The following three die trials are all believed to be UNIQUE and will be part of the Heritage Signature Sale to be held in Tampa at the January FUN Show.
1849 DT$5 Massachusetts & California Half Eagle Dies Trial in Copper MS63 Brown NGC. Kagin-5b Over 5c, Unique.
This copper dies trial was created as a partial hub trial. The central devices are exactly the same as those on the four known gold pieces. As a partial hub trial, the peripheral stars were punched in later into the working die, which explains the variation in the positioning of the stars relative to the central device. The undertype for the reverse is unlisted in Kagin, but has since been identified as Kagin-5c, an S is faintly visible in the center of the reverse. Both sides of this piece show an understrike of the word DOLLARS (with reversed S). The S is easiest to see on the obverse to the left of the stag’s knee. LLAR is faintly seen on the reverse within the lower wreath and in line with 1849 CO.
Another interesting aspect of this piece is the multiple strikes on the reverse, at least four; apparently the die rotated slightly between successive strikings. The obverse was struck twice. The surfaces are glossy brown and the devices well-struck throughout. There are no distinguishing marks on either side.
The Massachusetts & California company was “believed to have been organized in Northampton, Massachusetts, in May 1849,” according to page 389 of the 2015 Guide Book. This unique copper dies trial striking is a direct pattern predecessor to one of the rarest and most storied of all California pioneer gold coins.
Ex: FUN Signature (Heritage, 1/2015), lot 7866, which brought $15,275. (NGC ID# 2BE7, PCGS# 10230)
(1857) $20 Double Eagle Reverse Die Trial, Judd-A1857-8, Pollock-3152, Unique (?), MS63 PCGS Secure.
Undated (1857) hub trial or uniface splasher with a spread-wing eagle with arrows below, surrounded by rays. No border, denomination, or legend. Partial paper backing on the reverse. Struck in white metal. Believed to be unique.
A few die polishing lines are seen through the rays. The surfaces otherwise are brighter in the center with slight darkening at the margin. A spot is located almost in the exact center of the piece with a couple of microscopic flecks below the eagle. Of the greatest rarity and importance.
Ex: Stephen K. Nagy; ANA Auction (Kosoff, 8/1958); Abe Kosoff Estate (Bowers and Merena, 11/1985), lot 1157; illustrated on page 105 of the article “The 1861 Paquet Double Eagles,” by Hodder, Ford, and Rubin. (PCGS# 569597)
(1859) $20 Liberty Double Eagle Obverse Die Trial, Judd-A1859-10, Pollock-3232, R.8, MS64 PCGS
Undated uniface obverse die trial or splasher of the obverse of the 1850 (undated) hub of the double eagle. The reverse is blank with paper backing. Struck with no collar, thus no edge, and made of white metal.
There are three pieces known of this rare splasher, the other two are in the Library Company of Philadelphia and are from a slightly different die with the stars further in from the dentils. The surfaces are bright and the strike details completely defined.
This is a unique striking and the only splasher of the Type One twenty available to collectors (the other two are #37 and #38 in the Library Company inventory).
Ex: Empire Coin Co. MBS #1 (11/1958), lot 103; Herbert M. Oechsner Collection (Stack’s, 9/1988), lot 246; Auction ’89 (Superior’s session, 7/1989), lot 943; Boyd E. Hayward Collection (Bowers and Merena, 9/1997), lot 1553; ANA Auction (Stack’s Bowers, 8/2014), lot 13293. (PCGS# 529428)