Heritage Auctions, Inc.   |   Sale #1283   |   10 November 2018 Sort by Lot-NumberSort by Estimate
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Lot 15007

Estimate: -   |   Starting price: 1 USD Price realized: 204'000 USD
1792 CENT Washington Silver Pattern, Lettered Edge, Baker-20, Breen-1231, Musante GW-31 (B), High R.7 -- Obverse Graffiti -- NGC Details. XF. Ex: Picker. The silver 1792 Washington President, Large Eagle pattern, designated Baker-20, is among the rarest issues in all Washington coinage. Just five examples are known, only three of which are privately owned. The other two coins reside in institutional collections: one in the Massachusetts Historical Society, and the other in the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. The Massachusetts Historical Society coin is arguably the finest piece known. It was donated in June 1905 by the estate of William Sumner Appleton, who was a prominent 19th century collector. The other institutional coin is holed and plugged, and was donated to the Historical Society of Pennsylvania by William S. Baker. Baker is believed to have acquired it in W.E. Woodward's May 1888 sale of the Vicksburg Collection. It was previously the coin owned by A.S. Jenks of Philadelphia, whose collection was auctioned by Edward Cogan in April 1877. The Appleton and Jenks coins were two of four pieces known to Crosby in 1875. In The Early Coins of America, Crosby named Charles I. Bushnell and Lorin G. Parmelee as the owners of two other pieces. Parmelee acquired Bushnell's coin in 1882, and it is that piece which was later sold with Parmelee's collection in June 1890. The Chapman brothers acquired it, and the coin later passed through the collection of "Col." E.H.R. Green, among others, and ended up in the possession of John J. Ford, Jr. It last appeared publicly in Stack's May 2004 sale of the Ford Collection, where it sold for $115,000. The piece Parmelee owned in 1875 was sold or traded prior to 1890. Today, it is either the John L. Roper coin or the Eric P. Newman example. Baker-20 has a lettered edge. Most modern references list a Plain Edge silver variety, designated Baker-20A, but it is our opinion that such a coin does not exist. Our exhaustive study of auction listings going back to the early 1860s fails to reveal any confirmed appearance of a Plain Edge coin, and no such piece is known today. The origin of the so-called Plain Edge silver issue appears to be George Fuld's notes on the variety in the 1965 reprint of Baker's 1885 seminal reference on Washington coins and medals. Fuld states simply that "four or five plain edge" coins are known. Baker's original reference made no mention of a Plain Edge variant. Where Fuld got his information is unknown, although it is possible that the supposed Plain Edge variety was the result of misinterpreting early auction descriptions of silver Getz half dollar patterns as appearances of Baker-20, compounded by the fact that a few early Baker-20 auction listings do not mention the edge lettering. In any case, while copper coins are known with plain and lettered edges, it is believed that silver pieces exist only of the lettered edge type. We are pleased to offer the Newman coin in its first known public auction appearance. NGC denies this piece a numeric grade due to a few faint pinscratches on Washington's portrait and what appears to be a crude letter "D" in the left adjacent field. However, these are virtually undetectable by the naked eye. The toned olive-gray and gunmetal-blue surfaces deliver an old-silver appearance, and the design elements exhibit little wear. The edge lettering is clear. It has been more than 14 years since a silver 1792 Washington President, Large Eagle pattern has appeared at public auction. Both the Bushnell-Ford coin and the Roper example are tightly held in a prominent private collection. The previously unavailable Newman coin in this sale is an historic offering and a monumental rarity. Roster of Silver 1792 Washington President Patterns Musante GW-31 (B), Breen-1231, Baker-20 (Silver, Second Obverse, Lettered Edge): 1. Bushnell Collection (S.H. & H. Chapman, 6/1882), lot 1248, which realized $126 (included in the Crosby 1875 census); Lorin G. Parmelee (New York Coin & Stamp, 6/1890), lot 619, which realized $86; to S.H. & H. Chapman; later, "Col." E.H.R. Green; 1942 B.G. Johnson, Eric P. Newman partnership; F.C.C. Boyd; John J. Ford, Jr. (Stack's, 5/2004), lot 26, which realized $115,000; Donald Groves Partrick. 168.5 grains. 2. Robison Collection (Stack's, 2/1982), lot 245; John L. Roper, 2nd Collection (Stack's, 12/1983), lot 379, which realized $35,200; Donald Groves Partrick. 182.9 grains. 3. Richard Picker; Eric P. Newman. 186.7 grains. The Rulau-Fuld Plate Coin. The present coin. 4. William Sumner Appleton (included in the Crosby 1875 census); Massachusetts Historical Society. 188 grains. 5. A.S. Jenks of Philadelphia (included in the Crosby 1875 census); A.S. Jenks Collection (Edward Cogan, 4/1877), lot 690, which realized $101; Vicksburg Collection (W.E. Woodward, 5/1888), lot 1168, which realized $50; W.S. Baker; Historical Society of Pennsylvania; photographed in The Numismatist (9/1975); Kessler Spangenberger (NASCA, 4/1981), lot 2471, which realized $19,000; returned to the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. Plugged at 12:00. 168.5 grains? (Per Fuld, ANS 1995.) Additional Musante GW-31 (B), Breen-1231, Baker-20 Appearances A. E.F. Kuithan Collection (Edouard Frossard, 6/1883), lot 97, unsold. B. Per George Fuld Coinage of the American Confederation Period, American Numismatic Society, 10/28/1995 page 194: "Another specimen appeared in the New England area around 1970, with lettered edge, in extremely fine condition." Possibly the same as Baker-20 number 2 above. Musante GW-31 (D), Breen 1232, Baker-20A (Silver, Second Obverse, Plain Edge) Likely does not exist. Additional Musante GW-31 Silver Appearances (Edge Type Unidentified) A. In the possession of Lorin G. Parmelee in 1875 (included in the Crosby 1875 census and different than Bushnell lot 1248 recorded above), likely inferior to the Bushnell example. B. William A. Lilliendahl (W.H. Strobridge, 5/1862), lot 964, which realized $90, to "Harris". Harris was a pseudonym often used by Bushnell, per George Fuld Coinage of the American Confederation Period, American Numismatic Society, 10/28/1995 pg. 193. Cataloged as a "Washington Half-Dollar," the first such reference. "Worn as a medal." Possibly the same as C below and/or Baker-20 number 5 above. C. Bache, et al Collections (W.E. Woodward, 3/1865), lot 3279, which realized $100, to McCoy. Holed or partially holed. Possibly the same as B above and/or Baker-20 number 5 above. D. Colin Lightbody (Edward Cogan, 12/1866), lot 718, which realized $100, to Cogan. E. A second example from the, "Col." E.H.R. Green estate holdings. Part of the approximately 11,000 half dollars sold to Eric P. Newman and B.G. Johnson in 1942 for $27,500. Possibly the same as Baker-20 number 3 above. Ex: Eric P. Newman Numismatic Education Society.HID05401242017

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