Our Long Beach Signature Auction of US Coins features an example of a 1874 half eagle struck in copper, graded Proof 64 Red and Brown by PCGS. This coin, cataloged as Judd-1371, is a regular dies trial striking in copper (from the regular proof dies) with reeded edge.
This pattern was most likely distributed to friends and associates of Mint officials.
It is estimated that only two or three examples exist. This coin was offered as part of the Harry W. Bass, Jr. Collection sale, previously purchased from Brinton T. Schorer. Another specimen, certified PR65 Red and Brown by NGC, was sold by Stack’s during the sale of The Samuel J. Berngard Collection in July, 2008 – that coin is now in a PCGS PR65 Red and Brown holder. Pollock lists a third example, sold as part of the King Farouk Collection in 1954, although the Sotheby’s catalog lists the coin as an eagle rather than a half eagle. Therefore, we cannot confirm the existence of a third specimen.
The surfaces of this coin gleam with iridescent shades of aquamarine, cherry-red, and peach-orange and the devices show a full strike throughout. A small mark below star 3, another below Liberty’s chin, and a die chip on Liberty’s cheek serve as identifying marks for later attribution purposes.