Grove Minting Company's Blog

18 Jan 2023

AT Helmeted Liberty commemorative art piece / exonumia

Exonumia | Grove Minting Company

The Helmeted Liberty Half Dollar was a pattern half which in my opinion should have been issued as a circulation coin. This beautiful design was based upon J-1528 / P-1696 executed by William Barber. This original imagery was apparently inspired by a drawing prepared by Christian Gobrecht in the late 1830s per Pollock. It shows Liberty wearing a helmet adorned with an eagle, and is believed to be the inspiration behind the design by William Barber used on 1877 half dollars J1526-J1531/P1694-P1699.
Many collectors and numismatists have never seen this design before, and when I first saw a real example, I was awestruck. This pattern in mint-state condition commands a staggering price. Most people I have spoken with at shows regarding this coin, wished to experience what an example would feel like in hand. With that being said, about a decade ago, I undertook the process to recreate this pattern, in exacting detail on the obverse only, for the exonumia community. The design was well received by numismatists and hobbyists alike, with a classic design that pays tribute to the original, as a bullion strike. A few years later, I decided to have some more fun, and have a personal example AT'ed to the image you see before you. Now before you scoff at AT, please know that I as much as anyone else frown on the application, but for modern bullion pieces, it's fair game if properly disclosed. The resulting application brought further to life our Centurion friend, with skin toned devices, deep blues around the helmet, and royal purple cameo reflective fields. In ancient Rome, purple was the color of royalty!
For pattern collectors, what designs most stand out to you as being your favorite?


Long Beard

Level 5

As you've mentioned, nor am I a fan of those altered colors seen in abundance on EBAY or else where. However, I must say I do find this piece quite attractive, the design and color choice might be thought to purchase depending on the premium over melt. I seek out nickels in the violet/blue natural toned, however any with nice color gets added so long as the price isn't overly ridiculously.

Thanks for the comment! Natural blued nickels are also a fav of mine


Level 5

Not much exposure to pattern coins. This design really brings out history and art in a dramatic way.

Thank you!


Level 4

I have never seen this design before, but wow it grabs your eye! From a coin art perspective I love the toning, although I don't know if I would purchase such a heavily toned piece as a coin. But the design itself is really beautiful. I love the feathering and designs on the helmet, and Liberty's profile is striking, especially coupled with the helmet. Thanks for posting about this piece -- glad to learn about it!

Of the production lot, only about a dozen or so pieces received this experimental toning, with this one being probably my favorite. The rest of the batch remained true to form as uncirculated proof pieces with the typical mirror fields, and frosted devices. Glad you like the historic design!

It's Mokie

Level 6

I really love your reverse design. My favorite pattern is the original Standing Liberty Quarter design with the dolphins, etc. It truly was exceptional.

The Hermon Macneil dolphin pattern was one we actually considered recreating, but there were already a few "restrikes" on the market. Those dolphins were also featured on a few other medals to my memory!


Level 6

So nice to see you active again on the site! I really love the designs. This colorized example is cool, however I'm not a fan of "intentionally" toned coins. The Roman helmet is great! Keep the cool designs coming! ; )

Thank you, it's probably been a few years! The hobby keeps growing which is nice to see :-)

I never saw that pattern before, the design is beautiful.

The Roman helmet is what caught our eye at first!


Level 6

I am not familiar with many pattern coins so can't comment. As a lover of toned coins I have mixed feelings on artificially toned pieces. It MUST be disclosed. Take this one. I don't care for it, much, as a coin. AS a work of coin art I do. I know. Just my opinion I could be wrong. The eagle is awesome.

Appreciate your insight and kind words on the eagle. Pattern coins are a unique niche of trial and error both between form and function. Some patterns were never produced either due to the difficulty of the design being struck (excessive wear on coining dies), or sometimes the design just wasn't as aesthetically pleasing as compared to other candidates.

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