The 1872 Amazonian Silver Quarter Dollar, PCGS PR66+DCAM is the Professional Grading Service’s (PCGS) Coin of the Month.
One of the most beautiful designs ever created for U.S. coinage never made it out of its
prototypical existence as a pattern. The design? The Amazonian Liberty by William Barber. The pattern? An 1872 silver quarter dollar that never came to be. It was created at a time when the Liberty Seated motif had already been in production for more than three decades, at those days a numismatic eternity. The quarter had fielded the Christian Gobrecht Liberty Seated design for some 35 years by 1872 and proposals for a potential new design were being gloated. It’s safe to believe had Barber’s Amazonian piece emerged from the land of patterns and made it onto circulating coinage there would have been many fans of the design.
The Amazonian design shows a seated Liberty facing left with her right hand patting the head of an eagle and a sword in her left hand. On the reverse spreads an eagle akin to that later seen in William Barber’s short-lived 20-cent piece. The pattern discussed here is one of the more popular patterns created and offers collectors a peak into a parallel numismatic universe of what might have been.
Professional Coin Grading Service graded the example profiled here as Proof-66+ Deep Cameo – an outstanding grade that permits the viewer to literally reflect not just on the beauty of the design but perhaps wonder what this design might look like if it were ever revived in modern times on contemporary coinage. Of course, the idea is not so far-fetched given the propensity of the United States Mint to produce in stunning fashion modern replicas of coins once minted in yesteryear. This piece from yesteryear surely enjoyed a following in modern times, for when it crossed the Heritage Auctions block in September 2022 as part of the Harry W. Bass, Jr. Collection it delivered a knockout result of $156,000.
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