Coins Certified as of 1/22

My Coin #-15461

1874 $10 J-1373 PR64

PCGS#: 61677

Owner's Comments

PCGS grade. BICKFORD INTERNATIONAL. Dr. Wilkison owned two examples of this pattern

Expert Comments

Ron Guth:


Louden Snowden via William, H. Woodin? W.W.C. Wilson Sold through F.C.C. Boyd to the following in 1919 for $2,000 Virgil Brand (journal #90921) Abe Kosoff, who sold the coin in the 1940’s for $8,000 to the following Dr. John Wilkison Paramount, which purchased the Wilkison collection intact in 1973 A-Mark Paramount (repurchased from A-Mark in 1978) Paramount’s section of Auction 79, Lot 184, unsold Julian Leidman Bowers & Ruddy 1981 ANA sale, Lot 2433, $90,000 Ed Trompeter Superior 2/1991, Lot137, $198,000 1992 graded PCGS PR64 (#03197954) Superior 7/1993, 695, $154,000 Bob Cohen 1994 to Harlan White Holecek Family Trust Stack’s 65th Anniversary sale 10/2000, Lot 1621, $201,250 Southern collection Simpson collection

This pedigree is a blending of descriptions from the following:
Superior 2/1991, Lot 137
Stack’s 65th Anniversary sale 10/2000, Lot 1621
Stack’s 68th Anniversary Sale 10/2003, Lot 1118
Heritage 1/2010
Pollock III, A.W. (1994). United states patterns and related issues, p. 270-271. Bowers and Merena
        Galleries, Inc.:Wolfeboro, NH

David Akers (1975/88):

Description: Obverse. Head of Liberty facing left wearing a coronet with LIBERTY inscribed below six stars. The hair is short and wavy and tied lightly behind the head. Across the slender neck is an olive branch with a ribbon attached. UNITED STATES OF AMERICA surrounds the head; the date, 1874, is below the bust. Reverse. A continuous rope divides the reverse into six compartments near the border. The top compartment reads DOLLARS 10 and clockwise the other compartments read STERLING £2·1·1, MARKEN 41·99, KRONEN 37·31, GULDEN 20·73, and FRANCS 51·81. In the center is 16.72 GRAMS 900 FINE UBIQUE (Everywhere) in four lines.

Comments: In 1867, a monetary convention was held in Paris to establish an international gold coin of fixed, interchangeable value. As a result of this convention, the U.S. Mint struck a pattern half eagle in copper and aluminum dated 1868 whose denomination read 5 DOLLARS 25 FRANCS. No other monetary units were utilized in the design by Paquet because the convention had agreed to make the French franc the basis of value. This necessitated lowering the value of both the U.S. five dollar gold piece and the English sovereign. (The British delegate, by the way, opposed the idea and wanted the U.S. gold dollar to be the standard.) This lowering of value required reducing the weight of the half eagle from 129 grains to 124.9 grains so that it would conform exactly to 25 FRANCS. Other gold coins would have been changed accordingly as well. The bill introduced in Congress to effect this change was defeated and the matter was dropped, only to be revived again in 1874.

When Dana Bickford of New York City travelled to Europe he had difficulty in exchanging the money of one country for another. Upon his return home, he suggested several designs to Director of the Mint Henry R. Linderman and the 1874 pattern eagle was the result. Congress, however, again failed to approve the idea. (The concept of an international gold coin was still not dead. See the comments on the stellas of 1879 and 1880.)

The Bickford eagle was known only in copper to R.C. Davis and a 1906 article in the Numismatist again referred to the design, but the author also only knew of its existence in copper. The two known gold pieces probably came to light a few years later, either as part of the Idler collection that Idler's son-in-law Capt. John Haseltine sold, or as part of the large group of patterns that William Wooding obtained from A.L. Snowden as payment for returning two 1877 half unions to the Mint Collection.
The Adams and Woodin reference, published in 1913, listed the two known specimens as being in the possession of W.W.C. Wilson of Montreal and William H. Woodin. F.C.C. Boyd, in his personal copy of the Adams and Woodin book, crossed out those two names and wrote in "Brand" (Virgil) and "F.C.C.B." (Boyd) respectively.

Both specimens of this pattern (which has the diameter of a double eagle but is substantially thinner), are now owned by Paramount International Coin Corporation. Paramount purchased them from Dr. J.E. Wilkison in 1973. Wilkison obtained the first of his two pieces from Abe Kosoff in the 1940's for $8000.00. The second he acquired from the Judd collection when it was sold in 1962. The 1874 Bickford eagle has never been offered for sale at auction and the few times it has changed hands has been by private treaty only.

Diameter: 34.00 millimeters Designer: Dana Bickford & William Barber Edge: Reeded
Mintage: 2 Weight: 16.72 grams Metal Content: 90% Gold, 10% Copper

Condition Census

Pos Grade Thumbnail Pedigree and History
1 PR64 PCGS grade  

Louden Snowden (via William, H. Woodin?) - W.W.C. Wilson - sold through F.C.C. Boyd to VirgilBrand in 1919 for $2,000 - Virgil Brand (journal #90921) - Abe Kosoff, who sold the coin in the 1940’s for $8,000 to Dr. John Wilkison – Paramount (which purchased the Wilkison collection intact in 1973) - A-Mark - Paramount (repurchased from A-Mark in 1978) – Paramount “Auction ‘79” 1979:184, unsold - Julian Leidman - Bowers & Ruddy 1981: 2433, $90,000 - Ed Trompeter - Superior 2/1992:137, $198,000 - graded PCGS PR64 03197954 in 1992 - Superior 7/1993, 695, $154,000 - Bob Cohen - 1994 to Harlan White - Holecek Family Trust - Stack’s 10/2000:1621, $201,250 - Southern collection - Simpson collection