Pattern 1869 Gold Dollar to be Offered in Spring 2023 Expo Auction

Stack’s Bowers Galleries is excited to offer a Judd-766 pattern gold dollar in our 2023 Official Auction of the Whitman Coin & Collectibles Spring Expo. A distinctive copper impression, this pattern is believed to have been produced for collectors. Dated 1869, the pattern is the finest known of its type and has striking eye appeal.

At the midpoint of its life, the gold dollar had well and truly outlived its usefulness. It was introduced in 1849 to monetize gold flowing eastward from California and provide circulating media of exchange at a time when coins were increasingly scarce in circulation. The denomination was produced for circulation in large quantities (hundreds of thousands to more than a million) into the early 1860s. After the Civil War, however, coins were slow to reappear in circulation and by the time they did, longstanding questions about the gold dollar’s usefulness were raised. Its small size and the availability of silver coinage beginning in the late 1870s made the gold dollar a redundancy, one the Mint was keen to eliminate. Through the mid-to-late 19th century, Mint directors advocated against its continued production, which ended in 1889.

Considering its unpopularity, it might surprise some that patterns were being produced as late as 1869. Pattern production often continued well into the life of many series, and the U.S. Mint sometimes produced patterns to test dies, design modifications, or new alloys. Some patterns were produced for collectors; we have the pleasure of offering one such pattern in our Spring 2023 Expo Auction.

Listed as Judd-766, the pattern was struck in copper ostensibly as a die test, using the same design that appeared on gold dollars of the time. Pattern experts think that this might have been produced for collectors, though it is often referred to as a die trial.

PCGS graded this pattern SP-65+ BN, the finer of two J-766 patterns reported in the service’s Population Report. It spent time in the holdings of major U.S. pattern collector Bob Simpson and its holder reflects this pedigree. At its most recent auction outing, in a GreatCollections sale in May 2022, the pattern realized $8,277; it sold for $12,600 in a Heritage sale last year. PCGS’ Price Guide has an estimate of $24,000. Our $15,000 estimate seems reasonable considering these prices realized and price guide values.

Our cataloger describes the coin’s attractive surfaces and rich coloration: “Rich olive-copper patina with intermingled powder blue highlights discernible to the persistent viewer. The surfaces exhibit a soft satin finish with semi-reflective qualities evident in the fields upon closer inspection. Fully struck, as befits the method of manufacture, and expertly preserved.” Interested collectors might consult the most recent edition of the Judd book or’s page on the issue:

Join our mailing list

Don't miss an auction!

Subscribe to our newsletter.


Contact Us

West Coast Office • (800) 458-4646

Midwest Office • (800) 817-2646

East Coast Office • (800) 566-2580

[email protected]

Hong Kong, China Office • +852 2117 1191

[email protected]

Follow Us

Subscribe to
Our Newsletter

We are sorry, an unexpected error occurred!
Please enter a valid email address

I'm Interested In...

Thank You!

Thank you for subscribing to the Stack's Bowers Galleries e-newsletter.