1878-2018 Smithsonian Morgan 24k Gold Eagle Pattern NGC PF70 UCAM
George T. Morgan designed the most famous silver coin in the world: the Morgan silver dollar. But within the Smithsonian archives is the historic 1878 gold pattern coin struck by the U.S. Mint to demonstrate how the design would look on a new $10 Gold Eagle coin.
In addition to the Smithsonian’s Morgan Gold Eagle Pattern, another privately-owned 1878 $10 Morgan Gold Eagle Pattern (J-1581) sold at auction in 1990 for $475,000.
Now, on the 140th anniversary, the Smithsonian has authorized a limited-edition gold proof which provides a fascinating glimpse into “what could have been” if this masterpiece Morgan design had been selected for a gold coin rather than a silver dollar.
This Smithsonian-authorized Morgan Gold Eagle has been certified by NGC as a flawless PF70 UCAM strike and includes:
- Handsome display case
- Velvet pouch
- Smithsonian Certificate of Authenticity
- Bonus Morgan silver dollar in XF condition for reference/comparison to the Gold Eagle design
Mintage is strictly limited by the Smithsonian! Only 1,878 of these Morgan Gold Eagles will be struck. Secure yours before they're gone!
George T. Morgan arrived at the U.S. Mint in October of 1876 from England already accomplished coin and medal designer. The Mint quickly set him to work designing coins – including half dollars, silver dollars and gold coins. He rose to the challenge immediately, showing his genius literally from his very first designs. The 1878 Morgan Silver Dollar that was ultimately struck from one of these early designs went on to become the greatest American Silver Dollar in history. However, few people are aware that Morgan’s Lady Liberty was actually struck by the U.S. Mint in gold!
Officially Authorized by The Smithsonian Institution
Because the 1878 Morgan $10 Gold Eagle Pattern coin is such an important key object in the National Numismatic Collection, the Smithsonian has authorized a very limited edition striking of this Smithsonian 1878 Morgan Gold Eagle Pattern Proof in order to give most collectors their first-ever opportunity to see what Morgan’s design would have looked like if U.S. Mint officials had decided to use it for an 1878 $10 Gold Eagle, rather than the Silver Dollar.
Strictly Limited Mintage
In honor of the 140th anniversary, mintage has been strictly limited to only 1,878 proofs for the entire world. The mint has struck the first 700 proofs from this mintage for release today.
140th Anniversary Morgan Edition
2018 marks the milestone 140th anniversary of the 1878 Morgan $10 Gold Eagle Pattern coin. To mark this historic occasion, the Smithsonian has authorized this new Smithsonian 1878 Morgan Gold Eagle Pattern Proof to be issued in the same size and weight of the original Gold Pattern, but bearing the 140th anniversary dual date of 1878-2018 struck on the obverse below Morgan’s legendary head of Liberty.
Struck on a Press From The Mint Where Morgan Served His Apprenticeship
This 99.9% pure half-ounce gold proof has been struck by the Commonwealth Mint in England, using some of the original minting equipment recently acquired from the historic Birmingham Mint. Birmingham was where a young George Morgan served his apprenticeship just before he migrated to the United States in 1876.
The obverse shows striking similarities to the coin which was to become the beloved Morgan Silver Dollar. It features the head of Liberty, facing left, wearing a Phrygian cap encircled with a ribbon inscribed with LIBERTY. The Phrygian cap was associated with freed slaves in Europe, and was therefore sometimes called a liberty cap. Morgan chose it to signify freedom and the pursuit of liberty. Morgan’s de sign also included the Latin motto E Pluribus Unum (“Out of Many, ONE”.)
Morgan modified his Liberty design only slightly when adapting it for the subsequent Silver Dollar which would forever bear his name. He made slight additions to the cap and LIBERTY ribbon, as well as adding a circle of 13 stars to the silver dollar version of his design.
In addition, each medal includes hallmarks (mintmarks) from Commonwealth Mint. SI for Smithsonian Institute, Sheffield Rose for the Queens official assay office, .9999 for the pureness of metal.
The reverse features an accurate rendition of the original 1878 $10 Gold Eagle Pattern, with one small change required by law. The original denomination of TEN DOL. struck on the U.S. Mint Pattern coin has been modified to read EAGLE in accordance with Federal statutes. The rest of the reverse design is exact: A bald eagle is shown grasping an olive branch in one talon and three arrows in the other. The inscription UNITED STATES OF AMERICA encircles the reverse, with the motto “In God We Trust” shown in Gothic lettering above the Eagle’s head. It’s interesting to note that, at the time this pattern coin was struck in 1878, the motto “In God We Trust” was relatively new. It had only appeared on coins for 12 years at that point in history—having been added just after the Civil War.