The reason for experimentation with gold dollars and the ring dollar specifically, (Judd-136 to Judd-148) was to provide a larger, more convenient diameter for the coins. Gold dollars were small and easily lost, and in the early 1850s they represented a substantial amount of money for the average worker. Convenience lost out, however, to a more practical solution: The amount of silver was reduced in most subsidiary coinage in 1853, which returned the silver denominations to the channels of commerce rather than going to the melting pot. And the gold dollar diameter was increased in 1854, via the Type Two format.
Judd-145 is an annular ring dollar (ring-shaped) pattern with a wide opening that restricts the legends to the date, denomination, and country name, struck in gold with a plain edge. The lower half of the ring dollar reverse displays a wreath. Both thick and thin planchet variants are known of this pattern. The thicker variant weighs around 32 grains, and examples are believed to be original strikings. The restrikes weigh around 25 grains and are struck on thinner planchets.
It is tempting to call the example we are offering in our upcoming March 27-29 Dallas auction flawless. We can find no technical flaws on either side, and obviously NGC thought the same, having certified it as Proof-68 Cameo. The fields are heavily striated and give each side deep reflectivity. By way of contrast, the devices are heavily frosted, which gives the piece a cameo effect. For pedigree identification — which is important on a gold pattern in such a high grade — there is a small lint mark near the reverse rim, to the right of the R in DOLLAR.
No one will probably ever duplicate the collection of gold patterns assembled by Dr. Wilkison, but the ambitious collector today could assemble a set of gold dollar patterns. This piece would be the cornerstone of such a collection.