Morgan Pattern

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Morgan 1878 Dollar Patterns

John Roberts, " There are no 8 TF patterns, all three configurations of the reverse had this 'tighter' eagle with the seven tail feathers in a more rounded group than any of the production dies."
Roger Burdette, "Morgan did a lot of tinkering with the design between December 1877 and March 1878. I suspect the sequence of patterns and early hubs in references is in need of correction. "

This a work in progress and all information needs to be verified, until I remove this sentence it has not been checked for accuracy.

[J1550A/P1725] George Morgan's prototype dollar using the image of [Anna Williams]. They all show three leaves on the reverse in the eagle's talon as copied from the 1877 half dollar [J1509/P1663.]
J1550A-J1550B/P1725-P1726 in silver and copper. This is the illustrated example and is believed to be the first of the 4 designs listed. It has the tip of Liberty's neck closer to star one and the wheat ear points to the left edge of the the "R" in "Pluribus". Morgan's initial "M" is raised on Liberty's neck instead of incuse.

This appears to be the most common variety with over a half dozen confirmed in silver and about a half dozen known in copper.
Research of mint archives by Roger Burdette shows that at least 50 pieces of J1550A and J1550 were struck between December 1, 1877 and January 2, 1878. They comprise 4 obverse and either 2 or 3 reverse dies to produce 4 varieties of this type as follows: The first prototypes have rounded "fanshaped" wing attachments to the eagle's torso as on [J1509/P1663.]

J1550A P1725 USPatterns 29 Dec 2010.jpg
[J1553/P1730] The final Morgan dollar transitional issue. It has 5 berries on the reverse olive sprig instead of one, the wings seem a little thinner, Morgan's initial "M" is not in the ribbon bow and AMERICA starts further away from the eagle's wingtip than on other varieties.

It is listed in Breen's Comprehensive Encyclopedia as #5499 where it is stated that these were struck on February 25.
Examples were struck as follows:
Silver J1552/P1729. Adams and Woodin stated that only 3 were struck. I am not sure of the Woodside, Woodin, Newcomer, Farouk pedigree listed for one of these as Dewitt Smith's went to Granberg and likely all one piece. The example listed as being part of the Byron Reed-Western Heritage Museum is actually a J1550.
PCGS has slabbed two of them, the former Bass Foundation example graded PCGS64 and another that was graded PCGS62. This latter coin may be the example offered by Christies/Spink America in October 2001.
Copper J1553/P1730 which is believed to be unique and ex Farouk and probably the same as the Stirling-Heritage 5/09 which is illustrated above.
Photo courtesy of Heritage.

J1553 P1730 USPatterns 29 Dec 2010.jpg
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Section 3

Auction House Photos

1878 Three-Leaves Reverse Pattern Dollar Judd-1550, PR63 Sold for: $7,475.00

1878 $1 Morgan Dollar, Judd-1550, Pollock-1727, Low R.6, PR63 NGC. CAC. Similar to the adopted design, but there are only three leaves on the eagle's branch. Struck in silver with a reeded edge. Further characterized by the "notched" wing, as later used on the regular issue. This well struck pattern is beautifully toned. Electric-blue, olive-gold, and apricot toning illuminates the flashy fields. A wonderful addition to a specialized holding of Morgan dollars. (#61910)

Full Coin Photos

Large Full Coin Copyrighted© Images on loan to VAMworld courtesy ©[Heritage Auctions]

1878 'Fan-Shaped' Eagle Morgan Dollar Pattern, Judd-1550A Sold for: $6,325.00

1878 $1 Morgan Dollar, Judd-1550A, Pollock-1723, 1725, Low R.6, PR63 PCGS. This design is similar to the final adopted design for the Morgan silver dollars, with only a few minor differences. The obverse differs primarily in the placement of the upper leaves as they relate to RIB in E PLURIBUS UNUM. The reverse has several stylistic differences, but the basic design concept is the same as that adopted. The eagle has seven tailfeathers, there are only three leaves on the olive branch instead of nine, the eagle's wings are differently shaped, and Morgan has omitted his initial on the ribbon bow. Struck in silver with a reeded edge.
In our 2004 ANA Auction, we noted doubling on the date, a feature we had not previously seen. Research in Mint archives by Roger Burdette revealed that at least 50 pieces of Judd-1550A and Judd-1550 were struck between December 1, 1877 and January 2, 1878. They comprise four obverse and either two or three reverse dies to produce four varieties of this type. This coin is from the most "common" of the four varieties. It shows the tip of Liberty's neck centered between star 1 and the 1 in the date, and the wheat ear points past the left edge of in the R in PLURIBUS. As we noted in the 2004 appearance, "The serif of the 1 is doubled, and an additional upright protrudes through the base. The peak of the original 1 is visible on the top surface just below the final position. The first 8 is doubled below, and this 8 as well as the final two digits each have additional evidence of the recutting on the top surface of those digits." About a half dozen are known in both silver and copper.
The obverse is deeply and uniformly dark in color, and is interrupted by a couple of unusual bright specks in front of and in back of the head of Liberty. The reverse is several shades lighter in hue with noticeable iridescence present. Lightly hairlined, but this is largely unnoticeable because of the depth of color present on each side. Bright, deeply reflective fields.
From The Jones Beach Collection. (#61911)
Large Full Coin Copyrighted© Images on loan to VAMworld courtesy ©[Heritage Auctions]

1878 Judd-1550A Morgan Dollar, Proof Details Sold for: $2,300.00

A fully defined example of this popular Morgan dollar pattern with deeply mirrored fields, and satiny devices. Both sides are light silver-gray with splashes of iridescent toning from the lacquer.
From The Frank M. Stirling Collection, Part Two. (#61911)
Large Full Coin Copyrighted© Images on loan to VAMworld courtesy ©[Heritage Auctions]

The Matthew A. Stickney 1878 Morgan Dollar Pattern in Silver Judd-1550A, Pollock-1725, Gem Proof

Sold for: $9,200.00

1878 $1 Morgan Dollar, Judd-1550A, Pollock-1725, Low R.6, PR65 NGC.
Design. The design on both sides is similar to the adopted Morgan dollar, but on the obverse the point of the bust truncation is nearer to star 1 than to the 1 in the date. The wheat ear in Liberty's cap is distant from the R in PLURIBUS. On the reverse there are no "cut-in" notches where the eagle's lower wings join to its torso. Struck in silver with a reeded edge.
Commentary. Matthew A. Stickney (1805-1894). The name of Matthew A. Stickney is one of the most illustrious and revered in U.S. numismatics, more than two centuries after his birth and more than a century after his long life ended. Stickney lived in the same house in Salem, Massachusetts, for 56 years. At around age 18, he began collecting coins--possibly the first person in America to begin a systematic collection of dates in several series (see 1907). His most famous and historic acquisition was in the year 1843, when he obtained a Class I Original 1804 silver dollar directly from the U.S. Mint. Stickney's end of the trade was a unique 1785 Immune Columbia cent overstruck on a 1775 British gold guinea, along with some other pieces.
Stickney provided much valuable assistance to Sylvester Crosby when Crosby was writing his still-famous Early Coins of America, published in the mid-1870s. Crosby studied and photographed several coins that were unknown except in Stickney's collection. An entire generation of collectors around the turn of the 20th century was largely unaware of Stickney's holdings. One year after dissolving his filial partnership, Henry Chapman in 1907 landed one of the most valuable and comprehensive coin collections sold in the 20th century, the Stickney Collection. Stickney devoted the last years of his life mostly to genealogy, not numismatics, so many of his coins had not been seen for 25 years or more when sold in 1907.
As expected from a 19th century collection, Stickney's Colonial holdings were strong. Besides a Brasher doubloon-which sold for $6,200-he owned the unique Janus Head halfpenny, a LIBER NATUS cent from New York, an Albany Church penny, an INIMICA TYRANNIS cent, and an extensive run of Washingtonia, including a series of Seasons medals. Patterns were well represented in Stickney's holdings, although his is not one of the foremost names among pattern collectors of the era. (Regarding the present coin, it is worth mentioning that Henry Chapman cataloged the coin as a regular Morgan dollar proof of the year 1878, rather than including it in the patterns section.) Regular issue federal coinage is well represented in all areas, including an 1815 half eagle, but the premier coin, and the one Stickney is most famous for, is his 1804 silver dollar, which realized an astounding $3,600 in 1907.
It is instructive to note that in 71 years of collecting, Stickney apparently never owned an 1802 half dime. It is awe-inspiring to see the proof sets Stickney owned, a near-complete run from 1843 through 1879, missing only the 1851-1853 issues and the 1877, and to read Chapman's accompanying copy: "All brilliant and as bright as the day they left the Mint, having never been out of the possession of Mr. Stickney, who bought them at the Mint, and they have never been cleaned. The finest line ever offered. The half cents are all originals ... ."
The entire Stickney Collection, which his two daughters had maintained intact until the 1907 Chapman sale, realized the princely sum of $37,859.21. The present coin almost undoubtedly represents another coin that Stickney obtained directly from the Mint in the year of its striking, toward the twilight of his numismatic endeavors. As such, it occupies a doubly important place in American coinage history.
Physical Description. Delightfully original rose and ice-blue patina evenly covers both sides of this stunning coin, which at first glance simply resembles a high-end Gem proof Morgan dollar. It is quite easy to understand how Henry Chapman could miss (or not care about) the subtle distinctions between the two. NGC Census: 4 in PR65, 1 finer as a PR65 Cameo. PCGS Population: 2 in PR65, 1 finer as a PR65 Cameo (12/08).Provenance. Ex: Matthew A. Stickney, likely direct from the Mint; Stickney Collection (Henry A. Chapman, 6/1907), lot 916, which realized $2.00; The Connecticut Historical Society and M. Vernon Sheldon Collections (Bowers and Merena, 4/1983), lot 1191.
From The Lemus Collection, Queller Family Collection Part Two. (#61910)
Large Full Coin Copyrighted© Images on loan to VAMworld courtesy ©[Heritage Auctions]

PR64 Cameo Judd-1550a 1878 Morgan Dollar Sold for: $10,350.00

Large Full Coin Copyrighted© Images on loan to VAMworld courtesy ©[Heritage Auctions]

1878 Pattern Morgan Dollar, PR63 Cameo Judd-1550A, Raised Designer's Initial Sold for: $6,325.00

1878 $1 Morgan Dollar, Judd-1550A, Pollock-1725, Low R.6, PR63 Cameo NGC. Both sides are similar to the adopted design, but differ in several minor areas. The most obvious are the fan-shaped leaves on the lower reverse. On the obverse the wheat ear points to the left of the R in PLURIBUS, the point of the truncation of Liberty's neck is nearer star 1, and the M for Morgan's initial is raised rather than incuse. Struck in silver with a reeded edge. Probably only a half dozen of these pieces are known. There were four obverse and either two or three reverse dies that produced four varieties, all struck between December 1, 1877 and January 2, 1878. This is a brilliant example that displays deeply reflective fields with starkly contrasting frosted devices. The surfaces are lightly hairlined but present very well with no noticeable contact marks. (#61911)
Large Full Coin Copyrighted© Images on loan to VAMworld courtesy ©[Heritage Auctions]

1878 Morgan Dollar, Judd-1550B, Pollock-1724, R.7 PR67 Red and Brown The Only Certified Example

1878 $1 Morgan Dollar, Judd-1550B, Pollock-1724, R.7, PR67 Red and Brown NGC.
Design. The design on both sides is similar to the adopted Morgan dollar, but on the obverse the point of the bust truncation is centered between star 1 and the 1 in the date. The wheat ear in Liberty's coronet touches the R in PLURIBUS. On the reverse there are no "cut-in" notches where the eagle's lower wings join to its torso. Struck in copper with a reeded edge.
Commentary. As quoted in Pollock, coin dealer Samuel H. Chapman spoke about the reverse of this design in his 1913 sale of the Arthur Sargent collection:
"In a conference today, June 6, with the artist, Mr. George T. Morgan, he kindly informed me that 'this die with the deep serratures inserted by hand and with the feathers of the eagle's wing continued on the under edge of the body was the first model, and that he subsequently, in deference to the idea and wishes of the Committee on Coinage, changed the arrangement of the feathers so as to leave a gap in the under edge between the feathers and the body.' Mr. Morgan also stated that he made minor changes in several different models, and believed this model to be the rarest, but could not recall how many were struck from each die."
Andrew Pollock notes that the Lemus Collection example weighs 354.5 grains, with diameter of 1.493 in. and coin turn die alignment.
Physical Description. Brick-red enlivens the surfaces with darker brown patina over the devices. Each side shows tremendous eye appeal and no mentionable contact. A couple of tiny dark spots at the back of Liberty's cheek near the jawbone provide pedigree identifiers. This piece certainly appears rarer than the Judd-1550A in the present sale (if without so illustrious a pedigree), as this is the sole example in any grade certified at either NGC or PCGS (11/08).
Large Full Coin Copyrighted© Images on loan to VAMworld courtesy ©[Heritage Auctions]

1878 Morgan Dollar Pattern, Judd-1551, PR62 Sold for: $3,450.00

1878 PS$1 Morgan Dollar, Judd-1551, Pollock-1726, High R.6, PR62 Brown PCGS. Similar to the adopted design except for differing wings on the eagle and a different style olive branch. Struck in copper with a reeded edge. Both sides are toned in variegated shades of antique-copper and mahogany-brown patina. Boldly struck with a few contact marks over and before the truncation of Liberty's neck. Population: 1 in 62, 2 finer (11/06). (#61912)
Large Full Coin Copyrighted© Images on loan to VAMworld courtesy ©[Heritage Auctions]

Red Gem 1878 Morgan Dollar in Copper, Judd-1551 Sold for: $11,500.00

Ex: Lindesmith Collection (Bowers and Merena), lot 2035.
From The Vanek Collection. (#81912)
Large Full Coin Copyrighted© Images on loan to VAMworld courtesy ©[Heritage Auctions]

Probably Unique 1878 Judd-1553 Copper Dollar, PR64 Red and Brown Sold for: $109,250.00

1878 $1 Morgan Dollar, Judd-1553, Pollock-1730, Unique(?), PR64 Red and Brown NGC. The obverse appears to be identical to the regular issue 1878 Morgan dollar. Compared to a proof 1878 7 TF Morgan, both obverse dies have exactly 148 dentils, and all other details appear to be the same. The reverse is similar to the regular issue reverse, with minor differences. The olive branch has nine leaves in a slightly different layout, with other differences in the arrows and slimmer wings. Note the first A in AMERICA, distant from the wing on this pattern, and touching the wing on the regular issue. Berries are in different clusters and leaves in the wreath are in different groups. However, this 1878 Morgan dollar pattern is a closer match to the regular design than any others of the year. Struck in copper with a reeded edge.
This pattern is almost certainly unique, as the only known record of an example dates to the King Farouk Sale in February 1954, where lot 1989 was described as "1878, a similar pattern in copper, A.W. 1561 A. Extremely Fine, prettily toned and probably unique." Unfortunately, like so many of the King Farouk coins, that lot was unplated in the catalog. However, the grade of Extremely Fine and the description of "prettily toned" seem counterintuitive. Many of the Farouk patterns were conservatively graded Extremely Fine, while today they are known to be considerably nicer. Given the aesthetic desirability of this piece and the lack of any other auction records for the variety, we feel strongly that the present piece is the same as the Farouk coin, remaining unique. Only this single example has been certified by NGC, and PCGS has never graded a Judd-1553.
This amazing pattern is mostly brilliant, with rich orange luster and lovely iridescent toning. The surfaces are exceptional, and the strike is bold. There is little evidence of spotting or other blemishes. The appearance or reappearance of a pattern that is believed unique and has remained hidden for more than half a century is nearly unprecedented. This piece will appeal directly to pattern specialists and advanced Morgan dollar collectors. The connoisseur who desires the rarest numismatic specimens can do no better than the present piece, which resides on a short list of unique coins.
From The Frank M. Stirling Collection. (#71914)
Large Full Coin Copyrighted© Images on loan to VAMworld courtesy ©[Heritage Auctions]

Gem 1878 Copper Morgan Dollar, Judd-1565 Sold for: $24,150.00

Ex: E. Maris Collection; Garrett Collection, Part II (Bowers and Ruddy, 3/80), lot 1053; Jascha Heifetz Collection (Superior, 10/89), lot 3323, which realized $17,050. (#71927)
Large Full Coin Copyrighted© Images on loan to VAMworld courtesy ©[Heritage Auctions]

1878 Morgan Dollar Mule-Fantasy Piece, Judd-1565 High R.7, One of Possibly Five Known PR65 Red

Sold for $40,250.00

1878 $1 Morgan Dollar, Judd-1565, Pollock-1732, High R.7, PR65 Red NGC.
Design. This is a muling of the obverse of Judd-1550A/1550B (Pollock-1725/1726) with the reverse of Judd-1554/1555 (Pollock-1733/1734). The obverse is similar to the adopted Morgan dollar, with the point of the bust truncation nearer to star 1 than to the 1 in the date. The wheat ear in Liberty's cap is distant from the R in PLURIBUS. On the reverse an eagle with drooping wings occupies the center, with UNITED STATES OF AMERICA and ONE DOLLAR, the latter in minuscules, at the rim. E PLURIBUS UNUM appears arcing in a Gothic font above the eagle. The upright of the B in PLURIBUS is centered under the tip of the right bottom serif on the second T of STATES, and the M in UNUM is slightly left of center of the M in AMERICA. Struck in copper with a reeded edge.
Commentary. Pollock notes that this is "a muling of incongruously matched dies having the motto E PLURIBUS UNUM on each side." This piece was struck at or near the zenith of Mint clandestine pattern production for profit. It almost appears that any obverse was paired with any available reverse in the search for new varieties with which to satiate the collecting public. At least the Mint--usually--drew the line at pairing two obverses or two reverses together. Note that with the appearance of this Lemus Collection specimen, Heritage has handled three of the known specimens.
Physical Description. Wonderfully original mint red abounds on both sides of this charming Gem, with equal amounts of eye appeal that are immediately suggestive of an even finer grade. That higher grade may be defeated only by some completely trivial carbon on the obverse. Pollock notes that this piece weighs 342.1 grains, with a diameter of 1.491 in. and coin-turn die alignment. NGC Census: two PR65 Red, one PR67 Brown Cameo. PCGS Population: two PR65 Red (11/08).
Large Full Coin Copyrighted© Images on loan to VAMworld courtesy ©[Heritage Auctions]

Some photo courtesy of RARCOA.