Do the Dexter 1804 Dollar Weyl plasters still exist?
Back in the 19th to early 20th centuries, auctioneers would create plasters of coins for sale like the 1804 dollar shown in the 1874 and 1884 catalogs. Do the plasters shown in those two catalogs still exist?
As the Dexter dollar affair is one of the most famous instances in history of a coin that was widely condemned as a fake and later determined to be genuine, I asked Brent if he had ever seen a copy of the Weyl catalog which had caused all the controversy. He replied that he had not, but had seen copies of the cover, with the famous plate of the 1804 dollar glued to the page below the auction date. We examined the copy of the catalog from my library, noting that the illustration depicts a coin with no apparent toning and flat, lifeless surfaces, nothing like the vivid, reflective surfaces of the Dexter dollar. The plate also shows a number of die cracks that do not appear on the actual coin. It is easy to see why contemporary numismatists had doubts about the mysterious European pedigree of this piece.
Here's more info from Stacks:
Weyl did everything correctly, including placing a photograph of the sale highlight on the title page of his catalog, a most unusual genuflection to the importance of the coin. The photograph was of a plaster cast of the coin being sold, a tradition typical of European sales of this era and still commonplace in England and the Continent until the first decades of the 20th century.