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

Posted on March 14, 2018 by

The Unique Six-Piece Set of gold “Amazonian” Pattern Coins

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One of the unique, Amazonian Gold Pattern Coins from the Dr. John E. Wilkison Collection

The six-piece set of 1872 gold Amazonian pattern coins was one of the highlights of the Dr. Wilkison Collection.  Indeed, it is one of America’s greatest numismatic treasures.  The name “Amazonian”, as it refers to the gold pattern coins, is a bit of a misnomer, as Liberty only appears as an Amazon warrior on the the 1872 Quarter Dollar (Judd 1195 to 1997), Half Dollar (Judd 1200 to Judd 1202), and Silver Dollar (Judd 1205 to Judd 1207) patterns.  However, the reverse design of these and the gold pattern coins was uniform, thus the “Amazonian” appellation has been extended to all of the coins in the set.

The existence of the Amazonian set was first published in the March 1886 issue of the Coin Collectors Journal, where R. Coulton Davis included them in his serial listing of the pattern coins known to him.  However, no fanfare accompanied the unique gold pattern coins, nor were they referred to as “Amazonians.”  Rather, they were simply listed according to Davis’ numbering scheme, with no mention of their unique nature.  The gold Dollar (known today as Judd 1224) was his No. 363; the gold Quarter Eagle (known today as Judd 1230) was No. 364; the gold $3 (known today as Judd 1235) was No. 365, the gold $5 (known today as Judd 1240) was No. 366; the gold $10 (known today as Judd 1245) was No. 367; and the gold $20 (known today as Judd 1250) was No. 368.  Apparently, Davis did not know that Amazonian pattern coins existed in aluminum, as he only listed copper and gold as the metals for each number.

According to Saul Teichman at www.uspatterns.com, the next owner of record was William H. Woodin, followed by H.O. Granberg, then mega-collector Waldo C. Newcomer.  These three owners kept the set intact, but after Newcomer the set was broken up.  The gold $1 went to F.C.C. Boyd and the other five coins went to Colonel E.H.R. Green, so we now have two tracks to follow.

The first track follows the gold $1 Amazonian from F.C.C. Boyd to Dr. J. Hewitt Judd, the author of the standard reference on pattern coins.  The gold Amazonian $1 became part of what Dr. Judd believed, mistakenly, to be a complete set of pattern gold Dollars; he did not know that the American Numismatic Society owned the unique 1858 Paquet gold $1.  Thus, when Dr. Wilkison inquired about the gold Amazonian $1 years later, Dr. Judd rebuffed him.

The second track follows the remaining Amazonian gold patterns from Col. Green to King Farouk of Egypt.  After Farouk’s forced abdication, Sotheby’s offered his extensive collection in 1954 as the “Palace Collection.”  By this time, Dr. Wilkison was a serious purchaser of gold pattern coins and the Farouk sale gave him the opportunity to flex his muscles.  Through his agent, Charles Green (no relation to Col. Green), Wilkison obtained eight gold pattern coins, including five of the Amazonian gold patterns.  After the sale, he purchased the 1876 transitional Double Eagle (Judd 1490) and the 1907 Indian Head Double Eagle (Judd 1905…formerly Judd 1776).

Having purchased the five Amazonian pattern coins from the Farouk sale, Dr. Wilkison attempted to join the two tracks and re-assemble the complete set.  He contacted Dr. Judd with an interesting offer.  According to David Akers, Dr. Wilkison felt so strongly that the coins should be together that he offered to either purchase the gold $1 from Dr. Judd or sell his five gold Amazonians to Dr. Judd, presumably at a reasonable price.  As mentioned previously, Dr. Judd refused to sell the gold $1 and, further, he passed on purchasing the five.  To fill the hole in his collection and pretend the Amazonian set was complete, Dr. Wilkison purchased a gilt copper Judd 1225.  However, the two tracks still remained separated.  With Dr. Judd refusing to sell and intending to leave his collection to his son, it seemed the two tracks would never come together.

However, “never” rarely means “never” in numismatics and, in a surprise move, Dr. Judd offered his collection of gold pattern coins through Abe Kosoff in 1962.  Of the 24 gold pattern coins in Dr. Judd’s collection, Dr. Wilkison only needed 21, so he worked out a trade with Kosoff of his collection of U.S. Proof gold coins from 1858 to 1899 for the pattern coins he needed.  The trade was approved and, finally, the two tracks rejoined and the Amazonian set of gold pattern coins was complete again.

The set has remained together ever since, passing through the hands of Paramount International Coin Corporation, A-Mark, Ed Trompeter, the collection of a “Southern Gentleman”, and finally the Bob Simpson Collection.  PCGS has had the distinct honor and privilege to grade and image the six Amazonian gold pattern coins, and they appear below in all their glory.

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1872 $1 Amazonian, Judd 1224, Gold, Reeded Edge
PCGS PR67+CAM
The linchpin to the complete set

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1872 $2.50 Amazonian, Judd 1230, Gold, Reeded Edge
PCGS PR67DCAM

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1872 $3 Amazonian, Judd 1235, Gold, Reeded Edge
PCGS PR67+DCAM

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 1872 $5 Amazonian, Judd 1240, Gold, Reeded Edge
PCGS PR66+CAM

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 1872 $10 Amazonian, Judd 1245, Gold, Reeded Edge
PCGS PR66+CAM

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 1872 $20 Amazonian, Judd 1250, Gold, Reeded Edge
PCGS PR65+CAM

Next installment: the 1873-1876 gold patterns from the Dr. Wilkison Collection.

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Comments (2)

 

  1. Ron:

    I am trying to get access to the Col Green appraisal to see if the set was broken up before col green acquired it or afterwards. On the Newman portal there invoices from B.G. Johnson offering the quarter eagle and three dollar to Boyd on 6/23/43 and the $20 on 1/4/44. I believe Col Green did own the whole set. The $5 and $10 are plated in the Col Green photo library. I do not remember if the $2.50 was.

    regards,
    Saul

  2. Ron Guth says:

    Hi Saul,

    Please let us know what you find. We appreciate all the great research you do.

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