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    Description

    Condition Census Silver 1879 Schoolgirl Dollar
    Judd-1608, PR65 Cameo, Among the Most Desired and
    Admired of U.S. Patterns, Ex: Judd, Sieck

    1879 $1 Schoolgirl Dollar, Judd-1608, Pollock-1804, Low R.7, PR65 Cameo NGC.
    Design.
    The "Schoolgirl" dollar features George T. Morgan's design of Liberty facing left, with E PLURIBUS at the left rim, seven stars above, UNUM at the right rim, four more stars, the date 1879, and finally two more stars before we come back around from whence we began. Liberty's hair is combed back and tied with a ribbon behind her head. A hairband is inscribed LIBERTY, and a string of pearls encircles her throat, as her flowing locks cascade down her shoulder. The reverse features a defiant eagle, seemingly about to take flight, facing left on a rectangular perch with IN GOD WE TRUST. An olive sprig is in the left field, with three arrows in the right field. UNITED STATES OF AMERICA and ONE DOLLAR are at the rims, separated by periods. Struck in silver with a reeded edge.

    Commentary.
    The Schoolgirl is among the most celebrated and sought-after American coinage patterns, rated a High R.6 by the ninth edition of Judd's United States Pattern Coins. Unlike the unfortunate "Washlady" moniker, here the appellation is richly deserved, with a fresh-faced Liberty wearing a single strand of pearls, appearing to be 14 to 16 and in the first blush of young womanhood. The defiant eagle reverse is reminiscent not only of some of Morgan 1877 half dollar patterns (Judd-1512 and 1513), but Morgan also took it as the model for a much later commemorative gold design, the reverse of the 1915-S Panama-Pacific quarter eagle. Bowers, in his Guide Book of United States Commemorative Coins, opines that the "quarter eagle version looked much less elegant."

    The USPatterns.com website credits the 1891 F.W. Doughty sale, conducted by David Proskey and Harlan P. Smith, with the origin of the Schoolgirl nickname. That website gives a census of some 14 pieces including the present example, with three of them off the market in institutional holdings: two at the Smithsonian, one at the American Numismatic Society. The site also notes that "it is likely that most known today in silver and copper trace their pedigree to the Woodin collection and were obtained in trade for 'returning' the two $50 gold patterns to the mint collection." The combined NGC and PCGS certified population stands at 11 pieces, which seems to square with the known census.

    In the 1981 catalog of the William R. "Rudy" Sieck Collection--a landmark pattern collection that was especially strong in the half dollar and silver dollar patterns from the 1870s--the cataloger wrote this concerning the present specimen:

    "For some reason nearly all known specimens have been cleaned. This and the Garrett coins are marvelous exceptions.
    "The Schoolgirl represents a high in American artistic coin design. As a preface to this section notes, this particular coin is Rudy Sieck's all-time favorite. And, that certainly is the opinion of a connoisseur."

    Sieck's own words, in the preface to that catalog, are touching: "Of course, the 'Schoolgirl' dollar of 1879 is my favorite pattern. In my opinion it is the most beautiful coin design ever made in America. After the sale I am sure that I will miss 'her' most of all."

    Physical Description.
    The "beautiful light green and iridescent blue toning around the borders" that was remarked on in 1981 is still abundant, a sign of this coin's unfooled-with originality ever since it was produced. The splendid surfaces are marvelously attractive, and indeed there is little in the way of obvious pedigree markers save for the original toning.

    This marks only the second time that we have offered an example of the Schoolgirl dollar in silver. The first, a PR64 PCGS example pedigreed to the New Millennium Collection, brought $63,250 more than five years ago (November 2003 Signature Sale, lot 11226). The present Gem coin, one of the half dozen or so finest graded save for a single PR66 at PCGS, presents a remarkable opportunity for the pattern connoisseurs of the present and future, just as it did to Dr. J. Hewitt Judd, Rudy Sieck, and other famous collectors of the past.

    Provenance.
    Ex: J. Hewitt Judd; Julian Leidman; William R. Sieck Collection (1981 ANA, Bowers & Ruddy, 7/1981), lot 291, $28,000.
    From The Lemus Collection, Queller Family Collection Part Two.

    Coin Index Numbers: (NGC ID# 2AGY, PCGS# 61986)


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

    View Certification Details from NGC

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    January, 2009
    7th-11th Wednesday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 19
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