Archive for November, 2017

REVISITING THE DR. JOHN E. WILKISON COLLECTION OF GOLD U.S. PATTERNS

Posted on November 21, 2017 by No Comments

In September 1973, Paramount International Coin Corporation (under the auspices of the noted gold coin expert, David Akers) purchased the collection of Dr. John E. Wilkison of Springfield, Tennessee. The collection consisted of 47 gold U.S. Pattern coins, 35 of which were different, and eight pieces that were unique. Dr. Wilkison built his collection over the period from 1942 to 1973, purchasing coins from the likes of dealers Charlie Green (who represented Dr. Wilkison at the 1954 sale of the King Farouk collection) and Abe Kosoff (who provided several major rarities and helped broker a mega-trade with the pattern specialist and author, Dr. J. Hewitt Judd). Dr. Wilkison’s collecting accomplishments surpassed those of any previous collector of gold U.S. Pattern coins (the King Farouk collection was the only one that was close and it had fewer different pieces and fewer total pieces).

In 1975, Akers published a book titled, “United State Gold Patterns: A Photographic Study of the Gold Patterns Struck at the United States Mint from 1836 to 1907.” Leaning heavily on the Wilkison collection and borrowing images from other collections and institutions, Akers was able to illustrate 46 of the 51 gold pattern coins. For the missing five pieces, Akers used copper versions of the same Judd numbers as illustrations.

In subsequent years, the Wilkison collection was broken up and sold off. Most have ended up in strong hands, which means they will not be entering the market any time soon. This, then, is the first of a series of articles that will seek to track down the coins from the Wilkison collection and update pedigree chains and grades, where known. Have the coins scattered to the winds or is there another collector who is trying to surpass Dr. Wilkison’s accomplishment? Stay tuned.

Here’s a teaser:

Judd 67

1836 $1 Judd 67, Pollock 70, Gold, Plain Edge

PCGS PR65

Judd 67 is one of the most “common” of all U.S. gold patterns, thanks to restriking in subsequent years. Dr. Wilkison had three Judd 67’s, but only two seem to have entered the auction market that can be identified as being from his collection. The last appearance of one piece was in 2002 when it sold as a PCGS PR64 in Superior’s ANA action. That piece is distinctive because it was struck over a Gold Dollar, with enough undertype remaining to identify it as an 1859, thus proving that at least some Judd 67’s were struck (or restruck) at a later date. The example illustrated is the plate coin from Akers’ Pattern book.   If it is ex-Wilkison, then the pedigree is:

Dr. John E. Wilkison Collection, whose collection was sold intact in 9/1973 – Paramount International Coin Corporation, sold privately on 4/9/1976 (as part of the intact Wilkison Collection) – A-Mark – Holman Family Collection – Heritage 11/2003:11001, $17,250 – Heritage 6/2004:6413, $17,250 – Heritage 8/2016:4421, $19,975

If anyone knows of the whereabouts of the third Judd 67 from the Wilkison collection, please let me know in the comments below or email me at [email protected], and I will update this entry.

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