1879 $20 J-1644, RB PR (PCGS# 72023)

2013 April 24 - 28 CSNS US Coin Signature Auction - Chicago #1184

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    Heritage Auctions
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Lot Description
1879 $20 Metric Twenty Dollar, Judd-1644, Pollock-1844, R.7 (but at least 4 gilt), PR64+ Red and Brown NGC. CAC. Design. Similar to that featured on the regular issue Liberty double eagle of 1879, but there are two significant differences. The obverse periphery is inscribed * 30 * G * 1.5 * S * 3.5 * C * 35 * G * R * A * M * S *, and the motto DEO EST GLORIA has been substituted for IN GOD WE TRUST within the reverse stars. Struck in copper with a reeded edge. Commentary. The Metric twenty dollar patterns are kin to the "Stellas" or four dollar gold patterns first produced the same year. The weight pattern encoded around the obverse of a Metric twenty dollar pattern is an exact five-times multiple of the values on a stella: 6 G, .3 S, .7 C, 7 GRAMS. For this reason the Metric twenty dollar patterns sometimes are called "Quintuple Stellas," though they have eagle devices on the reverses instead of five-pointed stars. There are three varieties of Metric twenty dollars, of which the Judd-1644 in copper is the most frequently seen, but even it is very rare to extremely rare. The Judd-1643, the same design in gold, is extremely rare without question, while the Judd-1642, a copper impression without a decimal point between the 3 and 5 of "3.5 * C," is unique. Physical Description. This is a generally well-preserved pattern that straddles the line between near-Gem and Gem grades. Clearly reflective surfaces show significant reddish-orange color but also olive and violet mellowing. Small flyspecks affect each side, most visibly a pair on Liberty's cheek and another in the reverse glory, but there are few hairlines and next-to-no contact marks. A tiny lint strike-through, as made, appears just to the left of Liberty's neck. The six certified examples in the combined NGC-PCGS population are split between two gilt specimens, graded PR61 and PR62 by PCGS, and four non-gilt examples divided equally between the services.
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