The Bickford eagle. This is one of the proposals for an international coinage. Another example of this idea is the 1868 half eagle patterns J656-J659/P729-P732. For additional information on this and other patterns for international coinage, click here.
These were struck on thin planchets which are the diameter of double eagles.
Examples of this design were struck in the following combinations.
J1373/P1518 in gold with reeded edge. Only two are known as follows:
1) Woodin, Newcomer, Boyd, Judd, Wilkison, Auction 85, Rothchild-Stacks 10/03, Heritage 1/10 - PCGS65
2) W.W.C. Wilson, Brand (journal #90921), Kosoff, Wilkison, Auction 79, 81 ANA, Trompeter-Superior 2/92, Superior 7/93, Stacks 10/00, southern collection, Simpson collection - PCGS64
Note: Modern gold copies of this exist which normally say copy on Liberty's neck. These should not be confused with the genuine pieces.
J1374/P1519 in copper with reeded edge with over a dozen are known. They are difficult to find with much original red. Many have been gilted.
J1375/P1520 in copper with plain edge with about a dozen known. These are difficult to find with much original red. Many have been gilted.
J1376/P1521 in aluminum with reeded edge. Only two are known as follows:
1) Gschwend, Brand (journal #44168), Boyd (see 7/16/41 B.G. Johnson invoice), Boosel-Rarcoa 4/72, Bass-Harry W. Bass Jr. Research Foundation - illustrated above.
2) Stickney, Elder 11/37 (A Chicago collector), 58 ANA, Pittman-Akers 11/97 at $30,800, southern collection, Simpson collection – lamination in lower left obverse, illustrated below courtesy of David Akers and Tom Mulvaney.
The Chicago collector only collected from 1905-9 according to Elder. Other listings - Newcomer (a likely 3rd), Kosoff’s 11/55 sale.
J1377/P1522 in nickel with reeded edge. The two or three known usually show an obverse die crack at 5:30.
J1378/P1523 in nickel with plain edge. Only two are known, both ex Woodin 1914 ANS exhibit. One of these is broadstruck and is ex Col Green, Kreisberg-Schulman 2/60 and is now in the Harry W. Bass Jr. Research Foundation. It may really be a mint error of a J1377/P1522.
Photo courtesy of the Harry W. Bass Jr. Research Foundation.
The additional information below is from Stack's October 2000 sale and is reprinted with the permission of Harvey Stack.
FURTHER HISTORICAL NOTES REGARDING THE EXTRAORDINARY 1874 GOLD BICKFORD PATTERN $10.00
Dana Bickford's coinage proposal received some attention in the press at the time. For example, the Kansas City, Missouri 'The Coin & Stamp Journal' featured an article in the February, 1876 issue entitled "Dana Bickford's International Coin," parts of which read as follows:
"The leading journals throughout this country and Europe are discussing the necessity for an 'international coin,' having been roused to its importance by a resolution offered the Senate by Senator Sherman. But Mr. Sherman's plan will meet with the same difficulty that our government has contended with for years, viz., to obtain a coin having a relation of value to the present coins of other nations, without having their denominational value and design changed. This difficulty has been overcome, and to Mr. Dana Bickford, of New York City, the original inventor of the automatic knitting machines, belongs the honor.
Mr. Bickford, while traveling in Europe, experienced the difficulties and inconveniences that European travelers are subjected to, of having to provide money current in each country he visited, and at times ignorant of its value in our money. Having upon one occasion been particularly annoyed, he determined, if possible, to overcome the difficulty, and being a man of great inventive capacity, was not long arriving at his present plan, and designed a coin that shows on its face its value in our money and that of the principal commercial nations of the world.
The United States and foreign governments have endeavored for years, and spent thousands of dollars, to perfect a system of ‘international coinage’, but have been unable to get a coin that would prove acceptable to the principal nations, as each one has a peculiar design for its coin, which it is unwilling to change entirely. With Mr. Bickford's coin this difficulty is removed, as each government can fully display its design and value on one side, and on the other show the value of the coin in the currencies of the different nations, also the fineness of the metal the number of grammes without altering their values, and but slightly changing designs.
Shortly after Mr. Bickford returned from Europe he called on Dr. Henry R. Linderman, the director of the mint, and submitted to him his design for an international coin. After carefully examining it the director was so impressed with its importance, and the great saving the adoption of such a coin would be to our government, that with his usual foresight and penetration he at once ordered sample coins struck off at the Philadelphia mint, which proved entirely satisfactory and practical. It is not generally known that the annual expense to our government for recoinage and waste on coin entering this country from abroad is half a million dollars, and the same waste and expense is incurred by foreign governments."
Even though Dana Bickford's pattern proposal for his 1874 international $10.00 coin in gold was not adopted, he seems never to have given up his idea for an international coinage. In 1897 Bickford produced a series of eight So-Called Dollars, bi-metallic in nature, which are today eagerly competed for and are quite rare. On one (HK-833, the most popular) is inscribed the following, which sums up Bickford intent and applies in essence to his 1874 pattern, as well: "This Combination of Coin Will When Adopted be Good in All Nations Heal All Differences Between Gold & Silver Men and Fully Settle All Financial Questions. Approved by All Good Business Men." Like his earlier 1874 pattern, the 1897 coin's reverse showed its value in many different foreign currencies.