Goldberg Coins and Collectibles

Sale 25

Pre-Long Beach Coin and Currency Auction

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Lot 2358
  1836 Gobrecht Dollar. Designer's name on base. Circulation issue. PCGS graded Proof 63. Beautiful, olive-gray toning. This is a very lovely example of this immensely popular issue and possibly one of the finest known (depending on how it grades today). You see, this is in a second-generation, green-label PCGS holder, so it could very easily grade Proof-64 today. As a Proof-63 it's one of the top 31 examples known of the variety. However, if it grades Proof-64 today, it would be tied with six others for top honors. Thus, you can expect some serious bidding for this coin and the final price will be determined by the most optomistic bidder.

This type was designed by Christian Gobrecht and issued only from 1836 to 1839, with a hiatus in 1837. The obverse went on to become the theme for the Seated Liberty Silver Dollar, while the reverse was the inspiration for the Flying Eagle Cents of two decades later. Many of the Gobrecht Dollars were struck (and/or restruck) in Proof format for sale to collectors, but the Judd-60's are considered to be Originals (PCGS # 11225) .
Estimated Value $15,000 - 18,000.
Superior Stamp & Coin "Gainsborough II", February 17-18, 1997, Lot 1323.

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Lot 2359
  1836 Pattern Dollar. Silver, plain edge. PCGS graded Proof 65 PQ. 1836 Pattern Dollar by Christian Gobrecht. Silver, plain edge. Judd-65. Pollock-68. Rarity-8.

A superb iridescent tone on top of essentially flawless mirrored surfaces makes for a simply stunning specimen, newly discovered for the numismatic fraternity. As well, this marvelous coin is the finer of just two certified by the grading services, outstripping in eye-appeal and also in technical quality the only other specimen available to collectors, the NGC graded PR-64 coin sold in May 2003 as part of the L.K. Rudolph Collection of silver dollars sold by Stack's (for $184,000); that coin has since been removed from the NGC Census and appears in the PCGS Population Report, again as PR-64. Hence the population of Judd-65 is 2.

The currently offered specimen, decidedly the finer of the two known in the population reports, is now making its first appearance on the numismatic marketplace since "disappearing" into a collection in the 1920s! It had been purchased at that time from a "major dealer" and has not been seen since, in some 80 years.

The latest edition of the Judd reference (edited by Q. David Bowers) calls heavily upon the details supplied by Walter Breen in his massive "Complete Encyclopedia of U.S. and Colonial Coins," in which, on pages 433-434, Breen explains the origins, instant popularity of the design, and the long-established rarity of not only the series of Gobrecht dollars as a class but also selected issues, both originals and restrikes. His comments should be reviewed by prospective owners of this coin, for they place this important specimen in perspective and illuminate the blunt allure of this coin.

Pertinent details from both Breen and Judd include these: this coin has a Plain Edge, there are no stars in the field of either side, the engraver's signature "C. GOBRECHT. F." ("fecit," made it) occurs in recessed form on Miss Liberty's rock, and the eagle is flying upward to the left, this latter indicating a die first used for restrikes in 1838. The literature suggests that, while in the past the "restrike nature" of such coins was often veiled for fear it could be mistaken for a coin of lesser significance, modern research has shown decisively that certain Gobrecht dollars, including Judd-65, exist only as restrikes and are, in themselves, major rarities. They are part of a complicated series featuring both currency-only and Proof-only specimens, both types having "lost" examples to hard times, when even fine collector pieces went into commercial circulation.

Technically, as Breen so well explains, Judd-65 is a mule, a combination of an early 1836 die with the starless reverse of 1838. A smidgeon of die-rust in the field just to the left of Miss Liberty's face is present here as well as on the Garrett specimen, the only other specimen seen, obviously in minuscule numbers (it does not get much fewer than two, after all). One of the charming details associated with this coin seems to be fading from memory amid the numerous technical facts cited by the references; and that detail is this, that the glorious Flying Eagle was modeled directly from an ancient resident of the Philadelphia Mint, "Peter the mint eagle," whose stuffed body remained on view at the old Philadelphia Mint on Spring Garden Street for over a century, this cataloguer seeing it in person in the early 1960s!

Judd-65 is one of the rarest of all Gobrecht dollars. Not only that, but its design, showing the engraver's signature, hales back to the very origins of this short-lived, inspiring series. As Breen states, this signature was initially viewed as artistic "arrogance" by some Vips, even though Mint Director Patterson had approved its use. Gobrecht was following the long tradition in Europe of proudly signing a work of numismatic art. The original 1836 circulation-strikes had his signature, but a number of Proofs and restrikes did not. Restrikes with the "name on base" are among the most desirable of the Gobrecht issues.

In considering the desirability of this coin, remember that only one other example has appeared for sale during almost a century's span. That piece, the PR-64 mentioned above, prior to being in the Rudolph sale, had made the following appearances: Bowers & Merena, Clemente sale, May 1994, lot 1058; Bowers & Merena, 1987 ANA sale, August of that year, lot 1504; Bowers & Ruddy, Garrett II sale, March 1980, lot 700; previously it had belonged in W. Elliot Woodward's 58th Sale (late 19th century).

The presently offered example has been off the numismatic market since the 1920s, having just resurfaced and being freshly graded PR65 by PCGS. That places it at the top of the Pop Report, but to be fully appreciated this coin has to be viewed in person. Wonderful as our color photos are, online and in print, they do not do justice to the sparkle and awesome originality of this exquisite Gobrecht dollar rarity (PCGS # 11249) .
Estimated Value $175,000 - 225,000.
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Lot 2360
  1838 Pattern Dollar. Silver, reeded edge. Restrike. PCGS graded Proof 64 PQ. Among the finest known examples of this classic pattern, this coin, in addition to its high technical "number grade," also possesses a special eye-appeal not enjoyed by most of the few other Judd-84 coins in existence. It has come to market from the same old source as the marvelous Judd-65 dollar in this sale, and is now making an unusually rare auction appearance. Its wonderful iridescent sea-green and silvery gray toning is made all the more intense by the shimmering reflectivity of its mirrored surfaces. Beneath this gossamer sheath of toning lies a brilliant intensity of "mint bloom" such as is seen on few other early Proofs, including most Gobrechts. We recommend personal inspection, for one look will convince any viewer of this coin's instant visual appeal.

Perhaps 60 or even 80 examples of this die combination are known, including an estimated uncertified group of 20 to 40 coins which are far from perfect, having been studied many times or carried as pocket-pieces and cherished as mementos of their era without regard to how the coins might suffer from such care. Among the better pieces are some 37 graded by PCGS and NGC, although those Pop Reports can frequently include the same coin submitted more than once but not so recorded.

Some technical details seem in order, and follow here: an extremely fine die-crack shows above MERI on reverse, and the Die Alignment is #3. From the website we gleaned the following interesting details: researchers Michael Carboneau and James Gray, who have checked the die-alignment of numerous Gobrechts, draw these conclusions about Judd-84: "Based on our research, it appears that the first set of 1838 dollars were probably made in die alignment IV, not die alignment I; and were probably struck in 1838 and/or 1839 from perfect reverse dies, making these coins either 'originals' or 'second originals' (using the terminology that is frequently applied to the issue of 1837). It is also noted that nearly all 1838 dollars have been observed in die alignment III orientation. However, a few die alignment IV coins are known (e.g., the Norweb specimen). No 1838 dollar is believed to have been deposited into the U.S. banking system. Therefore all 1838 dollars can be considered patterns; most of which are restrikes sold to collectors in the late 1850's and 1860's." Mintage is unknown, they continue, but "1838 dollars are significantly more rare than 1839 dollars." Many others share this opinion, of course, although 1839 is certainly "a rare bird" for most collectors.

Our lovely PR-64 Judd-84 Gobrecht dollar is apparently among the nicest 10 in existence. The L.K. Rudolph coin sold by Stack's in May 2003, PCGS graded PR-65, sold for $54,625. The Eliasberg "PR-64" (slabbing did not exist when that collection was sold) ended up graded PR-65 by NGC but that coin was very dark, and in our opinion lacked the sparkling eye-appeal of the presently offered coin. The top examples of this pattern from both grading services are all in the 64 to 65 range. We feel eye-appeal is of great significance, particularly in the large dollar patterns, and that this lovely coin could set a record, considering its splendid look and the significant rarity which marks its stature in American numismatic lore. In a word, a "great" coin! (PCGS # 11352) .
Estimated Value $75,000 - 100,000.
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Lot 2361
  1851 Pattern Silver Dollar. Copper, reeded edge. PCGS graded Proof 64 Brown. Formerly Lot 50 in the September 2003 American Numismatic Rarities sale, where it sold for $20,125 and was described (in part) thusly: "Copper. Reeded edge. Rich chocolate brown with highlights of deep blue in the fields and rich orange-brown surrounding devices and legends, faded from mint color. A beautiful example exhibiting shallow reflectivity in the fields and subtle mint bloom. The surface quality is superb, with only the most minor handling marks. A spot below star 5 near Liberty's shoulder serves as an identifier of this prized rarity, some other tiny flyspecks including one near Liberty's exposed foot, faint old scratch behind eagle's head. An exciting and famous numismatic property, struck nearly at the birth of American numismatics at the U.S. Mint to state demand for the very rare silver dollars of 1851. This piece was struck from one of two restrike obverse dies, these bearing a centered date rather than the high placement of the date logotype seen on the rare originals of 1851. This die is the better known of the two obverses, with tiny curved mark on final 1 in date, not the die discovered by James Gray, Tom Delorey, and Dave Bowers in 1992. This die pair was also used to strike the silver 1851 restrike dollars.

The 1851 Restrike dollars are among the first of the U.S. Mint's coins produced exclusively for collectors. This process happened contemporaneously with the production of the Class II and III 1804 dollars, restrike Gobrecht dollars, and other such delicacies that were apparently produced, as Mint Director James Ross Snowden suggested to "gratify a taste which has lately greatly increased in this country" by restriking old coins which draw a premium in the numismatic market "so that the profits may inure to the benefit of the Mint Cabinet of Coins and Ores" (letter to Treasury Secretary Howard Cobb, January 22, 1859). It is estimated that 50 to 100 were produced in silver, but far fewer were coined in copper with fewer than a dozen currently known. The newest Judd book lists the population at eight pieces. The copper specimens may have been struck somewhat later, as they did not appear in the numismatic marketplace until around 1865. At least some of the very rare copper strikings have been silver-plated, suggesting that the silver pieces were more highly valued than copper ones at the time. Dave Bowers notes two reported in his Silver Dollar Encyclopedia; your cataloguer has seen one piece silver-plated, a privately held example from a Western collection. The present example is among the very finest known of Judd-132, tied for finest graded at NGC with two others given the RB designation, including the Dr. Wallace Lee coin which sold at auction in January 1999. Indeed, the appearance of this coin is the first opportunity to purchase Judd-132 at public auction since that time, and feverish competition is expected among those who understand the importance of this great American rarity."

In the ANR sale, the coin was in an NGC Proof-64 Brown holder, but it has since "crossed" at PCGS, indicating their concurrence with the grade. Theoretically, the coin should be worth more now that it is in a PCGS holder. None have been graded numerically finer by either service.
Estimated Value $19,000 - 21,000.
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Lot 2362
  1853 Pattern Dollar. Copper, reeded edge. Proof 60 plus. One of approximately siz examples known of this Judd number, the finest being a toss-up between the NGC Proof-65 Red and Brown Judd plate coin and the Eliasberg example. This one would probably be in a 63 holder were it not for a tiny patch of pinscratches in the field just above Liberty's foot, where a misguided attempt to remove a spot failed. The reverse is nearly perfect except for a touch of weakness on the eagle's head and "shoulders", but the brilliance is dazzling and the color is a remarkable blend of rainbow iridescence. Aside from the afore-mentioned pinscratches, here are some markers for future identification: numerous lintmarks on both sides, but heavier on the obverse. The most prominent lintmark appears between the first and second stars. The obverse also has four shallow depressions: a tiny one just left of the base of the rock, one below the ninth star, another in the field left of the 11th and 12th stars, and one below the upper right point of the 13th star.

This "pattern" is really a die trial, struck from the same dies that were used to stike Proof 1853 Silver Dollars. Breen claims that all of the 1853 Proof Dollars (in both Silver and Copper versions) were made in 1862 or 1863; "they first came to collector notice in the McCoy sale (1964)." Regardless of when they were made, they are all extremely rare and desirable items today.
Estimated Value $4,000 - 5,000.
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Lot 2363
  1864 Pattern Cent. Copper-aluminum, plain edge. PCGS graded MS-63. Well struck with subdue mint luster and lightly toned. Pop of 1 with 2 in MS-64 and 2 in MS-65 (PCGS # 70520) .
Estimated Value $1,500 - 2,000.
The New Millenium Collecton.

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Lot 2364
  1869 Pattern Half Dollar. Copper, reeded edge. PCGS graded MS-62 Red & Brown PQ. This rare pattern is loaded with "eye-appeal". Well struck with some scattered faint hairlines and overlaid with pale olive and faint reddish-orange toning. Pop of 1 with 1 in PR-63, 1 in PR-64 and 2 in PR-65.
Estimated Value $1,250 - 1,500.
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Lot 2365
  1870 Pattern Dime. Silver, reeded edge. ICG graded Proof 64. Attractively toned with delicate golden highlights.
Estimated Value $1,500 - 1,700.
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Lot 2366
  1872 Pattern Half Eagle. Copper, reeded edge. PCGS graded Proof 65 Brown. Rich, deep-brown colorations, with all of the original mint red converted to brown. However, the surfaces remain glossy and completely smooth, virtually problem-free (the only mark worth noting is a small one on the bust near the tip). Needle sharp strike. This design is also known in gold (unique) and in aluminum (extremely rare). This type is referred to as the "Amazonian" design; however, that is a mis-nomer. William Barber's "Amazonian" design appeared only on the obverses of the 1872 Quarter Dollar, Half Dollar, and Silver Dollar Patterns, but because the $2-1/2, $5, $10, and $20 patterns share an identical reverse design, they have become "guilty by association." Regardless of what you call it, this remains an extremely important and desirable Pattern coin.

This is the only Judd 1241 graded by PCGS -- in any format! (PCGS # 61513) .
Estimated Value $10,000 - 12,000.
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Lot 2367
1987 Pattern for a Constitution Half Eagle. MS-64. Made of 90% pure Tungsten. According to the U.S. Patterns website (, "These were struck for Frank Zinkann by the Pressed Metal Products Company as a pattern for the 1987 Constitution Bicentennial." Because of the hardness of the metal, the Tungsten versions (including the one offered here) are weakly struck. Mintages are cited from 80 to 88 pieces, making this an extremely rare issue. Housed in a custom-imprinted Capital Plastics holder.
Estimated Value $500 - 750.
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Lot 2368
  Unusual Collection of 15 "Splashers" of United States Coins. Consists of an unusual assortment of impressions from dies on round pieces of metal. Some of the splashers appear to be old and Mint-made; others appear newer and may have been done privately or illicitly. The impressions on the "newer" pieces show die rust, raised die chips, and raised die scratches. Consists of the following:
1884 Indian Head Cent obverse on copper
1889 Indian Head Cent obverse on copper
1890 Indian Head Cetn obverse on copper
1906 Indian Head Cent obverse on copper
1914 Barber Quarter Dollar obverse on lead
Undated Seated Liberty Half Dollar obverse (central design only) on copper
Undated Seated Liberty Half Dollar reverse (central design only) on copper
Undated Seated Liberty Half Dollar obverse (central design only) on aluminum
Undated Seated Liberty Half Dollar reverse (central design only) on aluminum
1856 Seated Liberty Half Dollar obverse on copper (2 pieces)
1865 Seated Liberty Half Dollar obverse on brass
No Motto Seated Liberty Half Dollar reverse on brass
No Motto Seated Liberty Half Dollar reverse on copper
Type III Double Eagle reverse on lead

These are unlisted in any modern reference book, including Judd or Pollock. They are certainly surious pieces and worthy of further research. As such, we are offering them on an "as is" basis. Lot of 15 coins.
Estimated Value $5,000 - 7,500.
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