Estimated grade. MORGAN LARGE HEAD SWOOPED HAIR IN BUN OBVERSE/SPREAD WINGS NO MOTTO EAGLE REVERSE.
David Akers (1975/88): Description: Obverse. Large head of Liberty facing left with her hair combed back and tied tightly behind her head A large curl of hair falls from the knot down the back of the neck. A ribbon runs diagonally across Liberty's hair and a band with LIBERTY incused runs from the forehead to the ribbon. E PLURIBUS UNUM surrounds the head and the date, 1878, is below the bust. Reverse. Large eagle with raised wings holding three arrows in its left talon and an olive branch in its right. Surrounding the eagle is UNITED STATES OF AMERICA and below the eagle is the denomination, 2 1/2 DOLLARS.
Comments: The "anti-counterfeiting" method of Dr. J. T. Barclay that was first utilized in the pattern half eagle of 1860 was again tried with this pattern as well as with the two pattern half eagles that follow, J-1570 and J-1572. The basic idea was to make gold coins thinner so that the principal and most dangerous method of counterfeiting, removing the inner gold core and replacing it with platinum, would be so difficult as to not warrant the effort. As was the case in 1860, the idea was dropped after just a few experiments.
This pattern was unknown to Adams and Woodin at the time of publishing their book in 1913, although they were familiar with the copper trial piece. They did become aware of it at a later date, however, and in fact, Adams subsequently reported that he knew of two specimens.
One of these was obtained by Dr. Wilkison when he acquired the Judd gold pattern pieces in 1962. Judd had obtained it from the F.C.C. Boyd collection, and Boyd in turn had acquired the piece from Waldo Newcomer...
The second specimen appeared in the Farouk sale in 1954 and sold for 195 Egyptian Pounds or approximately $559.65. I am unaware of its present location.