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Exploring the Rarity and Elegance of the Amazonian 1872 Pattern $20 Coin by William Barber

In the realm of numismatics, the Amazonian 1872 pattern $20 coin designed by William Barber stands as a testament to both artistic prowess and historical significance. With its captivating portrayal of Liberty and its intriguing variations, this coin has captivated the interest of collectors and enthusiasts alike. Join us as we delve into the depths of its history, rarity, and recent auction success.
Unveiling the Design:
William Barber's Amazonian design remains among the most renowned in the pattern series. The coin presents Liberty in various forms, ranging from a full seated figure to a striking bust depiction. Notably, the Judd-1252 1872 $20 double eagle, graded Proof 67 Cameo by PCGS, showcased by Heritage on Jan. 11, exemplifies the latter variant, featuring the bust of Liberty in exquisite detail.
A Glimpse into Rarity:
Barber's creative endeavors in 1872 extended to patterns for all six gold denominations, each adorned with Liberty wearing a Phrygian cap. Today, the scarcity of these patterns adds to their allure, with only one known set in gold. Among these, the $20 denomination stands out, with just two pieces confirmed in aluminum and a scant dozen in copper.
Historical Insights:
The journey of aluminum in coinage is a fascinating tale intertwined with technological advancements. Heritage enlightens us, noting that the widespread use of aluminum only burgeoned after the discovery of the electrolytic method in 1886, rendering the metal more accessible and affordable. This revelation adds a layer of historical context to the significance of early aluminum patterns, which often exhibit laminations and planchet imperfections.
Auction Triumphs:
The recent auction of the Judd-1252 1872 $20 double eagle from the Cape Coral Collection epitomizes the enduring appeal and value of these numismatic treasures. Despite its imperfections, including a shallow diagonal lamination above the hair bun, this exceptional coin commanded a remarkable price of $132,000. This achievement marks a notable improvement from its previous sale at Heritage's September 2020 offering of the Simpson Collection, where it fetched $114,000.
The Amazonian 1872 pattern $20 coin by William Barber stands as a testament to the intersection of artistry, history, and rarity in the world of numismatics. From its evocative design variations to its journey through the annals of coinage history, this coin continues to captivate and inspire collectors worldwide. As we marvel at its elegance and significance, we are reminded of the enduring allure of numismatic treasures and the stories they tell.