Goldberg Coins and Collectibles

Sale 25

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.

Realized $18,975

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