One of the many fascinating patterns to be found in the current Heritage Auction of Important Selections from The Bob R. Simpson Collection, Part II is an 1879 silver dollar featuring a portrait of Liberty known as the Schoolgirl design.
This is undoubtedly one of the most beautifully designed of all patterns as well as adopted U.S. coinage. USPatterns.com lists 15 pedigreed examples; this is the #4 piece. Three pieces are housed in museums and the website notes that many of the known examples have been cleaned. The website also notes this particular example was the first to be sold in a transaction from W. Elliott Woodward to T. Harrison Garrett.
The “Schoolgirl” dollar features George T. Morgan’s celebrated design. A bust of Liberty faces left, and her hair is combed back and is tied with a ribbon. She wears a hairband inscribed LIBERTY, which is placed much higher than on most other Liberty head designs. A string of pearls is around her neck. E PLURIBUS UNUM and the date are separated by 13 stars, similar to the Morgan dollar obverse border although E PLURIBUS is higher on this pattern. The reverse features a defiant eagle standing with raised wings on a wide scroll inscribed IN GOD WE TRUST. The conventional heraldic olive branch and arrows are on opposite sides of the scroll. UNITED STATES OF AMERICA and ONE DOLLAR are arranged along the border much like on the regular issue Morgan dollar. Struck in silver with a reeded edge.
Each side of this PCGS-graded Proof-65+ Gem presents the viewer with a different look. The obverse shows spotted multicolored toning with deeper shades of rose and blue around the margin. The reverse is mostly cobalt-blue with brighter yellow-rose around the periphery and a bit of reddish patina in the center. The piece is well struck overall, except for several of the eagle’s breast feathers.
This coin is offered as part of the November 19-22 Signature Auction of US coins, with the Bob R. Simpson coins offered in their own session on November 19 at 6 PM CT. Bidding for all the lots in this auction is open now at Coins.HA.com.