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    Description

    High R.7 1879 Metric Dollar in Aluminum
    Judd-1624, PR63 Cameo, Only Four Known

    1879 $1 Metric Dollar, Judd-1624, Pollock-1820, High R.7, PR63 Cameo NGC.
    Design.
    The head of Liberty faces left in this design by George T. Morgan, with her hair done up in a bun and with a ribbon with incused LIBERTY. E PLURIBUS UNUM is above, with stars seven left and six right, date below. The reverse portrays a wreath of cotton and wheat, with inner circle of dots enclosing 895.8 S. / 4.2--G. / 100--C. / 25 GRAMS. DEO EST GLORIA ("God is glory/To God be the glory") appears (despite the Judd misdescription as E PLURIBUS UNUM) in the cartouche, with UNITED STATES OF AMERICA and ONE DOLLAR at the rim. Struck in aluminum with a reeded edge.

    Commentary.
    At the time this pattern was struck, aluminum was considered more precious than gold. Although it is the most abundant metal found in the earth's crust, because of its extreme reactivity, elemental aluminum is rare, usually found instead in more than 270 different compounds. The Emperor Napoleon is said to have given a banquet at which only the most honored guests were given aluminum utensils; the others had to settle for gold. It was only in 1808 that Humphry Davy discovered the base metal we today call aluminum, and bars of aluminum were exhibited alongside the French crown jewels at the Paris Exposition Universelle of 1855. It was 1884 before the Hall-Héroult process for isolating aluminum from its ores made the element much more available than previously.

    The present pattern struck in aluminum is thus quite rare, estimated at High R.7 in the Judd reference, with only four examples known. This design is struck in silver, copper, aluminum, and white metal, but only the single known white metal specimen, believed unique, exceeds the aluminum specimens in rarity.

    Physical Description.
    The present specimen represents only the second time Heritage has had the pleasure to offer an example of this extreme rarity. The Philadelphia Mint, as this piece (and the other we offered in 2003) eloquently attests, had little experience at making aluminum planchets. Numerous planchet flaws, including some trapped air bubbles, laminations, and rim irregularities plague the present specimen, mostly on the obverse above Liberty's head. The reverse shows fewer distractions, although a small area of dark toning appears near the rim about 3:30. These planchet problems are minor in the overall scheme of things, however, in view of the elusiveness of this issue. There is sufficient field-contrast to merit the Cameo designation from NGC, and both sides nonetheless offer considerable eye appeal. The planchet problems merely add some piquancy, mute testimony to the Mint's fiddling with new metal technologies and design/coin concepts simultaneously. The Pollock pattern reference describes the Lemus Collection specimen presented here as weighing 97.2 grains, with a diameter of 1.408 in. and a 180-degree die alignment.

    Census.
    Only four examples are believed to exist, according to USPatterns.com from which the following census derives:
    1. Dr. Edward Maris' Collection of American Coins (H.P. Smith, 6/1886), lot 222; Garrett II (Bowers and Ruddy, 3/80), lot 1060, where it realized $3,750; University Park Sale (Steve Ivy, 3/81), lot 1518, where it brought $2,100, Proof 65; St. Louis CSNS Signature Auction (Heritage, 5/2003), lot 7143, which realized $16,100. Reverse planchet flaw below 100. PR63 NGC.
    2. King Farouk; Crouch (Superior, 6/1977), lot 546, which brought $600; Brazos (Steve Ivy, 10/1977), lot 1043, proof; Metropolitan Washington (Kagin's, 7/1979), lot 944, proof.
    3. King Farouk; Palace Collections of Egypt (Sotheby's, 2/1954), lot 2000; Newport (Bowers and Ruddy, 1/1975), lot 1125, proof; Auction '84 (Superior, 7/1984), lot 499, proof. The present specimen.
    4. Untraced specimen, perhaps duplicated above.
    From The Lemus Collection, Queller Family Collection Part Two.

    Coin Index Numbers: (NGC ID# 2AHC, PCGS# 62002)


    View all of [The Lemus Collection, Queller Family Collection Part Two ]

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    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    January, 2009
    7th-11th Wednesday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 8
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,230

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