1879 $20 Liberty Head Quintuple Stella, Judd-1643, Pollock-1843, Low R.7, PR62 PCGS
The obverse has the Liberty Head from the regular issue double eagle, although it does not appear to be the Type Three hub used for regular issue pieces. The standard diagonal die line from the hair to the left side of Y is not present, as it is on all regular issue pieces of the third design. The legend is a variation of the legend on the four dollar stella: * 30 * G * 1.5 * S * 3.5 * C * 35* G * R * A * M * S *. The date is below the bust and the initials J.B.L. are located on the bust truncation. The reverse is similar to the regular issue piece with an eagle and shield design, the legend E PLURIBUS UNUM on the scroll work to the left and right. Around, the legend UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, and below, the denomination TWENTY DOLLARS. An oval of stars and a glory of rays above the eagle contain the motto DEO EST GLORIA. It is this motto that is different from the regular design. Struck in gold with a reeded edge.
Even the casual numismatist or collector is aware of the international experiment that is represented by the four dollar gold stella coinage. Although those pieces are patterns, they have been listed in the Guide Book since its first publication in 1946, and they are considered by some to be regular issue gold coins. Not nearly so well known are these "quintuple stellas," the 20-dollar version of the same coinage issue. Just five of these pieces are known in gold, along with 10 to 12 examples struck in copper. Among the five examples in gold are this piece, and another that is permanently part of the Smithsonian Institution holdings.
$862,500.00 (Jan 2, 2007 HA.com)
1876 $20 Twenty Dollar, Judd-1493, Pollock-1646, High R.7, PR66 Red and Brown NGC
Both the obverse and reverse are of the regular Liberty Head double eagle dated 1876. Importantly, the coronet tip nearly touches star 7, and the reverse reads TWENTY D. Struck in copper with a reeded edge.
Commentary. This is similar to the Judd-1489 double eagle pattern, but the coronet tip is much closer to star 7 than to star 6, as on the regular-issue dies of 1876. In 1877 the regular-issue die shows the point of the coronet midway between stars 6 and 7, the same die that was used for the gold (Judd-1488) and copper (Judd-1489). The Judd reference also lists the counterpart of the Judd-1493 in aluminum as Judd-1494, but those are unconfirmed, as noted in all the standard print and online references. USPatterns.com notes that less than six pieces of the Judd-1493 are known in all grades--and that figure includes two pieces that were misattributed in the Harry W. Bass, Jr. Research Foundation as Judd-1489.
In 1877 the double eagle hub modifications resulted in Liberty Head that appears to gaze rather more forward than upward as previously, and not only is the forward tip of the coronet positioned differently, but also the top of the "bun" of hair at the back of her head is adjacent to star 10, whereas previously it nestled in-between stars 10 and 11. There are many other minor differences on both sides that may be discovered through careful study. These patterns are also important because of their close association with the unique transitional double eagle pattern in gold, Judd-1488. That piece, according to USPatterns.com, "first came to light in the June 1909 Numismatist when J. Haseltine sold the piece to William Woodin.