American coins: the schoolgirl dollar of 1879


One of the many fascinating models to be found in the current Heritage auction of Important Selections from The Bob R. Simpson Collection, Part II is a 1879 silver dollar with a portrait of Liberty known as Schoolgirl design.

This is undoubtedly one of the most beautifully designed designs, as well as the adopted American currency. lists 15 genealogical examples; this is room n ° 4. Three pieces are kept in museums and the website notes that many of the known examples have been cleaned up. The website also notes that this particular example was the first to be sold in a transaction of W. Elliott Woodward To T. Harrison Garrett.

Characteristics of the “schoolgirl” dollar George T. Morgan’s celebrated design. A bust of Liberty faces left, and her hair is combed back and tied with a ribbon. She wears a LIBERTY inscribed headband, which sits much higher than most other Liberty head designs. A pearl necklace is around her neck. E PLURIBUS UNUM and the date are separated by 13 stars, similar to the Morgan Dollar obverse border although E PLURIBUS is higher on this pattern. The reverse features a provocative eagle standing with raised wings on a large parchment inscribed IN GOD WE TRUST. The conventional heraldic olive branch and arrows are on opposite sides of the scroll. The UNITED STATES OF AMERICA and ONE DOLLAR are arranged along the border much like the regular Morgan dollar issue. Struck in silver with a reeded edge.

Each side of this PCGS rated Proof-65 + gem presents the viewer with a different look. The obverse shows mottled multicolored tones with deeper shades of pink and blue around the margin. The reverse is predominantly cobalt blue with a brighter yellow-pink around the periphery and some reddish patina in the center. The coin is overall well struck, with the exception of several eagle breast feathers.

This coin is being offered as part of the American coin auction from November 19 to 22, with the Bob R. Simpson coins offered in their own session on November 19 at 6:00 p.m. CT. Auctions for all lots in this auction are now open at

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