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NNP Blog

Jul 10 2022

Newman Portal Adds Bill Rau’s Pattern Database

NNP intern Kellen Hoard reported on a massive database of U.S. pattern coin auction appearances, most of them from the pre-Internet era.

In the course of my internship work for the Newman Numismatic Portal this summer, I had the opportunity to work on, without a doubt, one of the most impressive numismatic projects I have encountered.  Few other words are needed to describe it, both because the above description is complete and because readers ought to spend less time reading this update so that they might spend more time exploring it.

The project I speak of is Bill Rau’s essentially complete dataset of prices realized at auction for U.S. patterns between 1851-2001.  It is a genuinely staggering document to behold; over 70,000 lots are listed, with detailed information on each.  Even for a non-collector such as myself, it is simply interesting to explore by virtue of its scale.  The spreadsheet which contains this meticulously assembled information spanning centuries is available on the Newman Numismatic Portal at the link below, and contains 12 different tabs with varying data.

Tab 1 includes a general list of the patterns included in Pollock and Judd.  The following information is provided for each pattern listed: Pollock number, Judd number, A-W number, Taxay number, Davis number, year struck, denomination, metal, Pollock rarity, Judd rarity, A-W rarity, and whether Bill Rau had personally owned an example at the time of this list’s creation.  Tabs 2-6 contain information on nearly every pattern sold at auction in a 150-year time period, with information on Pollock number, Judd number, year struck, denomination, metal, grade, Pollock rarity, winning bid, auctioneer, auction date, certification, lot number, and total price with buyers fee.  Also included for many listings is the consignor (e.g. “Benson Collection”).

Also notable are Tab 10, which contains information on over 10,000 lots of patterns sold via fixed price list from the late 1800s to 2001 and Tab 12, which contains an inventory of the Connecticut State Library pattern collection as of 1975.

No matter your collecting niche, take a moment (or many) out of your day to explore this document and appreciate the sheer effort it took to assemble such a valuable resource.  Our hobby thrives and grows on research such as this, and it is important that we highlight such a monumental effort as a guide for what we all might hope to achieve within numismatics.

Newman Portal thanks Michael Bourne for his assistance with this content. Michael appreciated the significance of Rau’s work and thankfully sought to make it available to a wider audience.

Link to Bill Rau patterns database on NNP:
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