Click to enlargeJ1550A/P1725

George Morgan's prototype dollar using the image of Anna Williams. They all show three leaves on the reverse in the eagle's talon as copied from the 1877 half dollar J1509/P1663.

Research of mint archives by Roger Burdette shows than at least 50 pieces of J1550A and J1550 were struck between December 1, 1877 & January 2, 1878. They comprise 4 obverse and either 2 or 3 reverse dies to produce 4 varieties of this type as follows:

The first prototypes have rounded "fanshaped" wing attachments to the eagle's torso as on J1509/P1663.

J1550A-J1550B/P1723-P1724 in silver and copper. On this, the tip of Liberty's neck is centered between star one and the "1" in the date and the wheat ear points past the left edge of in the "R" in "Pluribus" About a half dozen are known in both silver and copper.

J1550A-J1550B/P1725-P1726 in silver and copper. This is the illustrated example and is believed to be the first of the 4 designs listed. It has the tip of Liberty's neck closer to star one and the wheat ear points to the left edge of the the "R" in "Pluribus". Morgan's initial "M" is raised on Liberty's neck instead of incuse.

This appears to be the most common variety with over a half dozen confirmed in silver and about a half dozen known in copper.

Photo courtesy of RARCOA.

These next die varieties have the so-called "notched" wing reverse design as does the regular issue and could be considered the second prototype.

J1550-J1551/P1727-P1728 in silver and copper. On this obverse, the wheat ear is distant from the "R" in "Pluribus" and the third leaf virtually touches the "I" as on the illustration below. Fewer than a half dozen are known in either metal.

Photo courtesy of Michael S. Fey, Ph.D.

J1550/P1727A in silver. This is not in Pollock and was recently the subject of an article in the February 17th edition of Coin World.

According to Michael S. Fey, PhD., whose example is the one illustrated below, "It has a polished down wheat leaf below the R, polished L in LIBERTY on the head band, polished bottoms to several letters in PLURIBUS and UNUM, and doubled cotton blossoms and leaves."

Two other examples, the Bowers and Merena's 5/93 sale lot 2422 and Bowers and Merena's 11/95 lot 2308 await confirmation as to whether or not they are from the same dies as the illustrated piece or are from yet another obverse die. We have called these J1550-J1551/P1728A-P1728B in the pattern concordance.

Photo courtesy of Michael S. Fey, Ph.D.

Reverse photos courtesy of Bowers and Merena.