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Coin Profile: 1871 Standard Silver Pattern Proof Set to be sold in Baltimore

Bowers and Merena will be offering Lot 3410 in their Baltimore Coin and Currency Auction next week. One item, possibly unique, is a 5 coin 1871 Standard Silver Pattern Proof Set.

Five-piece pattern proof sets of this type were distributed by the Mint to contemporary collectors. The number of such sets produced is unknown, but survivors are very rare with probably no more than six examples of each denomination known to exist. The specimens we offer here could represent an original set, inasmuch as the coins all trace their pedigree to the Harold P. Newlin and Garrett collections.

What is interesting, however, is that the coins were offered individually when Bowers and Ruddy conducted its first two installments of the Garrett Collection Sales in 1979 and 1980. Whether the coins comprise an original set or have been united to form an assembled set makes little difference–this lot represents what is almost certainly the only intact set of these pattern types in numismatic hands.

The obverse design of all examples is the same and features Chief Engraver James Barton Longacre’s Indian Princess motif with no stars around the borders. Liberty is seated left wearing a Native American headdress, her left hand resting atop a globe inscribed LIBERTY and her right hand supporting a liberty pole. Two flags are behind the portrait, and the date 1871 is below.

The reverse designs are identical with the exception of the denomination, which is centered within a wreath of corn and cotton. The word STANDARD is inscribed along the upper border. Struck in silver with either a reeded or plain edge.

Coin Included in the set are:

  • 1871 Pattern Half Dime. Judd-1059, Pollock-1194. Rarity-7+. Proof-66 (NGC). Reeded edge. Combined PCGS and NGC Population: just 1; 0 finer.
  • 1871 Pattern Dime. Judd-1074, Pollock-1210. Rarity-7+. Proof-66 (NGC). Reeded edge. Combined PCGS and NGC Population: only 2; and none are finer.
  • 1871 Pattern Quarter Dollar. Judd-1090, Pollock-1226. Rarity-7+. Proof-67 (NGC). Reeded edge. NGC Census: just 1; 0 finer. There are no examples of this type listed at PCGS.
  • 1871 Pattern Half Dollar. Judd-1105, Pollock-1241. Rarity-7+. Proof-66 (NGC). Reeded edge. Combined PCGS and NGC Population: only 1; 0 finer.
  • 1871 Pattern Dollar. Judd-1121, Pollock-1257. Rarity-7+. Proof-66 (NGC). Plain edge. Combined PCGS and NGC Population: only 1; none are finer.

Perhaps a once-in-a-lifetime offering for the specialist, once this set trades hands through this auction it may be many years, if not decades, before it finds its way back into the market. (Total: 5 coins)

The Half Dime, Dime, Quarter Dollar and Dollar are Ex: Harold P. Newlin Collection; The Garrett Collection Sales, Part II (Bowers and Ruddy, 3/1980), lots 1011, 1023, 1036 and 1046, respectively. The Half Dollar is Ex: Harold P. Newlin Collection; The Garrett Collection Sales, Part I (Bowers and Ruddy, 11/1979), lot 377. The entire set was subsequently offered in American Numismatic Rarities’ Atlanta Sale, October 2005, lot 5516, where it realized $184,000.

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