Stack’s Bowers Galleries presents a rare bimetallic pattern dollar featuring Braille text in their November 2020 Showcase Auction.
Struck by the German company Schuler for exhibition at United States Congressional hearings and the United States Mint, this pattern was intended to demonstrate the implementation of Braille elements in response to concerns from the Alliance for the Blind. It has a copper-nickel outer ring with a brass insert at the center, and the Braille characters REV on one side of the copper-nickel ring to identify the reverse for the vision-impaired. Research by modern-dollar specialist Phillip Barnhart indicates that these were struck by Schuler in their Michigan offices in 1997 or 1998 and approximately 20 pieces were produced.
The final years of the 20th century represented an era of innovation at the U.S. Mint and its suppliers. The Susan B. Anthony dollar was the first of the small-size modern dollars but caused considerable controversy upon release in 1979 due to its similarity to the quarter in size, format, and color. As frustration with this coin continued to grow over the ensuing decades, Mint and Treasury officials announced plans for a new small-size dollar coin with a plain edge and golden color. Considerable experimentation took place in the years leading up to the new millennium, including various combinations of metallic composition, format, and design that would ultimately result in the Sacagawea dollar that was released for circulation in 2000.
Of the patterns or prototypes from this era, the Martha Washington pieces are the most frequently encountered. This Bimetallic Braille specimen is one of only two examples of the issue to be offered publicly. Stack’s Bowers Galleries sold the only other example, graded MS-60 (Uncertified), in their February 2015 sale. This new specimen, the sole piece to be certified by either PCGS or NGC, has been graded MS-64 by PCGS. It is likely the finest specimen available on the market and will be a significant prize for advanced collectors of U.S. patterns or modern dollar coins.
This MS-64 (PCGS) Bimetallic pattern dollar will be offered in the Stack’s Bowers Galleries November 2020 Showcase Auction, appearing alongside rarities from the Larry H. Miller Collection, the E Pluribus Unum Collection, the Larry Ness Collection, the Monterrey Collection, the Abigail Collection, and many other significant cabinets. The sale will be available for viewing and bidding on the firm’s website www.StacksBowers.com or you can contact their offices to secure your copy of the printed catalogs at [email protected] and 800-566-2580.