Today, I received my Stack's 65th Anniversary Sale Catalog - October 17, 18, 19, 2000. I draw your attention to the paragraph on page 151, just below 'U. S. Pattern Coins:'.
"The following offering of U. S. Patterns contains a number of coins struck in metals of heretofore inconclusive composition. As has been the practice of modern specialists in this field, we have listed all possible
corresponding Judd numbers for each coin in question. Those successful bidders who wish to perform the appropriate metallurgical tests may at such time be able to further pinpoint the actual makeup."
I commend Stack's for this acknowledgment and would suggest that they add to this paragraph for future use the admonition that the possibility exists of finding coins that do not appropriately fit into the existing Judd numbering system. For example in my area of specialization, Postage Currency Coins, the reeded edge pure copper coin previously thought to be billon (J-326) contains no silver and, has no niche in Judd's system. Likewise the several varieties with previously unknown metal alloys such as aluminum alloyed with iron, or tin alloyed with lead, or tin alloyed with iron similarly have no niche in the Judd numbering system.
Stack's qualified Lot 1554: "Judd 149 or 150 or 151 (R-5).
Copper-Nickel or German Silver...Dr. Judd failed to distinguish the various Nickel alloys from German silver. Assigning Judd numbers for Patterns struck in these metals has always been an imprecise science."
Stack's qualified Lot 1555: "Judd 161 (R-4). Bronze....Judd's difficulties with Nickel were repeated with Copper versus Bronze alloys."
Stack's, in its disclosure not only protects itself from inaccurate attributions but, also warns the unsuspecting buyer to beware. Hopefully, other auction firms will follow the lead of Stack's. Hopefully, others will have metallurgical testing performed on their coins, and who knows, maybe discover some rarities.
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Numismatic Researcher, Cataloger and Author
"United States Pattern Postage Currency Coins"