1879 50C Morgan Half Dollar, Judd-1601, Pollock-1796, High R.6
Morgan's bust for the 1878 silver dollar appears on the obverse, suitably reduced in scale for the half dollar denomination. E PLURIBUS UNUM and the stars have a layout similar to the Morgan dollar obverse. The reverse features a perched eagle sans wreath. The eagle clutches an olive branch with seven leaves, and three arrows with large arrowheads. IN GOD WE TRUST is widely spread and in tiny letters. Struck in silver with a reeded edge.
PR67 $28,750.00 (Sep 10, 2009 HA.com)
1877 50C Morgan Half Dollar, Judd-1504, Pollock-1658, High R.7
The obverse features Morgan's head of Liberty facing left, wearing a cap with ears of wheat and cotton bolls. Two groups of stars surround the bust, seven to the left and six to the right. E PLURIBUS UNUM is inscribed above the head and the date is below. The reverse has an eagle displayed on a shield with three arrows in its left claw and an olive branch in its right claw. A round band frames and passes beneath a shield, lettered IN GOD WE TRUST. Around the shield and band is a laurel wreath, with UNITED STATES OF AMERICA along the outer border, and HALF DOLLAR below. Struck in silver with a reeded edge.
Pollock describes two different obverse dies, distinguished by the relationship between the leaves and RI. This pattern variety, Pollock-1658, has the leaves and letters separated. The other variety, Pollock-1666, has the leaves and letters, especially R, touching.
PR67 $43,125.00 (Jan 6, 2009 HA.com)
1877 50C Morgan Half Dollar, Judd-1510, Pollock-1674, High R.7
The obverse has the basic Morgan Liberty head facing left, with E PLURIBUS UNUM in large letters to the left and right. Below, the date is in small numerals, with two stars left and four right of the date. Above are seven additional stars. Although not identical, the reverse design is similar to the adopted Morgan dollar design of 1878, of course with the denomination expressed as HALF DOLLAR. Struck in silver with a reeded edge.
There are just five known examples of Judd-1510, according to Saul Teichman at USPatterns.com, and just four of those are collectible--hence the High R.7 rarity rating on the modified Sheldon scale. In addition, the same design was created in copper (Judd-1511), with just four examples known.
PR66 $40,250.00 (Jan 6, 2009 HA.com)
1877 50C Morgan Half Dollar, Judd-1512, Pollock-1676, High R.7
The obverse features Morgan's head of Liberty facing left inside a beaded circle. There are 13 stars arranged in two arcs outside the circle, six left and seven right. The inscription E PLURIBUS UNUM is above and the date below. On the reverse, a beaded circle encloses a defiant eagle facing left perched on a thick scroll. The scroll carries the inscription IN GOD WE TRUST, with three arrows and an olive branch behind. The legend UNITED STATES OF AMERICA is above and the denomination HALF DOLLAR is below. Struck in silver with a reeded edge.
Morgan's memorable Liberty head was used , with slight modifications, on 17 different pattern designs in 1877. Of course, it was also adopted for use on the obverse of the Morgan silver dollar, which began production in 1878. The model for Morgan's design was reportedly a Philadelphia school teacher, Miss Anna W. Williams. Williams was always shy about her role as model, and tried to avoid notoriety as the famous "Silver Dollar Girl."
The intricate reverse design was also used again, with minor revisions, on the famous " Schoolgirl" dollar pattern of 1879. The impressive "defiant" eagle was also borrowed by Charles Barber many years later for the reverse of the Panama-Pacific quarter eagle. Andrew Pollock believes the inspiration for this striking motif was a sketch drawn by Titian Peale, circa 1838.
USPatterns.com states only six examples of Judd-1512 are extant (see USPatterns.com for a detailed census of surviving examples). The present coin has been off the market since 1984, and offerings of any example of Judd-1512 are few and far between. We expect intense competition for this influential, historically important pattern.
PR62 $14,950.00 (Jan 6, 2009 HA.com)
1877 50C Morgan Half Dollar, Judd-1513, Pollock-1677, Low R.7
The obverse features the George T. Morgan Liberty Head, somewhat as on the Morgan dollar, but inside a beaded circle, with E PLURIBUS UNUM above and the date 1877 below. The reverse features Morgan's "defiant eagle," perched on a scroll inscribed IN GOD WE TRUST. Three arrowheads shoot up from the rear right of the scroll, and an olive branch from the left. UNITED STATES OF AMERICA and HALF DOLLAR are inside a beaded circle. Struck in copper with a reeded edge.
The 1877 half dollars, in dozens of different designs and metals--44 in all, including the die variety mentioned below--form a popular subset of pattern collecting in and of themselves, and the Morgan Liberty Head designs are foremost in popularity of those. The attractive reverse design, featuring an eagle apparently about to take flight, was later used on the 1879 Schoolgirl dollar. It was also modified slightly for the 1915-S Panama-Pacific International Expo commemorative gold quarter eagle, a rush job by Charles Barber that fortunately started with this excellent design.
While there were certainly others--Farouk, Sieck, Morris Evans--one of the most memorable offerings of 1877 half dollar patterns in recent years was the incredible Bowers and Merena auction in May 1999 of the Harry W. Bass, Jr. Collection. Of the 44 possible half dollar combinations of 1877, Bass had managed to acquire 30 different examples, several of them unique or nearly so, and in one case a unique die variety that Bass himself discovered (Judd-1540, Pollock-1711, lot 1241 in the Bowers and Merena catalog).
PR66 Brown $24,150.00 (Jan 6, 2009 HA.com)
1877 50C Morgan Half Dollar, Judd-1517, Pollock-1681, Low R.7
The obverse features Morgan's head of Liberty facing left inside a beaded circle. There are 13 stars arranged in two arcs outside the circle, six left and seven right. The inscription E PLURIBUS UNUM is above and the date below. The central figure of the reverse die is an eagle with spread wings inside a beaded circle. The eagle's wing feathers are larger than on other varieties. The eagle is standing on a scroll inscribed IN GOD WE TRUST, with an olive branch and three arrows behind. The legend UNITED STATES OF AMERICA is above and the denomination HALF DOLLAR is below. Struck in copper with a reeded edge.
Morgan's Liberty head design is well known to all collectors as the device used for the obverse of regular-issue silver dollars, beginning in 1878. R.W. Julian has shown this design was actually the first of four designs prepared by Morgan in 1877. The model for Liberty was Miss Anna Williams of Philadelphia. The reverse design is similar to the motif used on Judd-1514, but the feathers in the eagle's wings are larger and fewer in number. USPatterns.com indicates eight specimens of Judd-1517 are extant.
PR66 Brown $24,150.00 (Jan 6, 2009 HA.com)
1877 50C Morgan Half Dollar, Judd-1521, Pollock-1685, R.7
The obverse features Morgan's head of Liberty facing left, wearing a cap with ears of wheat and cotton bolls. Two groups of stars surround the bust, seven to the left and six to the right. E PLURIBUS UNUM is inscribed above the head and the date is below. The intricate reverse design displays an eagle on a shield, clutching an olive branch and three arrows. The shield is tightly surrounded by a laurel wreath and a band bearing the motto IN GOD WE TRUST. The peripheral inscriptions are UNITED STATES OF AMERICA above and HALF DOLLAR below. Struck in copper with a reeded edge.
The obverse design is George Morgan's famous Liberty head concept, adopted for use on the silver dollar in 1878. The model for the obverse is thought to be Anna Williams, of Philadelphia. USPatterns.com believes three or four examples of Judd-1521 are extant today. The present offering is a rare opportunity to secure this desirable issue.
PR63 Red and Brown $15,525.00 (Jan 6, 2009 HA.com)
1879 50C Morgan Half Dollar, Judd-1600, Pollock-1795, Low R.7
The obverse is reminiscent of the standard Morgan dollar, but the border arrangement of stars and E PLURIBUS UNUM differs. The reverse features a large perched eagle with unfurled wings. The eagle clutches three large arrows and an olive branch. IN GOD WE TRUST is widely spread around the eagle. Struck in copper with a reeded edge.
This pattern is either Low R.7 or High R.6, with about 12 to 15 pieces existing today. Pollock called it R.7, Bowers states Low R.7 in the ninth edition of the Judd reference, and USPatterns.com states R.6.
PR63 Red Cameo $8,050.00 (Jan 6, 2009 HA.com)
1879 50C Morgan Half Dollar, Judd-1599, Pollock-1794, High R.6
The obverse is dominated by a portrait of Liberty nearly identical to that on the Morgan dollar, but appropriately reduced in size for the half dollar denomination. The peripheral inscription E PLURIBUS UNUM and the accompanied stars differ in placement from the Morgan dollar.
The reverse features an eagle with partially spread wings, holding an olive branch in the right talon and a trio of arrows in its left claws. IN GOD WE TRUST is widely spaced below, along with the denomination and UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. Struck in silver with a reeded edge. The centers are softly struck, as is generally characteristic of this pattern issue. Approximately 12-15 pieces are believed known in silver and also in copper of this design.
PR62 $10,637.50 (Sep 27, 2007 HA.com)
1877 50C Morgan's Liberty Head Half Dollar, Judd-1506, Pollock-1668, High R.7
Essentially a miniature of Morgan's famous dollar design, dated 1877. The reverse has an eagle on top of a shield, the motto IN GOD WE TRUST to the left, above, and right of the shield. This entire design is enclosed within a wreath with UNITED STATES OF AMERICA around and HALF DOLLAR below. Struck in silver with a reeded edge.
There are currently just five examples of Judd-1506 known, and these exist from two different obverse dies! Andrew Pollock assigned two different numbers to these dies. Pollock-1660 has a short leaf below the I of PLURIBUS, with three examples known. Pollock-1668 has a long leaf at this location, touching the base of that letter, with just two known pieces. This example, from the Harry Bass Collection, is the Pollock plate coin for his number 1668. It is nicely detailed with fully mirrored fields and a trace of hazy toning along the borders. The devices are lustrous with a resultant light cameo contrast, perhaps sufficient for a Cameo designation from PCGS. Both sides exhibit light hairlines that limit the grade. This is an incredible piece, a coin that will be a prized possession by its new owner.
The specialty of collecting 1877 pattern half dollars provides one of the most challenging of all numismatic pursuits. Many cabinets, including some very famous collections, have never had even a single 1877 pattern half dollar. It is estimated that fewer than 200 pattern half dollars of this year exist, and this total population must be divided up among 44 different varieties. The Jones Beach Collection contains seven different examples, a truly remarkable accomplishment.
Through the assistance of Saul Teichman and USPatterns.com, we are pleased to present extensive pedigree information about this coin and the other 1877 half dollar patterns in the present sale.