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    Description

    1916 McKinley Gold Dollar, PR65
    Obverse Die Trial in Nickel, Judd-A1916-1
    Extremely Rare

    1916 G$1 McKinley Gold Dollar, Judd-A1916-1 Variant, PR65 NGC. Colonel James W. Curtis is little remembered today, but he was one of the most prominent collectors of pattern coins in the mid-20th century. He compiled a large collection of patterns that was mostly dispersed in a Numismatic Gallery auction in February 1950 and published the U.S. Pattern Coin Handbook about the same time. Although this mysterious obverse die trial was not among the coins sold in the 1950 auction, later numismatists have named him as the first owner-of-record for this piece. John Ford exhibited a specimen of this die trial shortly after the sale, at the March 22, 1953 meeting of the Bronx Coin Club, so he may have acquired this specimen from Curtis about the time he sold his collection.

    The only auction appearance we can trace for this die trial was lot 1865 of RARCOA's section of Auction '80:

    "1916 GOLD DOLLAR. Uniface obverse die trial in Nickel (non-magnetic) of the McKinley Commemorative Gold Dollar. Struck inside a collar (edge is reeded) with a very high wire rim caused by the extreme striking pressure used in its manufacture. The piece is listed in Judd's Appendix A, but no indication of rarity is given. However, we note that a McKinley Dollar trial in nickel (struck both sides) appeared in the 1979 A.N.A. auction where it was called UNIQUE. We assume that both were likely made at the same time and unhesitatingly call the presently offered piece RARE."



    The lot realized $4,000, a quite impressive price for that era. Anthony Swiatek acquired this specimen shortly after the auction and it has been in his collection since that time.

    In addition to the obverse/reverse trial piece mentioned in the lot description, there is another obverse die trial that is even more closely related to this example. It is struck from the same obverse die, but seemingly with less striking pressure and possibly a different collar, as it does not show the wire rim. That piece is also in Anthony Swiatek's collection, and is offered in another lot in this sale.

    This remarkable Gem features the sharpest obverse detail this cataloger has ever seen on a striking from the McKinley dollar die. The well-preserved lustrous surfaces show pleasing hints of pale gold and lavender patina and the wire rim frames the design in spectacular fashion. The last public offering of this extremely rare die trial was 34 years ago, and it may be an equally extended period before it becomes available again.


    View Certification Details from NGC

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    January, 2015
    7th-12th Wednesday-Monday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 11
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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