The Wilkison-Trompeter-Morse example of the St Gaudens Ultra High Relief. This is considered by many to be the most beautiful coin ever struck by this country. This used to be J1778 in earlier editions. Photo courtesy of Heritage.
It was the first individual pattern coin to sell for over $1,000,000 at auction.
At least 19 are known in the following 4 formats:
J1907/P2001 with the edge lettered E*P*L*U*R*I*B*U*S*U*N*U*M* as used on the unique 1906 double eagle J1773/P1992 and illustrated below courtesy of Stacks.
As you can see from the image, the edge reads with the obverse face up. 3 examples are believed to have been struck of which only 2 examples, both apparently carried around as pocket pieces, are currently accounted for:
1) ex Sotheby's 12/92, Stacks 3/05, Southern collection, Stacks 7/08, Stacks 11/09, Heritage 8/12 as NGCAU58, Bonhams 12/14 - PCGSAU58.
2) ex Sotheby's 6/95.
J1908/P2000 with plain edge with only the ex Captain North set piece known. The reverse die broke at 8:30 - as shown below in Stacks Captain North Sales Brochure - which stopped the creation of these pieces for a brief time. Research by Roger Burdette in the Mint Archives has noted that, at the time the reverse die cracked, 3 complete gold, 1 complete lead and at least 3 partially struck pieces in addition to this virtually complete piece had been struck. This specific piece is actually a mint error as opposed to being a deliberate pattern. The ultra high relief required 7 strikings from the die to bring up the detail. The early strikings for each piece were done using a plain edge collar. The lettered edge collar was only employed on the very last striking. This example never received that last striking with the lettered edge collar probably due to the reverse die breaking. Electrotypes showing the increased detail after each striking are in the American Numismatic Society and can be seen in later editions of Judd through the 7th edition.
J1909/P2002 with edge lettered E*PLURIBUS*UNUM*********** which reads with the reverse up. About a dozen are believed known including those as follows:
1-3) Smithsonian, one from the Lilly collection.
4) Fecht, ANS
5) Mitchelson, CSL
6) Elder 11/1920, J. H. Clapp, Eliasberg, Bass-HWBRF - PCGS69
7) Norweb, Bowers & Merena 1/1997, Dwight Manley, Ira & Larry Goldberg Coins & Collectibles 5/1999, Lot 885, Ira & Larry Goldberg Coins & Collectibles 2/2003, Lot 2178 as PCGS68, Heritage 2/21 - NGC68
8) 56 ANA, Wilkison, Auction 80, Trompeter, Morse-Heritage 11/05, StacksBowers 6/12, StacksBowers 5/15, Hansen - PCGS69
9) Yale University, Empire Coin. Kreisberg/Schulman 2/1961, Lot 1417, Stack’s 10/1985, Lot 822
10) Stack’s auction, June 1979, Lot 781
11) Ullmer-Stack's, May 1974, Lot 546
12) Hein family, Heritage 1/07, Simpson, private collection Dec 21 via Ian Russell - PCGS68
13) Browning-Sotheby’s/Stack’s 10/2001 Lot 50 same as #11 ?
The first 12 listed are different examples.
There are pedigrees for other pieces which have not been plate matched including Bell-Stack’s 12/1944 and Kern-Mehl 5/1950.
J1909/P2003 with edge lettered as above, E*PLURIBUS*UNUM***********, but this one reads with the obverse up - the so-called inverted edge. Research by Roger Burdette (page 252 in his book) has determined that 4 pieces were requested by director Leach and were struck by Barber on December 31, 1907. The 4 pieces listed below are either among the first ones struck or were those struck per this request. As those struck with the 1906 edge read with the obverse up, we suspect that these were actually the first ones struck.
1) Farouk, Kosoff, Bowers and Merena 11/85
2) Captain North set, NERCA 11/80, Superior Auction 85.
3) Bloomfield, Sotheby's 12/96, Southern collection - PCGS68
4) Saint-Gaudens family piece, 1910 and 1914 ANS exhibits, Homer Saint-Gaudens, private collections, Heritage 1/15 FUN, Tyrant collection with ASG etched on the edge, for identification purposes, as shown below courtesy of Heritage - NGC68/PCGS68
For additional information on these pieces, click here.
Note: Charles Barber owned 8 of these pieces. To learn more, click here and the Col Green collection had 4 according to F.C.C. Boyd's appraisal sold in a 2012 Kolbe-Fanning book auction.
J1910/P2004 struck in lead. Only a single example is known. This used to be J1778A in earlier editions.
J1917/P2007 looks the same but is eagle sized and struck on a double thick planchet with edge lettered E*P*L*U*R*I*B*U*S*U*N*U*M* as shown in the image below. This used to be J1779 in earlier editions. Research by Roger Burdette has found that 15 pieces were originally struck. 13 were later melted and the other 2 were retained for the Mint collection and are now in the Smithsonian.
Photo courtesy of the National Numismatic Collection of the Smithsonian Institution.