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    Description

    1878 Morgan Ten Dollar, Struck in Gold
    Judd-1581, PR66 Deep Cameo
    Only Example in Private Hands

    1878 $10 Ten Dollars, Judd-1581, Pollock-1774, R.8, PR66 Deep Cameo PCGS. Ex: Simpson. George Morgan's 1878 ten dollar pattern in gold, Judd-1581, is one of the rarest issues in the U.S. pattern series. Only two examples of Judd-1581 were struck in 1878 and one of those coins has been sequestered in the collection of the Connecticut State Library for more than a century. Heritage Auctions is privileged to present the only example of Judd-1581 in private hands in this landmark offering.

    Design
    The central design elements are similar to those on the Morgan dollar, which was introduced in regular coinage the same year. The obverse features Morgan's famous head of Liberty, modeled after Anna Williams, but with a different Phrygian cap and no cereal wreath. E PLURIBUS is inscribed around the border to the left, with UNUM to the right, and the date below. The reverse exhibits an eagle with upraised wings, holding an olive branch in the right talon and three arrows in the left. IN GOD WE TRUST is inscribed in Gothic letters between the wings. The legend UNITED STATES OF AMERICA is around, with TEN DOL. below. This same design (with a different date) was used on Judd-1545, a ten dollar pattern in copper, in 1877. The design was also struck in copper in 1878 (Judd-1582).

    History of the Coins
    The United States Mint struck seven different patterns in gold in 1877. Three of those patterns (Judd-1566, Judd-1570, and Judd-1572) were struck on thin, large diameter planchets, to discourage counterfeiting. The other four patterns (Judd-1575, Judd-1577, Judd-1579, and Judd-1581) were struck on regular planchets and featured competing designs for the eagle and half eagle denominations by William Barber and George Morgan. Barber used the same basic motifs for his design for the half eagle and eagle, Judd-1575 and Judd-1579, respectively. Similarly, Judd-1577 and Judd-1581 displayed the concept favored by Morgan for both denominations. Roger W. Burdette discovered a January 12, 1878-dated entry in the Mint archives indicating only two sets of Morgan's patterns were produced in gold, "Two eagles and two half eagles, Morgan's design, in gold. For director's office." Apparently, only two sets of Barber's design were struck in gold, as well. These coins were organized into four-coin sets, with each set containing an example of Barber's and Morgan's designs for both denominations. Both sets were kept intact through several offerings, before being split up.

    The first public offering of these patterns was in Baltimore dealer George Massamore's December 1884 auction, but the set did not sell. The set was offered again in a Steigerwalt sale in 1885, where it sold for $127. The complete set was offered for the final time in lots 112 through 115 of the Reverend Foster Ely Collection (Scott Stamp & Coin, 11/1888), with the cataloger noting:

    "These patterns, described by Dr. Davis, were known to him in copper only. It is stated upon high authority, that but two sets were struck in gold, one for the Secretary of the Treasury and the other for the Director of the Mint, and a lapse of ten years has revealed no others."



    The four lots were offered as a set, or as individual lots, depending on the bidding. As fate would have it, the set was split up after this sale, with the two coins from Morgan's design eventually ending up in the collection of the Connecticut State Library and the two Barber pieces finding a home in the Byron Reed Collection at the Durham Western Heritage Museum.

    The set containing the present coin was known to the numismatic community before the other set appeared in Massamore's sale in 1884, as the cataloger mentioned it in the description of that lot, "Mr. L.G. Parmelee has a set for which he paid $200, they were cheap at that price." The set also remained intact for much longer, becoming a prize for famous collectors like Virgil Brand, Dr. J. Hewitt Judd, and Dr. John E. Wilkison. The coins were finally split up by A-Mark in the 1976-1978 time frame, after nearly 100 years together. Bob R. Simpson acquired the present coin in 2008, when he purchased the famous Southern Collection of pattern coins intact for a reported $36 million. This magnificent PR66 Deep Cameo specimen, the only example in private hands, has been of the market ever since

    Physical Description
    This delightful Premium Gem exhibits sharply detailed design elements in most areas, with just the slightest touch of softness on Liberty's hair around the ear and the feathers on the eagle's breast. The impeccably preserved orange-gold surfaces show highlights of green and lilac in selected areas. The richly frosted devices contrast profoundly with the deeply mirrored fields to create a dramatic cameo effect. Overall eye appeal is terrific. This coin has not been publicly offered in more than 30 years and this lot represents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for advanced pattern collectors to obtain the only example of this remarkable gold pattern in private hands. We expect intense competition from series specialists when this lot is called. This coin is pictured on PCGS CoinFacts. Population: 1 in 66 Deep Cameo, 0 finer (4/21).

    Roster of Judd-1581 Examples
    1. PR66 Deep Cameo PCGS. B.H. Collins; sold to Lorin G. Parmelee as part of a four-piece set of 1878 gold patterns (Judd-1575, Judd-1577, Judd-1579, and Judd-1581) for $200, sometime before September 23, 1884; Parmelee Collection (New York Coin & Stamp, 6/1890), part of lot 238, along with the half eagle of the same design (Judd-1577), the other two 1878 gold patterns from the set were sold in lot 239; Virgil Brand (Brand Journal #12721); Horace Brand; Dr. J. Hewitt Judd; Illustrated History of United States Coins (Abe Kosoff, 1962), lot 538; Dr. John E. Wilkison; Paramount International Coin Corporation purchased Wilkison's collection in 1973; A-Mark in 1976, set dispersed afterward; Auction '90 (Superior, 8/1990), lot 1466; Southern Collection; Bob R. Simpson Collection; the present coin.
    2. Brilliant Proof. B.H. Collins; Public Auction Sale (Dr. George W. Massamore, 12/1884), lot 506 [lots 506-509 were a four-piece set of 1878 gold patterns (Judd-1581, Judd-1577, Judd-1579, and Judd-1575) offered together, not sold]; Henry S. Barclay Collection (Charles Steigerwalt, 4/1885), lot 988 (still in the set); Reverend Foster Ely Collection (Scott Stamp & Coin; 11/1888), lot 114 (the four coins offered individually, or as part of the set); Haigh Collection (Charles F. Libbie, 10/1901), lot 825 (Judd-1577 was offered in lot 826); Joseph C. Mitchelson; Connecticut State Library (Inventory number 11861).

    Coin Index Numbers: (PCGS# 537333)


    View all of [The Bob R. Simpson Collection, Part VI ]

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    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    August, 2021
    18th-22nd Wednesday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 75
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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