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    Description

    1792 Washington President Silver Pattern, XF40
    Baker-20, Eagle and Stars Reverse
    One of Five Pieces Known
    Ex: Bushnell-Parmelee-Brand-Green-Ford

    1792 Washington Perkins Pattern Half Dollar, Eagle and Stars Reverse, Silver, Lettered Edge, XF40 NGC. Baker-20, W-10675, Musante GW-31 (B), High R.7. 186 grains. Baker-20 is not only a famed rarity within the whole of Washingtonia, it is also historically important from a numismatic perspective. Jacob Perkins, a young engraver and inventor of Newburyport, Massachusetts, struck the coins in 1792, sometime prior to February 29, for consideration by George Washington and Congress as a national coinage. Perkins struck pieces in copper, silver, and gold. Eleven copper pieces are known today, with seven Lettered Edge and four Plain Edge subtypes; five silver pieces are known, and the gold piece is unique.

    All five silver pieces known have lettered edges. Although modern reference works list a Plain Edge variant in silver, no such coin has actually been reported. An exhaustive study of auction data going as far back as the 1860s reveals no definitive appearances of a Plain Edge silver coin, and no such variety was listed in the original Baker reference of 1885. To our knowledge, the supposed Plain Edge was not described in print until 1965, in the notes of George Fuld's reprint of Baker's reference. It is believed that misinterpreted descriptions of silver Getz half dollar patterns were the source for this apparently nonexistent variety.

    The five known Lettered Edge Baker-20 silver pieces include one coin in the Massachusetts Historical Society, plus four in private hands. One of these was the Newman XF Details specimen, which we offered in November 2018 in what was its first documented public auction appearance--it realized $204,000. The VF Details piece formerly of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania was sold in a November 2019 Stack's Bowers sale, having been unavailable to collectors for most of its prior existence. In our recent FUN Signature, the XF45 coin from the Donald G. Partrick Collection realized $288,000 in its first auction appearance since 1983. Now, we have the privilege of offering the only remaining example of this storied rarity--the XF40 Partrick specimen. This piece last appeared in the John J. Ford, Jr. sales (Stack's, 5/2004). It boasts one of the most impressive pedigrees of all known examples, including F.C.C. Boyd, Eric P. Newman, "Colonel" Green, Wayte Raymond, Virgil and Armin Brand, the Chapman brothers, and Lorin G. Parmelee. We have traced its provenance to Charles I. Bushnell, in whose collection it first appeared at public auction, in June 1882.

    The following roster details the known history of the five silver pieces:

    1. AU55 per Stuart Levine. John McCoy (W. Elliot Woodward, 5/1864), lot 2457, which realized $100; William Sumner Appleton; Massachusetts Historical Society. 188 grains. Pictured in Musante on page 91. Woodward wrote in 1864: "A splendid specimen; if anything, superior to the one in my last sale." The example in Woodward's March 1864 sale was described as: "Washington cent, 1792, thirteen stars above the eagle," with no other details. That piece sold to Brevoort.

    2. XF45 NGC. Ellis Robison Sale (Stack's, 2/1982), lot 245, which realized $44,000; John L. Roper, 2nd Collection (Stack's, 12/1983), lot 379, which realized $35,200; Donald G. Partrick; FUN Signature (Heritage, 1/2021), lot 3956, which realized $288,000. The finest in private hands.

    3. XF40 NGC. Charles I. Bushnell Collection (S.H. & H. Chapman, 6/1882), lot 1248, which realized $126; Lorin G. Parmelee (New York Coin & Stamp, 6/1890), lot 619, which realized $86; to S.H. & H. Chapman; DeWitt Smith; Virgil M. Brand (journal #46482); Armin Brand (5/17/1933); Wayte Raymond; "Col." E.H.R. Green; 1942 B.G. Johnson, Eric P. Newman partnership; F.C.C. Boyd; John J. Ford, Jr. (Stack's, 5/2004), lot 26, which realized $115,000; Jon Hanson; Donald G. Partrick. 168.5 grains. The present coin.

    4. XF Details, Graffiti NGC. Richard Picker; Eric P. Newman; Eric P. Newman Numismatic Education Society (Heritage, 11/2018), lot 15007, which realized $204,000. 186.7 grains.

    5. VF Details, Plugged PCGS. A.S. Jenks Collection (Edward Cogan, 4/1877), lot 690, which realized $101; Vicksburg Collection (W.E. Woodward, 5/1888), lot 1168, which realized $50; W.S. Baker; Historical Society of Pennsylvania; photographed in The Numismatist (9/1975); Kessler Spangenberger Sale (NASCA, 4/1981), lot 2471, which realized $19,000; returned to the Historical Society of Pennsylvania (Stack's Bowers, 11/2019), lot 20023, which realized $78,000. Plugged at 12:00. 168.5 grains.


    As detailed in our 2018 description of the Newman example, there are additional prior auction appearances of the Baker-20 variety, but the coins represented in those offerings cannot be positively linked to any of the provenances listed above.

    The Ford-Partrick specimen offered here is one of only two problem-free representatives known in private hands. The coin shows light wear consistent with the grade, while all major design elements remain clear. The detailing on Washington's shoulder exhibits the most obvious wear. Original olive-gray and russet toning characterizes the smooth surfaces. Several faint, hair-thin scratches on the obverse bust serve as pedigree markers but are not obvious to the unaided eye and do not impact the numeric assessment from NGC.

    Over the last few years, collectors have been treated with opportunities to acquire all four Baker-20 Washington President patterns known in private hands. This has been the first such availability of these coins in decades, and collectors should be aware that it may be the last time these coins will be offered for a similar period of years. The Bushnell-Partrick could very well be bidders' last chance to acquire this issue for a generation. Listed on page 83 of the 2021 Guide Book.

    Coin Index Numbers: (NGC ID# 2B74, PCGS# 708)


    View all of [The Donald G. Partrick Collection ]

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    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    April, 2021
    22nd-25th Thursday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 18
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 748

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