Goldberg Coins and Collectibles

Sale 72

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Lot 1671

1873 Pattern Eagle. Aluminum, Reeded Edge. Judd-1343. Pollock-1487 Rarity 8. NGC graded Proof 66 Star Ultra Cameo. The finest known example. From regular dies, but struck in aluminum with a reeded edge. Other 1873 denominations in Proof aluminum format, which implies that a few sets were formed, perhaps for presentation purposes or sale to well-placed collectors, or more likely, for the private collections of Linderman or other high-ranking mint officials. This meticulously struck Closed 3 Proof 66 Ultra Cameo piece is refreshingly smooth and can be identified easily as the Finest Known.

In this year Dr. Henry R. Linderman was appointed Director of the Mint and Assay offices of the United States by President Grant. He had largely been responsible for writing and securing the passage of the Coinage Act of 1873, which abolished the old silver dollar, half dime and trime [three-cent silver] and authorized the trade dollar. Dr. Linderman had projected the "trade dollar" as a means of finding a market in the oriental countries for our great surplus of silver.

Hence, it is not surprising that a large number of trade dollar Patterns appeared at this time, including sets with the different designs made available to collectors.

As in prior years, Regular Dies Trial Strikes as they used to be known, in copper and aluminum were made from regular Proof dies and often in complete sets for sale to interested parties, with this lovely 1873 $10 Liberty Eagle in aluminum being a prime rarity and top grade specimen combined! Pop 1; none finer at NGC .

Though Pattern coins struck on aluminum planchets date back well before this Liberty Eagle issue, alluminum was still considered a "wonder metal" of the mid- to late-1800s when this 1873 was made. Light and easy to work, it had splendid properties and possibilities. There was only one drawback: price. Although the price of aluminum fell to below that of silver by the early 1860s, it was still expensive to produce, hovering around twelve dollars a pound between 1862 and 1886. It retained this status until metallurgists found a way to smelt it in quantity. As a consequence, the US. mint struck only limited numbers of aluminum Patterns and die trial pieces each year, often Rarity-6 or Rarity-7 items. (In 1889, man's technology finally caught up with his need for large quantities of this miracle light metal; prices plummeted and aluminum was soon being used to make tokens, medals, promotional badges, inflation coins by the jillion, and all sorts of other flimsy doodads.
Estimated Value $17,000 - 18,000.

Realized $28,750

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