Important Gem 1878 Morgan Dollar Pattern, Judd-1551, Ex: Bass1878 $1 Morgan Dollar, Judd-1551, Pollock-1724, 1726, 1728, R.7, PR65 Red and Brown PCGS. Ex: Harry Bass Collection. The obverse is essentially the same as the adopted design, while the reverse differs primarily by having three olive leaves to the lower left of the eagle, rather than a cluster as seen on the regular issue dies. Also, the bottom of each of the eagle's wings has a "notch" that is not seen on regular production coins. Struck in copper with a reeded edge.
Two events came together to produce the Morgan dollar, as it was first struck in 1878. The first was the legislation requiring that the government purchase millions of ounces of "newly mined" silver in the form of the Bland-Allison Act. In effect, this act helped subsidize Comstock silver and it also provided an outlet in the form of silver dollars (that no one needed or wanted). The second event was the striking of numerous patterns in 1877. According to the catalog description of this piece from the Bass Collection, when the production of silver dollars became an inevitability in 1878, the Mint "reviewed the illustrious suite of pattern coins that had been made in the previous year, 1877, and selected a Liberty Head motif and perched eagle half dollar produced by young George T. Morgan, an English immigrant who had signed on at the Mint in 1876."
A significant amount of original cherry-red color remains on each side of this lovely Gem. Iridescent blue, brown, and orange-red are also seen in selected areas. A few light flecks of carbon are seen on each side, but these do not detract from the overall desirability of this important transitional pattern.
Ex: Brinton T. Schorer to Harry Bass, May 3, 1973; Bass I (Bowers and Merena, 5/99), lot 1276, where it brought $9,200.
From The Jones Beach Collection. (NGC ID# 2AF3, PCGS# 71912)
Learn more at the Newman Numismatic Portal at Washington University in St. Louis.
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