Come Sail Away - The “Sailor Head” Patterns of 1875
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I decided to put together a quick essay of sorts on these patterns that I find amazing to me. I tried my best to find research to support my conclusions, but I am sure those who know more about patterns than me will likely (almost certainly) disagree with me at some point in this paper, and I hope they would comment so I can fix those mistakes. The well of knowledge to be gleaned on this seems to be running dry or it was never full to begin with, so I tried to do the best I could with the sources I could find. Anyways, enjoy, pics at the bottom from CoinFacts!

The “Sailor Head” patterns of 1875 are some of the most artistically beautiful and stunning patterns available to collectors today. Listed in the 10th Edition of United States Pattern Coins as J-1392-1395, J-1438-1440a, and J-1443-1445a, these coins were produced in the denominations of twenty cents, five dollars or a half eagle, and ten dollars or an eagle. Produced by William Barber in a year when there were no mentions of redesigning the half eagle denomination, a few mysteries result from the existence of these patterns - why were they produced, why were they not adopted, and why were they liked so much by mint staff and today’s collectors?

Design:
Produced throughout 1875, all of these patterns feature an obverse motif of Liberty facing left, with a coronet on her head inscribed “LIBERTY”, with her hair tied back in a ribbon. The highest point of the coronet has an ornamental burst of rays. Drapery surrounds the base of the bust, slanting downwards and to the left. The shape of this drapery is similar to a collar worn on a sailor's uniform, thus the nickname of “Sailor Head”. Liberty’s chin faces slightly upwards as she gazes forward confidently to the horizon. Thirteen stars encircle the obverse portrait, with the date “1875” below. There is a slight difference in the arrangement of the stars on the gold denominations, with the five and ten-dollar coins having the stars shifted slightly clockwise, and the rightmost star being lower than the leftmost. On the twenty-cent piece, the left and rightmost stars are even.

Only the reverse of the twenty-cent piece features a spade type shield divided nearly in half. The upper half of the shield bears thin stripes running east and west, while the lower half of the shield shows alternating thin stripes and solid bars, while running north and south. Above the shield is a burst of 23 rays, grouped into three distinct groups, two groups on either side of a vertical group. Below the shield are six olive leaves on each side, surrounding the base of the shield. Two crossed arrows show below the olive leaves. The denomination “20” shows in the center of the shield, with the word “CENTS” directly below near the denticles and rim. “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” completes the reverse, circling the rim.

The reverse of the five and ten-dollar pieces show a reverse motif similar to the Trade dollar and twenty-cent piece designs that were adopted in 1875. It bears an eagle perched atop three arrows, crossed, arrowheads facing left, and an olive branch facing right bearing six leaves. The eagle gazes right, its wings outstretched in a guard position, prepared to defend against threats. Below the eagle is a ribbon upon which “IN GOD WE TRUST” is inscribed. “E PLURIBUS UNUM” is above the eagle in plain text. “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” is pushed near to the rim, forming a ring around the upper half of the reverse, while “TEN DOLLARS” is similarly placed near to the rim, but only forming a curve below the eagle.

Analysis:
To begin, the production reasoning of these coins is likely to sell to collectors (five and ten-dollar pieces) or for the purposes of internal mint review (twenty-cent pieces). The twenty cent pieces seem to have been struck for a different reason than for sale - internal mint review for possible adoption. The twenty-cent denomination was adopted in 1875, so it would be very likely that William Barber took the time to prepare a set of dies and design a model for the coin with the hope of having it appear on circulating coinage. It would also appear that the twenty-cent pieces were first struck, and when Barber was denied the usage of it on circulating coinage, the mint quickly switched to making extra patterns to sell to collectors as was common practice. The lack of any reason to change the five or ten-dollar denominations in the year 1875 would point to this likelihood, as the only logical reason for the existence of these patterns is for the mint to sell them to those who collected patterns or to adopt the designs, which again doesn't quite make sense in that application. The appearance of so many different metal types also aids this determination, as patterns for internal review had very little reason to have so many different metal types and they rarely do, particularly in the amount of four different metal types. While the twenty-cent pieces do have the same amount of metal types, it is likely out of Barber’s desperation that he tried with so many metals to get his design to strike up - to be mentioned later. It is of note that the reverse design of the five and ten-dollar patterns is reminiscent of the adopted 20 cent design and the Trade dollar of 1875, but more so the Trade dollar. The lower "IN GOD WE TRUST" ribbon is substituted on the Trade dollar for lettering reading "420 GRAINS, 900 FINE.", the denomination switched out, and a ribbon added to "E PLURIBUS UNUM". Other than these alterations, the design remains unchanged. The twenty-cent piece had two stars added, the eagle lowered, and "E PLURIBUS UNUM" removed from the same five and ten-dollar design.

Since it would appear that only the twenty-cent denomination of these patterns would have been intended as a pattern for mint review, the five and ten-dollar patterns were never intended to be adopted. However, it would have been possible, even likely, that the twenty-cent pieces were to be adopted for use on circulating coinage, and therefore it must have been rejected for some reason. There are a few reasons why patterns were not adopted, and an often quoted section of the American Journal of Numismatics (January 1883) summarizes this better than the author of this research could summarize. It gives the following reasoning of rejection of pattern coinage, “things that are not appropriate, not convenient, not artistic, in short, that are not wanted”. It seems that William Barber’s twenty-cent pattern meets none of these! It is certainly artistic, appropriate, convenient, and wanted. His rendition of Liberty not being is frequently lamented by collectors due to the sheer beauty of the specimens, his design was similar to adopted designs of the time and there would be no reason to condemn it on inappropriateness. It is certainly convenient, as the denomination was adopted in the year, and lastly, it has been wanted by collectors and mint staff as they produced the five and ten-dollar pieces after it was rejected. So why was it ultimately rejected? It seems to be on technical grounds. The twenty-cent pieces had trouble fully striking up to the detail of the dies even when the mint intended to produce them as proofs. This weakness is often seen on the hair of Liberty, and later on the five and ten-dollar patterns on the eagle’s legs and breast. If a blow from a medal press at high pressure and slow speed was unable to bring up the design fully, the coin would not be fit for coinage in large quantities at high speed and lower pressure. This alone would be grounds for rejection, and it appears it was. As mentioned earlier, it is likely that Barber out of desperation to get his design to strike up tried four different times in four different metals, but the large amount of metal needed to flow into the central devices was too much. The counter evidence for this was the use of nickel for four strikes, although the majority remain in silver and copper. Later, his son Charles seems to have had a very good knowledge of central device placement and making sure that the devices were able to strike up (Heritage Auctions 1). It is possible that the failure of the “Sailor Head” was enough to make William pass on to his son this knowledge, and this would show how important these patterns were to him and allude to his desperation. This can be seen in his designs and patterns, and is likely why so many of his coins are low in relief. Of course, it is possible that the mint used the strikes in extra metals to sell to collectors, and it would be unfair to leave out this possibility.

The design alone is likely the reason collectors today are so fond of these patterns, although the rarity plays a part as well. Several are unique, and many are R7 or R8 coins. The mint liked the patterns as it made a bit of money for them, and collectors liked the coins as they were aesthetically pleasing. The common practice of the mint to sell patterns for profit is here coming through in the modern day as collectors have the opportunity to own such a coin, and so they do! Bidding on these coins is fierce, with many (almost all) of these 1875 patterns selling for five figures. The rarity and beauty surely is the cause for not only the desire to have one but to enjoy owning one.

Distinction:
To make a statement that is sure to make a few question what I am thinking:
As to the patterns of 1876 and 1877, some sources state that they are “Sailor Head” patterns as well, however there are distinct differences between those of the original twenty-cent patterns of 1875. The 10th Edition of United States Pattern Coins lists these coins as independent of those of 1875 and instead of calling them “Sailor Head” patterns, they are listed as “Barber’s Liberty Head”. The coronet, angle of the bust, and the drapery at the base of the bust are different, with the main differences being the ornamentation on the front of the coronet has been removed and replaced with beads lining the crown on those patterns of 1876. The drapery at the base of the bust had also been removed by 1876. The removal of the drapery is key, as it was the drapery that was so reminiscent of a sailor, and led to the creation of the nickname “Sailor Head”. It seems in the opinion of the author of this paper that only the original patterns of 1875 should be referred to as “Sailor Head” due to these distinctions.

Conclusion:
These coins seem to be well liked by the mint due to their existence in gold, as well as three other metal types, rather than striking them in copper or a different alloy. The patterns are beautifully designed and executed in a proof format, and they bring strong prices at auction. One could easily make an argument that these are among the top five most beautiful patterns, perhaps second only to the Amazonian coins. The five and ten-dollar denominations bear distinct similarities to the aforementioned Amazonian coins, which were almost certainly sold directly to collectors as a full unique set (gold set). Due to the demand of these patterns today, it is almost certain that collectors wanted these coins in their collections and the mint was happy to provide them with the five and ten-dollar patterns of this gorgeous design. This all adds up to one statement - when the mint did not use the patterns for internal review, they sold them to collectors who wanted them and pocketed the money. This went on for decades, and as such this is one of many reasons so many patterns exist in collector’s hands today. The design alone was likely enough to make collectors fall in love per say with the coins and obtain them at high costs, as this is certainly the case today. The rarity and beauty remain a major point in how these patterns trade hands at sale, and when such a coin does sell, it is sure to attract attention.

Photos:
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I only feel the need to cite two sources formally as I had referenced the rest in the paper itself, and I don’t see this being printed in my eyes. However, should you like to have any other sources formally done, I can make that happen, just PM me or comment. I would also like to thank @MrEureka for his comment that made a lot of this research possible once I knew what to look for and apply. I would also like to thank @Floridafacelifter because his post reminded me I have a pattern book on my desk. Also, yes, I know the title is a popular song by Styx, and I happen to like that song so I elected to keep it as the title.

Works Cited
Company, Collectibles Technology. “NNP.” Newman Numismatic Portal at Washington 
University in St. Louis | Comprehensive Research & Reference for U.S. Coinage, 
https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/auctionlots?AucCoId=8&AuctionId=80&page=838.

Heritage Auctions. 1875 "Sailor Head" Ten Dollar Gold Pattern, Judd-1443, Ex: Woodin, Boyd, 
Judd, Wilkison, Trompeter, Heritage Auctions, 2005, 
https://coins.ha.com/itm/patterns/1875-10-sailor-head-ten-dollar-judd-1443-pollock-1587
-r8-pr64-ngc-ex-trompeter-the-january-1883-issue-of-the-ame/a/372-8337.s.

 

 

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Those are awesome.  That was a very interesting essay as I know very little about 'patterns'

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FyingAl - Nice write-up and presentation. However if you will read my book "Girl on the Silver Dollar" you will begin to understand the real background and purpose of the design. There is a lot more information than in auction catalogs and the occasional NNP reference.

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On 5/29/2022 at 4:58 PM, RWB said:

There is a lot more information than in auction catalogs and the occasional NNP reference.

I was wondering if there was a source out there. Almost all of my NNP sources came up dry, the same usual description and nothing else. I had to go of conjecture for most of it. I'll look into the book!

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The book is aimed at the false story about Anna Williams modeling for the 1878 dollar. There is a lot more information on Barber's patterns that is not in the book.

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@RWB, 

There was a question posted ATS that would require mint archives to answer, and collectively there was wondering if you knew the answer. Here's the question in its entirety,

Let's also back up a few years. In 1872, Barber created the Amazonian patterns, running from the quarter to the double eagle. Then, in 1873, he tried a new portrait paired with the Amazonian reverse of 1872. (He didn't bother creating the entire set this time.) And then, in 1875, the Sailor Head $5 and $10. So I'm going to challenge my previous assertion that the Sailor Head was likely created for the 20 Cent piece and then utilized for the half eagles and eagles. It could also be that the Sailor Head was originally an extension of his ongoing attempts to redesign the gold coinage, and he only later used it on the 20 Cent piece. To figure out which scenario is correct, we would probably need to go the the US Mint archives. Where is @RWB when we need him???

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Posted (edited)
On 5/30/2022 at 1:21 PM, FlyingAl said:

Let's also back up a few years. In 1872, Barber created the Amazonian patterns, running from the quarter to the double eagle. Then, in 1873, he tried a new portrait paired with the Amazonian reverse of 1872. (He didn't bother creating the entire set this time.) And then, in 1875, the Sailor Head $5 and $10. So I'm going to challenge my previous assertion that the Sailor Head was likely created for the 20 Cent piece and then utilized for the half eagles and eagles. It could also be that the Sailor Head was originally an extension of his ongoing attempts to redesign the gold coinage, and he only later used it on the 20 Cent piece. To figure out which scenario is correct, we would probably need to go the the US Mint archives. Where is @RWB when we need him???

The question itself is unanswerable because it is built on false assumptions throughout. I'll add more in a little while....

Here's a short reply to the "question."

Mint directors had been trying to redesign gold and silver coinage since well before Longacre’s 1859 patterns. Each time, something prevented fulfillment. In 1859 it was the impending Free vs Slave which caused the Sec of Treasury to suspend any changes except the dime and half dime reverses and cent tweaks.

Following the war International Monetary Commission meetings stimulated various conceptual designs, but nothing that was ever intended for production. The standard dollar proposals, postal currency, and arguments over revisions of the Mint Bureau stimulated Longacre, and later William Barber’s seated Liberty with shield (aka “Amazon”) design, commercial dollars, plus others by Bailey and Paquet for Trade dollars. With specie resumption not yet a fact, these were largely hollow ideas.

20-cent: "I should therefore prefer the Bailey figure of “Liberty” seated as shown on one of the specimen trade dollars for the obverse and the Barber eagle, as it appears on the Trade Dollar for the reverse. If reduced to the proper size I think they will be very appropriate." Apr 20, 1874.

When Linderman became director in 1873 one of his prime goals was to revise the coinage by introducing an “ideal head of liberty” for the obverse of each major series. Silver reverses would have a European-look with the denomination in the center and a wreath/ornament surrounding. Gold would use an eagle.

By 1874 Linderman was already aware that Congress was going to reauthorize the standard silver dollar, and began planning accordingly. This culminated in William Barber’s 1876 Liberty head. This design was approved by key Congressional officers and Linderman was ready to put it into production. But, he had also been corresponding with the Asst. Mint Master at the Royal Mint, London, and George Morgan had been agreed upon as a Special Engraver and was to come to Philadelphia. But communication was delayed and Linderman gave up on hearing of Morgan’s acceptance. He told Barber to go ahead and make reductions and dies for the silver coins (including dollar). Within a couple of days of doing this, Morgan’s acceptance arrived, and everything came to a stop.

Morgan brought new designs with him, later tested on half dollars, and everything restarted in October 1876. Linderman then allowed Barber and Morgan to compete for the new dollar design, and Morgan’s was accepted largely because of its lower relief.

Many of the patterns from the early 1870s, and after 1878 were authorized verbally (according to Charles Barber) so there are few written records describing what was done. Medal Dept records are very skimpy concerning patterns, although they should have maintained a complete record (as was claimed by Pollock). [Speculation: There are several "convenient" sets of missing records including the engraver's, medal department, chief clerk, cashier's sales for cash, distribution of proceeds of pattern sales to the Mint Cabinet, and testimony missing from a formal inquiry. This makes me wonder if the records were intentionally scrubbed.]

[See Girl on the Silver Dollar for a better organized description of events and photos of various patterns along with archival documents.]

 

Edited by RWB
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Ok, this makes a little more sense, and seems to help my case in the OP. However, I think that Barber's patterns of 1876 are completely independent of the "Sailor Head" designs of 1875, as I mentioned in my OP, along with reasoning.

The patterns of 1875 don't entirely add up with the above. It seems that Barber used the Amazonians of 1872 and the designs of 1873 to fulfill Linderman's desires of coin revision, rather than the designs of 1875. This to me makes what I said in my original essay even more likely- 20 cent first as a piece for potential adoption, gold later as a sale for collectors (once again falling into the missing mint documents and a post you made here a while back about the mint selling patterns). It also seems unlikely that if Barber was going to use the design for a dollar, that he wouldn't start with that. 

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I disagree with most of what your conjecture. What is your evidence?

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On 5/30/2022 at 7:56 PM, RWB said:

I disagree with most of what your conjecture. What is your evidence?

Well that's just it - there is no hard evidence. I can make an educated guess using a game of "what's more likely", but that's the best I can do from the info I have. Here's the basis of my information, again, it's all just what's more likely in my eyes.

There are a few facts that can be used from your post:

1. Linderman wanted to redesign the coinage in 1873.

2. The dollar was to be redesigned.

3. The twenty cent piece was to be adopted in 1875

Let's address all of these in a numerical manner, from Barber's perspective.

1. If Barber produced a full suite of 1872 patterns, all of the gold coins conforming to Linderman's ideals of a new coinage design, and this idea carried over into another pattern in gold in 1873, it's likely that Barber was at work either trying to redesign the gold coinage by orders or by hoping the work would be recognized and therefore changed. Bear in mind that this is 1873 - is he really going to try this, wait two years and try again - with a 20-cent piece rather than gold? I think not.

2. Barber's designs for the dollars start in 1876 - the patterns of 1875 are isolated not only be denomination, but by design as well. They are inherently different, and it is clear Barber had tweaked the design to adapt for a dollar. It seems very unlikely that Barber would create a design in 1875 to fulfill a requirement later - particularly in entirely different denominations and designs. It also seems he didn't, rather choosing to use a different design in 1876 rather than his true 1875 design.

3. The twenty cent piece is my most convincing argument I think. Would Barber really sit back and let someone else design a new denomination for coinage without at least attempting to design one himself? Highly, highly doubtful and very unlikely. I would almost guarantee that the isolated incident of 1875 with the true "Sailor Head" designs were for the exact reason of trying to get a design on the 20-cent piece. Barber was clearly unsuccessful, likely due to striking issues on the coins. So now the mint has a great design, and what do they do with it? Slap a common reverse on it (similar to the Trade Dollar of 1873) and sell it in gold denominations to collectors. They struck a $5 and $10 in four different denominations, and then the design disappears for good. Like I said, the designs of 1876 and 1877 are inherently different to the ones in 1875, in design and denomination. 

It's all a game. Whether or not you agree is up to you, but that is my best shot at proving, or trying to do so. 

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There is considerable circumstantial evidence from correspondence by Pollock, Snowden, Linderman, Dubios and several others plus congressional comments and related materials. I have reviewed much - not all - of this and that is the cumulative source of my opinions on the matter. I am currently researching the subject of restrikes of circulation and pattern pieces, and have made some interesting discoveries. Everything will eventually be published. However, a message board is not the appropriate place -- anyway, it wold give away the "punch lines." :)

Your assumptions are largely at odds with known facts, behavior and purposes. The 20-cent is a good example of a baseless assumption -- Linderman was absolutely clear about his thoughts on the design. (see quote.) Nothing refutes that. Existence of some novodels made at a later date does not change anything Linderman wrote. Collectors of that era were fully aware of the potential for distorting history by restriking coins and patterns, or inventing pre-dated fantasies.

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Posted (edited)
On 5/31/2022 at 10:26 AM, RWB said:

The 20-cent is a good example of a baseless assumption -- Linderman was absolutely clear about his thoughts on the design.

While this is true, is there any possibility Barber decided to create one anyways just to try? I just can't really see any reason to describe these as "restrikes" when they only appear once in one year.

I do look forward to your work on the subject in this book you mention.

Edited by FlyingAl
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On 5/31/2022 at 12:38 PM, FlyingAl said:

While this is true, is there any possibility Barber decided to create one anyways just to try? I just can't really see any reason to describe these as "restrikes" when they only appear once in one year.

I do look forward to your work on the subject in this book.

It will be at least a year -- maybe more. It is a difficult subject with many scattered sources, and unexpected gaps in records. It is also contaminated by decades of idle speculation, guesses, assumptions and false stories.

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A rousing discussion that I hope will continue! 

Roger, what do you think of the cavalier way in which uspatterns.com dismisses J-1457 et al with the comment "these are really trade dollar essais?" I don't know where they got that idea.

FlyingAl, Remember this example when reading source material in the future. Sometimes even the authority in a field is wrong about some things. The trick is to figure out which ones.

I do hope you figure out who coined the name "Sailor Head" for the 1875 versions of this design. I would guess it was some "Writer of the Purple Prose" auction cataloguer. Without ever really giving it much thought, I always just sort of assumed that it derived from the two ribbons at the back of the head, which may have looked like something on the caps worn by Royal Navy seamen. There is an old "urban legend" that British sailors in the 19th Century used to sew blades into the brims of their caps, and then when a fight broke out in a bar somewhere in the world with sailors from a different navy, the tars would grab the ribbons on their caps and swing them as offensive weapons.

And this is exactly the type of idle speculation you should be leery of! I read that in a story somewhere, and I have no idea if it is true or not! Can't remember where I read it.

But don't let that stop you from doing research on the styles of caps worn by British sailors. You might find those ribbons somewhere.

And yes I known that the Draped Bust design of the 1790's also had ribbons.

TD

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Posted (edited)

@CaptHenway, intriguing! First thank you for the example, I appreciate it! I did a quick dive and came up with nothing on your mention of ribbons in caps, albeit I did a very shallow look and will do some more research later, although it is seemingly far-fetched to my eyes, and would make for a perfect pirate tale. 

However, I am fairly certain that the mention of the drapery being similar to a sailor's collar is true. I quickly came up with this picture of US Naval uniforms circa 1862-1863, and although they are not the exact year of 1875 though it appears enlisted rank's dress remains somewhat unchanged to this day, and modern naval uniforms for enlisted ranks can be seen very similarly to the one shown here.

image.thumb.png.5c7b0ea8bf96fff5d81d5bc914f5fda5.png

The uniform of the enlisted man here does have a collar that bears some similarity to the one shown on the patterns of 1875, at least to my eyes. While not perfect, the match is at least close and without a comparison in hand I doubt many would honestly say one is or one is not. As such, I took that statement to be true, because of the time period and similarities. 

Edit: I found a circa 1776 portrait with an enlisted sailor in the background with undeniable similarities in the necktie to the design of the "Sailor Head" patterns. (Far right)

image.png.2e7dc7012b735c5ee5a4cf9a0db618e0.png

However, I believe that Barber's true inspiration came from Hiram Power's sculpture of America c. 1850. The similarities are uncanny, although it does not relate directly to the term "Sailor Head".

image.png.8b2fa17863907ab23c94dbbb79e33095.png

Edited by FlyingAl
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"Sailor Head" came from an 1890 auction catalog....don't remember which one at the moment.

There are many accumulated parts of the pattern and experimental references that would benefit from a thorough scrubbing, or at least a restorative "dip." A large gap in pattern and novodel knowledge includes basic specifications and alloy. Calling a piece "white metal" is garbage -- it's probably a cheap tin alloy, but not always and we should have those specifications available to all. (The reaction when I mention this to tpgs is mostly "duhhh.")

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American sculptors and plate engravers copied from a group of more or less standard Greco-Roman portrait copies and French Neo-Classical imitations. I don't think we can attribute any of the coin or medal designs to a specific prototype unless mentioned by the sculptor or a reliable associate.

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On 5/31/2022 at 6:19 PM, RWB said:

"Sailor Head" came from an 1890 auction catalog....don't remember which one at the moment.

Many would state it came form the sale of the 1891 Doughty sale by the New York Coin and Stamp Co., which created many of the names for the Morgan patterns. "Sailor Head" does not appear there, and I can provide a link to the auction here if you would like to see for yourself. The patterns of 1875 appear on page 21, where all "Sailor Head" patterns are listed without that name as lots 420 and 423. 

https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/auctionlots?AucCoId=26&AuctionId=513829&page=25

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On 5/31/2022 at 6:21 PM, RWB said:

American sculptors and plate engravers copied from a group of more or less standard Greco-Roman portrait copies and French Neo-Classical imitations. I don't think we can attribute any of the coin or medal designs to a specific prototype unless mentioned by the sculptor or a reliable associate.

You got me xD I was jumping to conclusions too fast!

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On 5/31/2022 at 8:26 PM, FlyingAl said:

Many would state it came form the sale of the 1891 Doughty sale by the New York Coin and Stamp Co., which created many of the names for the Morgan patterns. "Sailor Head" does not appear there, and I can provide a link to the auction here if you would like to see for yourself. The patterns of 1875 appear on page 21, where all "Sailor Head" patterns are listed without that name as lots 420 and 423. 

https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/auctionlots?AucCoId=26&AuctionId=513829&page=25

Good info. It was somewhere in that period....Old auction catalogs are kind of low on the research source list.

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Just for the heck of it I checked Cornelius Vermeule’s “Numismatic Art in America.” The very brief section on Patterns of 1875 has nothing on the design in question.

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On 5/31/2022 at 6:26 PM, FlyingAl said:

Many would state it came form the sale of the 1891 Doughty sale by the New York Coin and Stamp Co., which created many of the names for the Morgan patterns. "Sailor Head" does not appear there, and I can provide a link to the auction here if you would like to see for yourself. The patterns of 1875 appear on page 21, where all "Sailor Head" patterns are listed without that name as lots 420 and 423. 

https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/auctionlots?AucCoId=26&AuctionId=513829&page=25

Interesting catalogue. I love the description of Lot 421!

I see that he called the 1876 versions of this head "Centennial Dollars."  That made up nickname does not seem to have caught on.

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On 6/1/2022 at 8:47 AM, CaptHenway said:

I see that he called the 1876 versions of this head "Centennial Dollars."  That made up nickname does not seem to have caught on.

This could be some good evidence, as they seem to have been distinguished from the 1875 patterns clearly except for a brief mention of "similar". 

I also believe I found the first usage of "Sailor Head". It comes from a 1970 auction of the Jesse Taylor collection of US Pattern Coins by the New Netherlands Coin Company, and I am ecstatic to say it proves my point. On page 91, the 1875 patterns are described as "sailor head" patterns, while those of 1876 are described as "sailor like". It is of note that the 1877 dime pattern is also described as "sailor head", for unknown reasons as it is more similar to those of 1876. All nicknames are in quotations and this seems to point to their originality. At a minimum, I can positively rule out the dollar patterns of 1876.

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On 6/1/2022 at 9:53 AM, FlyingAl said:

This could be some good evidence, as they seem to have been distinguished from the 1875 patterns clearly except for a brief mention of "similar". 

I also believe I found the first usage of "Sailor Head". It comes from a 1970 auction of the Jesse Taylor collection of US Pattern Coins by the New Netherlands Coin Company, and I am ecstatic to say it proves my point. On page 91, the 1875 patterns are described as "sailor head" patterns, while those of 1876 are described as "sailor like". It is of note that the 1877 dime pattern is also described as "sailor head", for unknown reasons as it is more similar to those of 1876. All nicknames are in quotations and this seems to point to their originality. At a minimum, I can positively rule out the dollar patterns of 1876.

Excellent! Does the catalogue say who the cataloguer was?

Do you have a link to the catalogue?

When you do write what you write, I think you should include some mention of the 1876 patterns if only to explain why they do not qualify as "Sailor Heads," which I assume will be that they do not have that "necktie" (not "collar" as you previously called it) that the 1875's have. The "burst of rays" at the front of the coronet remains an interesting novelty.

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Posted (edited)
On 6/1/2022 at 11:39 AM, CaptHenway said:

Excellent! Does the catalogue say who the cataloguer was?

Do you have a link to the catalogue?

When you do write what you write, I think you should include some mention of the 1876 patterns if only to explain why they do not qualify as "Sailor Heads," which I assume will be that they do not have that "necktie" (not "collar" as you previously called it) that the 1875's have. The "burst of rays" at the front of the coronet remains an interesting novelty.

The catalogue can be found here:

https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/book/530550?page=101

The "Sailor Head" patterns start as lots 56 and 57 on page 91, with the 1876 and 1877 patterns carrying over to the next page. I will double check to make sure that this is the earlier version that I can find, though it seems likely it will be. It does not appear to state who the cataloguer was. 

It appears the correct term is "neckerchief", so I think I will use that. I also am planning to include quite a large section on the history of the description, including the images I have here and a mention of the bust as a possible model, although it is quite likely that another was used. This should help me prove the origin of the term, and the similarities to the bust of 1875 and not 1876. 

I am working on a revision of the work to include all of the research that I have shared here, and I have also picked up a copy of Roger's aforementioned book. Hopefully, between the two, I will find enough information to have completed a satisfactory article.

Edited by FlyingAl
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Thanks. Be sure to check the different 1942 auction records mentioned in the lot descriptions.

 

BTW, in the link cited the auction lots appear twice. Up front they appear normally after the title page. Those page numbers might be more useful to cite. In the section you are in, after a list of bidders by number, they cut out the lot listings and pasted them into a bid book that had blank lined paper opposite the cut lots. On the lined pages they entered bidder numbers and their bids prior to the sale. During the actual sale they could enter those bids into the bidding, and record who won and at what price. It looks as though all three lots were won by bidder #90, a Mr. Joseph C. Sabatasso. The name does not ring any bells.

 

The title page mentions Wormser and John J. Ford. Above Lot #1 there are many references you should check out. There is also a reference to research done by Breen. I checked with my old friend David T. Alexander, and he says that as he recalls Breen was no longer officially cataloguing for New Netherlands by 1970 due to his recurring legal problems, but he agreed that Breen MIGHT have been unofficially involved with the cataloguing of this sale. Thus, if you can find no earlier use of the term Sailor Head, you would be safe in saying that it was "probably" coined by Ford but "possibly" coined by Breen.

 

TD

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I double checked the sources listed, with the exception of the 3rd Edition of the Judd book, which I doubt I could obtain today. I don't know how I missed the statement saying described by Wormser and Ford, but I thought they were executives of the company. A lot of this is very new to me, so thank you so much for pointing me in the right directions. I am confident that this is the original appearance of the "Sailor Head" nickname. 

I may include who coined the phrase, although I am undecided whether or not it is important to what I am saying. I think it may be beneficial to add, however. 

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Yep Ford was at  New Netherlands 

knew him well  well sort of

What about Coin Collectors Journal

1939 v 6 p 13

Must have appeared in an earlier auction catalogue 

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