Yesterday's Heritage Coin News email included an article about an unusual hand-engraved U.S. pattern coin.
Our April 22 - 26 CSNS US Coins Signature Auction features one of the most interesting patterns in the entire series, the possibly unique Judd-115 1849 gold dollar . This is the only U.S. pattern that was hand-engraved, and as such it is distinctive and highly collectible. These patterns were emergency issues that were hand-engraved to simulate what a struck coin would look like with a square hole in it. They were needed in a hurry because a lame-duck Congressman from North Carolina, James Iver McKay, was pressing hard for the issuance of the pieces (mostly as an outlet for the gold mines from his native state). By January 26, 1849 Congressman McKay was in possession of one of these pieces (presumably this one). On January 30, six additional specimens were produced and sent by Mint Director Robert Maskell Patterson to other Congressmen.
All of the seven known pieces of the Judd-115s and 116s have been weighed and three have been metallurgically tested. This particular piece is by far the heaviest of the seven possible pieces at 22.76 grains and it has a specific gravity of 18 - pure gold has a specific gravity of 19.3. The gold dollar adopted later in 1849 weighed 25.79 grains. The closest weight of the other six pieces is 19.02 grains. The lightest of the six others is the Chase Manhattan piece that weighed only 15.28 grains. Metallurgical testing of two of the other pieces showed a gold content of only 52.7% and 51% gold. Close examination of the seven known Judd-115/116 patterns strongly suggests the present piece may be the only actual Judd-115 in existence, as it is the only piece struck in coin gold (90% gold). The other six specimens should more properly be designated as Judd-116s. The tests conducted on those other six pieces also recommend reexamining the assertion that the Judd-116 pieces are gold-plated silver. Instead it suggests they are gold-silver-copper alloy pieces, but not gold-plated.
This coin is simply laid-out with a square central perforation. On the obverse, around the perforation, is the legend 1.DOLLAR. 1849. The reverse has a laurel wreath around the perforated center and outside that U. STATES OF AMERICA. Struck in gold with a plain edge. Composition - 90% gold, 2.5% silver, 6.5% copper, weight = 22.8 grains.
This piece is an attractive example with lustrous, lightly marked antique-gold surfaces. A small mark near the reverse rim at 2 o'clock serves as a useful pedigree marker. The eye appeal is outstanding.
To read the complete lot description, see:
1849 PG$1 Gold Dollar, Judd-115, Pollock-130, Possibly Unique
Wayne Homren, Editor
The Numismatic Bibliomania Society is a non-profit organization
promoting numismatic literature. See our web site at coinbooks.org.
To submit items for publication in The E-Sylum, write to the Editor
at this address: firstname.lastname@example.org
To subscribe go to: https://my.binhost.com/lists/listinfo/esylum
Copyright © 1998 - 2020 The Numismatic Bibliomania Society (NBS)
All Rights Reserved.
NBS Home Page
Contact the NBS webmaster