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Description

Momentous 1879 'Schoolgirl' Copper Dollar Pattern
PR63 Red Cameo, A Stunning Example

1879 $1 Schoolgirl Dollar, Judd-1609, Pollock-1805, Low R.7, PR63 Red Cameo NGC. The aptly named Schoolgirl dollar pattern is credited to George T. Morgan, designer of the eponymous circulating silver dollars that were roundly condemned at the time of their issue. Casting around for more pleasing designs that were never adopted, Morgan developed this delightful portrait of a young, fresh-faced Liberty. Her hair is tied back with a ribbon, and long waves flow down onto her neckline. She wears a delicate pearl or beaded necklace. The bust truncates in a sharp point. A headband with incused LIBERTY is midway back into her hair. E PLURIBUS is at the left obverse margin with UNUM at the right, with seven stars at the top separating them. The date 1879 is below the bust, with two more to the left and four to the right, for a total of 13. The reverse features the so-called Defiant Eagle design that would later reappear on the rush-job 1915-S Panama-Pacific quarter eagles.
Here, however, the much larger available canvas allows the painter to add detail and vigor: The eagle truly appears about to take flight, and olive branches and arrows flank him on either side. A small plaque underneath his claws reads IN GOD / WE TRUST, and UNITED STATES OF AMERICA and ONE DOLLAR at the rims complete the picture. Struck in copper with a reeded edge.
The Schoolgirl dollars are among the most popular of all U.S. pattern designs, along with the Amazonian and Shield Earring types. They were created only three years after George T. Morgan joined the Mint, a more talented engraver than either William Barber or his son Charles. The Schoolgirl dollars were struck only in copper; silver; and either white metal or lead, a single unique specimen sold by Superior in 1977.
Copper examples of this pattern number only about 10 specimens known today, according to USPatterns.com. This piece fully merits the Cameo designation, with intense contrast between the well-mirrored fields and the more-frosty devices. While the technical grade may be accurate (or not), it appears conservative for coin with such commanding eye appeal and remarkable desirability. This example is one of only two pieces given the Red designation at NGC, with the other a phenomenal PR68 Red that we handled in 2001. Five other examples at that service are classified Red and Brown or Brown. PCGS has certified three other Red coins from PR64 to PR67. Numerically, this piece is the equal of the Lemus Collection, Queller Family Collection specimen that realized $37,375.
Grade considerations aside, in the long view this piece represents a momentous opportunity to acquire a stunning representative of one of the most famous and beloved U.S. pattern coinage designs.
From The Van Treuren Collection. (NGC ID# 2AGZ, PCGS# 81987)


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Auction Dates
Apr-May, 2009
28th-3rd Tuesday-Sunday
Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 12
Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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