65 PCGS, $35,650. The present specimen. Plate coin in the Judd ninth edition.
2. Francis W. Doughty; Byron Reed Collection; Durham Western Heritage Museum, Omaha. PR65 ICG.
3. Superior (6/1981); Auction '82; Harry W. Bass, Jr. Collection (Bowers and Merena, 5/1999), lot 1236; southern collection; Simpson Collection. PR60 PCGS.
From The Lemus Collection, Queller Family Collection Part Two. (PCGS# 61876)
View all of [The Lemus Collection, Queller Family Collection Part Two ]
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