Patterns and Trial
1808 J-40 $5 MS
Description & Analysis
Judd-40, Pollock-6175, High R.7.
Design. The obverse is from the 1808 BD-2 die with the diagnostic low date and 1 centered over two denticles (difficult to see on this piece because of the die rust). The reverse is from the 1804 BD-7 reverse die that has a leaf pointing toward the left serif of the I in AMERICA but still separate, the lowest arrow even with the right upright of the N in UNITED, and the bottom of star 12 pointing to the right side of the B in PLURIBUS. Struck in silver with a (presumably) plain edge. Allegedly a reeded edge piece was recorded in Woodward's Levick Sale of October 1864, but this was apparently a cataloging error, as such a coin is untraced today.
Commentary. This is not technically a pattern, but rather a fantasy piece that has long been considered a part of the pattern series, as have many similar pieces. Struck privately; it is believed that Joseph J. Mickley was responsible for the production of the few pieces that are known. Mickley purchased scrap dies from the Mint in the early 1860s and struck other fantasy pieces from heavily rusted and oftentimes illogical obverse / reverse die pairings. In this case, at least the obverse and reverse are within the same series. Since they were struck in silver, there was clearly no intent to deceive.
Description and Analysis courtesy of Heritage Auctions and may not be republished without written permission.