ANA Museum Showcase Highlights Bass Collection Rarities

Texas paper currency, rare patterns, famous errors also on exhibit

The American Numismatic Association’s Museum Showcase will present a stunning array of numismatic treasures with a Texas connection during the 2012 Fall National Money ShowSM.

These and other rare, historically significant items will be on display in the showcase Oct. 18-20 at the Dallas Convention Center.

The Harry W. Bass Jr. Collection

harry bass portrait ANA Museum Showcase Highlights Bass Collection RaritiesRenowned collector Harry W. Bass, Jr. assembled a one-of-a-kind, early U.S. gold and pattern coin collection, which is housed at the ANA Edward C. Rochette Money Museum in Colorado Springs. About 80 rare objects from his collection will be publicly displayed in Dallas for the first time.

“Harry W. Bass formed one of the greatest collections of early U.S. gold types and patterns,” said Douglas Mudd, curator of the ANA Money Museum. “We’re lucky to have this collection on display at our museum, and we wanted to bring a selection of items to Dallas, where Harry Bass assembled it originally.”

The exhibit highlights some of the finest U.S. patterns, unique rarities and other outstanding coins from the 19th and 20th centuries. Highlights include:

  • The only complete set of U.S. $3 gold pieces, which features the only known 1870 S $3 gold piece – the other is rumored to be in the cornerstone of the second San Francisco Mint building. The coin on display was once part of the Louis Eliasberg Collection.
  • A gold 1804-dated eagle, which is one of only four known of its kind, along with a rare silver proof from the same year.
  • An ultra high relief St. Gaudens double eagle pattern with a lettered edge, a wire rim 1907 high relief, a flat rim 1907 high relief and a 1907 arabic numerals double eagle.
  • The Amazonian series of nine pattern coins, which were created in 1872 by U.S. Mint Chief Engraver William Barber. This is the most extensive series of patterns ever issued for a single year – never before or since has there been such a sweeping set of patterns with a single theme. There are less than 12 known of each type, making this an extremely rare set.
  •  An exhibit of unusual denomination pattern coins from 2 cent, 3 cent, 20 cent and half union patterns with a wide variety of designs and metals. The largest is the massive $50 half union struck in copper.

This exhibit will be complemented by the Money Talks presentation, “Harry W. Bass, Jr.: An Extraordinary Collector – A One-of-a-Kind Collection,” by ANA Gov. Gary Adkins. The talk will start at 1 p.m. Oct. 19 and is expected to be heavily attended.

“My talk will look at what drove Bass to pursue the coins he did. He amassed some beautiful, significant and very rare coins, and I’ll present some highlights from the collection,” Adkins said. “I’ll encourage people to see some phenomenal coins on display and let them know that if they really want to explore the entire collection, they can see it at the ANA’s Money Museum.”

The Paper Currency of Texas

When Texas won its independence from Mexico in 1836, it had little in the way of silver and gold and instead relied on paper money. This exhibit provides an overview of the many forms of paper money to be used in Texas – from its first Republic of Texas note issued in 1837 to National Bank notes and Federal Reserve notes.

James P. Bevill presents a Money Talk on Texas paper money, “1817 New Spain (Texas) jolas: The Origin of the Lone Star Symbol for Texas,” at 3 p.m. Oct. 19. He will sign copies of his book, “The Paper Republic,” in the ANA Area following the talk.

1792 Silver Center Cent

The 1792 Silver Center cent is a pattern coin and a precursor to the large cent. As the U.S. Mint was designing the first cents, it was one of four designs considered. However, its silver core made mass production difficult and, ultimately, the copper large cent was introduced into circulation. Fewer than 20 examples exist today.

The 1793 Ameri Chain Cent

Possibly the first cent ever produced by the United States Mint, this coin is the finest known example of the “Ameri.” variety (“America” was abbreviated on the reverse legend). This coin was once part of the collection of Joseph Mickley, known as the “father of American coin collecting.”

The 1792 Silver Center cent and 1793 Ameri Chain cent are courtesy of prominent Texas collector Bob R. Simpson.

John F. Kennedy and Numismatics

The display of John F. Kennedy numismatic memorabilia includes the 1892 and 1893 Columbian Exposition half dollars presented to Kennedy while he was a U.S. senator from Massachusetts. These items appear courtesy of William Shamhart, Christine Monk and John Kraljevich.

Other items on display include a collection of Kennedy medals, circulation coins and space program medals.

Famous Errors

This exhibit acts as a highlight reel of some of the most notable numismatic bloopers. Since the discovery of the 1955 doubled-die Lincoln cent, collecting error coins has been an increasingly popular part of the hobby.

The display features five famous American error coins that have made headlines over the years: the classic 1937 D “three legged” buffalo nickel, the 1955 doubled-die Lincoln cent, the 2004 Wisconsin “extra leaf” quarter, the 2007-2009 “godless” dollars and the 1943 “copper” Lincoln cent.  All of these coins feature errors that are easily visible to the naked eye – no need for magnification to see these mistakes – making them popular collector items and curiosity pieces.

The 1943 copper cent courtesy of Robert Campbell.

Bebee Error Notes

As paper money is printed, a variety of things can go wrong, as this exhibit shows.  Double denominations; improperly aligned, inverted backs; obstructions between the printing cylinder and paper; overprints of seals; and inverted, misaligned and missing serial numbers are just a few of the errors seen on paper money.  Cutting problems can occur due to dull blades, paper jams, gutter folds and “butterfly” folds resulting from one or more wrinkles in the paper when part of the sheet folds over before printing.

This exhibit contains error notes from the collection of Aubrey and Adeline Bebee, which were donated to the ANA in 1987.

The Walton Specimen 1913 Liberty Head “V” Nickel

One of the five known 1913 Libery Head nickels will be on display in Dallas. The late Forth Worth dealer, B. Max Mehl, extensively advertised nationwide during the 1930s that he’d pay $50 for one of these famous coins. The 1913 Liberty Head nickel that will be on display in Dallas is now insured for millions. It was kept in a Virginia closet for four decades because the owners were mistakenly told it was a fake. It is on loan to the ANA from the Walton family.

The 1792 Half Disme

The 1792 Half Disme was the first coin authorized by President George Washington under the Mint Act of 1792.  An estimated 1,500 half disme silver coins were struck in the basement of a saw-maker’s shop in Philadelphia in 1792 because the U.S. Mint was not yet operational. The coins are slightly smaller than a modern dime and weigh half as much. Thomas Jefferson, then serving as Secretary of State, personally received the coins on Washington’s behalf.

Modern researchers estimate that about 275 of the 1,500 originally struck survive today. The coin was donated to the Money Museum by Steven L. Contursi, president of Rare Coin Wholesalers of Irvine, Calif.

The Idler/Bebee Class III Specimen 1804 Dollar

Known as “The King of U.S. Coins,” the 1804 dollar is extremely rare, with only 15 known examples. No U.S. dollars dated 1804 actually were struck in that year; Class I specimens were struck in 1834-5 as diplomatic gifts (8 known), while Class II (unique) and III specimens (6 known) were struck during the 1850s for collectors.

The Idler/Bebee specimen was donated to the ANA by Aubrey and Adeline Bebee.

The Dallas National Money Show features more than 500 numismatic dealers; a major auction by Heritage Auctions; the Collector Exhibits area; as well as educational presentations and seminars. Show hours are 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Oct. 18-19 and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 20. Admission is $6 for adults, and free for ANA members and children 12 and under. For more information, go to www.nationalmoneyshow.com.

The American Numismatic Association is a congressionally chartered nonprofit educational organization dedicated to encouraging people to study and collect money and related items. The ANA helps its 28,000 members and the public discover and explore the world of money through its vast array of education and outreach programs, as well as its museum, library, publications, conventions and seminars. For more information, call 719-632-2646 or go to www.money.org.

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