Pattern coin

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Regular coin (left), pattern coin (center) and piedfort (right) Essai-Piefort.jpg
Regular coin (left), pattern coin (center) and piedfort (right)

A pattern coin is a coin which has not been approved for release, produced to evaluate a proposed coin design. [1] They are often off-metal strike, to proof standard or piedforts. Many Coin collectors collect and study pattern coins because of their historical importance. Many of the world's most valuable coins are pattern coins; nearly one quarter of the pieces listed in 100 Greatest US Coins are pattern coins. [2]

A coin is a small, flat, round piece of metal or plastic used primarily as a medium of exchange or legal tender. They are standardized in weight, and produced in large quantities at a mint in order to facilitate trade. They are most often issued by a government.

Proof coinage

Proof coinage refers to special early samples of a coin issue, historically made for checking the dies and for archival purposes, but nowadays often struck in greater numbers specially for coin collectors (numismatists). Nearly all countries have issued proof coinage.

Piedfort Coin

A piedfort is an unusually thick coin, often exactly twice the normal weight and thickness of other coins of the same diameter and pattern. Piedforts are not normally circulated, and are only struck for presentation purposes by mint officials, or for collectors, dignitaries, and other VIPs. Piedfort is commonly misspelled as "piefort".

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English patterns

The first English coin that can be identified with certainty is a groat, originally worth fourpence. This piece, an example of which was illustrated and sold in the Dodsley Cuff sale of the mid-19th century, had crowns in place of the usual three pellets in each quarter of the reverse.[ citation needed ]

Groat (coin) currency unit

The groat is the traditional name of a long-defunct English and Irish silver coin worth four pence, and also a Scottish coin which was originally worth fourpence, with later issues being valued at eightpence and one shilling.

Patterns are particularly identifiable and exist in larger numbers from the reign of Elizabeth I onwards. The experimental base metal issues of all coinage prior to the mid-18th century have been well preserved.[ citation needed ]

Elizabeth I of England Queen regnant of England and Ireland from 17 November 1558 until 24 March 1603

Elizabeth I was Queen of England and Ireland from 17 November 1558 until her death on 24 March 1603. Sometimes called The Virgin Queen, Gloriana or Good Queen Bess, Elizabeth was the last of the five monarchs of the House of Tudor.

Boulton's mint in Soho produced large quantities of patterns, which were supplemented by Taylor some fifty or so years later from the same dies. [ citation needed ]

Soho Mint coin and medal mint operated in England by Matthew Boulton

Soho Mint was created by Matthew Boulton in 1788 in his Soho Manufactory in Handsworth, West Midlands, England. A mint was erected at the manufactory containing eight machines, to his own patent design, driven by steam engine, each capable of striking 70 to 84 coins per minute.


A die is a specialized tool used in manufacturing industries to cut or shape material mostly using a press. Like molds, dies are generally customized to the item they are used to create. Products made with dies range from simple paper clips to complex pieces used in advanced technology.

Early United States patterns

1792 pattern coins
NNC-US-1792-1C-Pattern Silver Center Cent (J-2).jpg
NNC-US-1792-10C-Pattern Disme Copper (J-10).jpg
NNC-US-1792-25C-Pattern Quarter Dollar (J-12).jpg
Silver center cent, disme, quarter

After the Declaration of Independence was signed on July 4, 1776, discussion arose over what sort of currency should be adopted in the United States. At the time, people in North America relied upon a mixture of foreign coins, none of which were struck to a consistent standard, making day to day financial transactions difficult. In 1783, Congress resolved to create a mint, tasking Superintendent of Finance Robert Morris with developing a plan for a system of coinage. The first coins struck by the United States – the Nova Constellatio patterns – were made to illustrate this plan. [3]

United States Declaration of Independence announcement by which the American colonies declared their independence from Great Britain and thus founded the United States

The United States Declaration of Independence is the statement adopted by the Second Continental Congress meeting at the Pennsylvania State House in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on July 4, 1776. The Declaration announced that the Thirteen Colonies at war with the Kingdom of Great Britain would regard themselves as thirteen independent sovereign states, no longer under British rule. With the Declaration, these new states took a collective first step toward forming the United States of America. The declaration was signed by representatives from New Hampshire, Massachusetts Bay, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia.

A currency, in the most specific sense is money in any form when in use or circulation as a medium of exchange, especially circulating banknotes and coins. A more general definition is that a currency is a system of money in common use, especially for people in a nation. Under this definition, US dollars (US$), pounds sterling (£), Australian dollars (A$), European euros (€), Russian rubles (₽) and Indian Rupees (₹) are examples of currency. These various currencies are recognized as stores of value and are traded between nations in foreign exchange markets, which determine the relative values of the different currencies. Currencies in this sense are defined by governments, and each type has limited boundaries of acceptance.

Superintendent of Finance of the United States was an executive office during the Confederation Period have the power similar to a Finance minister. The only person to hold the office was Robert Morris, who served from 1781 to 1784, with the assistance of Gouverneur Morris.

In 1792 the United States Mint opened in Philadelphia. In that year several more patterns were created, including the half dime, then known as a "half disme". It is believed that c. 1,500 pieces were struck as patterns, and that these patterns themselves entered circulation during the next decade.[ citation needed ]

United States Mint produces circulating coinage for the United States

The United States Mint is a unit of the Department of Treasury responsible for producing coinage for the United States to conduct its trade and commerce, as well as controlling the movement of bullion. It does not produce paper money; that responsibility belongs to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. The Mint was created in Philadelphia in 1792, and soon joined by other centers, whose coins were identified by their own mint marks. There are currently four active coin-producing mints: Philadelphia, Denver, San Francisco, and West Point.

Philadelphia Largest city in Pennsylvania, United States

Philadelphia, known colloquially as Philly, is the largest city in the U.S. state and Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and the sixth-most populous U.S. city, with a 2018 census-estimated population of 1,584,138. Since 1854, the city has been coterminous with Philadelphia County, the most populous county in Pennsylvania and the urban core of the eighth-largest U.S. metropolitan statistical area, with over 6 million residents as of 2017. Philadelphia is also the economic and cultural anchor of the greater Delaware Valley, located along the lower Delaware and Schuylkill Rivers, within the Northeast megalopolis. The Delaware Valley's population of 7.2 million ranks it as the eighth-largest combined statistical area in the United States.

Half dime silver coin, valued at five cents, formerly minted in the United States

The half dime, or half disme, was a silver coin, valued at five cents, formerly minted in the United States.

Over the next 40 years, more patterns were created but there is little information currently known about these pieces. Technically, these coins were not patterns but rather off-metal strikes, with the coins struck in a different metal than those destined for general use in circulation. An example is an 1807 Half Eagle, or five dollar gold piece struck in copper.

Mid-19th century United States patterns

1868 pattern for a large cent-sized, copper-nickel, ten-cent piece. From the Harry W. Bass, Jr. Collection. 1868 nickel dime pattern.jpg
1868 pattern for a large cent-sized, copper-nickel, ten-cent piece. From the Harry W. Bass, Jr. Collection.

Starting in 1836, more patterns were created by the United States Mint in Philadelphia. These consisted of several types of patterns:

One example of a pattern coin for proposed coinage is the half-union, a gold pattern coin with a face value of 50 U.S. dollars that was minted in 1877 and weighed 2.5 ounces (71 g). The U.S. Mint deemed the idea of a 2.5-ounce gold coin infeasible, and only two were ever minted. [4] [5]

Transitional pieces are patterns dated before coins with the new design officially went into circulation. These were often produced during final stage of the pattern process, used to present the newly adopted design to the public. One famous example is the 1856 Flying Eagle cent, although that coin has been commonly and incorrectly believed to be regular issue due to its high mintage for collectors.[ citation needed ]

Fantasy pieces include many struck in the 1860s and 1870s as patterns and sold to numismatists for the sole purpose of raising cash for the mint. This practice ended in the 1880s, when the U.S. Mint enforced regulations to prevent the sale of pattern coins. [6]

Modern patterns

The U.S. Mint experiments with new coinage occasionally, such as when silver was removed from coin designs. The Mint began using dies with Martha Washington for trial strikings, since they would not be confused with real circulating money [7] since they do not resemble money. Thus, no restrictions exist on the sale of Martha Washington pieces. Mint-produced modern patterns are very rare, with only a few pieces existing in private collections. The United States mint has placed restrictions on the sale of modern patterns that do resemble coins, such as the 1974 aluminum cent.[ citation needed ] One of the most expansive collections of American pattern coins is the Harry W. Bass, Jr. collection housed at the American Numismatic Association Money Museum in Colorado Springs, Colorado. [8]

Other countries

Pattern coins of France and of French-speaking countries such as Monaco are described by the French term essai . The essai coins of New Hebrides are of interest to collectors of British Commonwealth coinage, as New Hebrides gained independence in 1980 as the Republic of Vanuatu.

The word essai is found inscribed on the pattern coins of Namibia along with the German word Probe.[ citation needed ]

See also

Related Research Articles

Nickel (United States coin) United States coin with the value of five cents

A nickel, in American usage, is a five-cent coin struck by the United States Mint. Composed of 75% copper and 25% nickel, the piece has been issued since 1866. Its diameter is .835 inches and its thickness is .077 inches (1.95 mm). Due to inflation, the purchasing power of the nickel continues to drop and currently the coin represents less than 1% of the federal hourly minimum wage. In 2015, over 1.5 billion nickels were produced at the Philadelphia and Denver mints.

Dollar coin (United States) $1 coins issued by the United States.

The dollar coin is a United States coin worth one United States dollar. It is the second largest U.S. coin currently minted for circulation in terms of physical size, with a diameter of 1.043 inches (26.5 mm) and a thickness of .079 inches (2 mm), coming second to the half dollar. Dollar coins have been minted in the United States in gold, silver, and base metal versions. Dollar coins were first minted in the United States in 1794. The term silver dollar is often used for any large white metal coin issued by the United States with a face value of one dollar, whether or not it contains some of that metal. While true gold dollars are no longer minted, the Sacagawea and Presidential dollars are sometimes referred to as golden dollars due to their color.

Two-cent piece (United States) coin of the United States

The two-cent piece was produced by the Mint of the United States for circulation from 1864 to 1872 and for collectors in 1873. Designed by James B. Longacre, there were decreasing mintages each year, as other minor coins such as the nickel proved more popular. It was abolished by the Mint Act of 1873.

Double eagle Gold coin

A double eagle is a gold coin of the United States with a denomination of $20. The coins are made from a 90% gold and 10% copper alloy and have a total weight of 1.0750 troy ounces.

Eisenhower dollar United States dollar coin

The Eisenhower dollar is a one-dollar coin issued by the United States Mint from 1971 to 1978; it was the first coin of that denomination issued by the Mint since the Peace dollar series ended in 1935. The coin depicts President Dwight D. Eisenhower on the obverse, and a stylized image honoring the 1969 Apollo 11 Moon mission on the reverse, with both sides designed by Frank Gasparro.

Nickel (Canadian coin) Canadian coin worth 5 cents

The Canadian five-cent coin, commonly called a nickel, is a coin worth five cents or one-twentieth of a Canadian dollar. It was patterned on the corresponding coin in the neighbouring United States. It became the smallest-valued coin in the currency upon the discontinuation of the penny in 2013. Due to inflation, the purchasing power of the nickel continues to drop and currently the coin represents less than 0.5% of the country's lowest minimum hourly wage.

Indian Head cent American one-cent coin (1859-1909)

The Indian Head cent, also known as an Indian Head penny, was a one-cent coin ($0.01) produced by the United States Bureau of the Mint from 1859 to 1909. It was designed by James Barton Longacre, the Chief Engraver at the Philadelphia Mint.

This article is a collection of Numismatic and coin collecting terms with concise explanation for the beginner or professional.

Flying Eagle cent A one-cent piece struck by the Mint of the United States

The Flying Eagle cent is a one-cent piece struck by the Mint of the United States as a pattern coin in 1856 and for circulation in 1857 and 1858. The coin was designed by Mint Chief Engraver James B. Longacre, with the eagle in flight based on the work of Longacre's predecessor, Christian Gobrecht.

Shield nickel the first United States five cent piece to be made out of copper-nickel

The Shield nickel was the first United States five-cent piece to be made out of copper-nickel, the same alloy of which American nickels are struck today. Designed by James B. Longacre, the coin was issued from 1866 until 1883, when it was replaced by the Liberty Head nickel. The coin takes its name from the motif on its obverse, and was the first five-cent coin referred to as a "nickel"—silver pieces of that denomination had been known as half dimes.

The silver center cent is an American pattern coin, one of the precursors to the large cent and an early example of a bimetallic coin. Less than a dozen specimens are known to exist today, and they generally fetch substantial prices; an uncirculated silver center cent sold at auction for $414,000 in January 2002. That price was eclipsed by an example graded PCGS MS61 offered at auction in April 2012, with a price tag of more than $1 million.

1792 half disme

The 1792 half disme was an American silver coin with a face value of five cents. Although it is subject to debate as to whether this was intended to be circulating coinage or instead an experimental issue, President George Washington referred to it as "a small beginning" and many of the coins eventually were released into circulation. It is widely considered the first United States coinage struck under authority of the Mint Act of April 1792.

Canadian coinage is the coinage of Canada, produced by the Royal Canadian Mint and denominated in Canadian dollars ($) and the subunit of dollars, cents (¢). An effigy of the reigning monarch always appears on the obverse of all coins. There are standard images which appear on the reverse, but there are also commemorative and numismatic issues with different images on the reverse.

Half union

The Half-Union was a United States coin minted as a pattern, or a coin not approved for release, with a face value of fifty U.S. Dollars. It is often thought of as one of the most significant and well-known patterns in the history of the U.S. Mint. The basic design, featuring Liberty on the obverse, was slightly modified from the similar $20 "Liberty Head" Double Eagle, which was designed by James B. Longacre and minted from 1849 to 1907.

Coinage Act of 1965

The Coinage Act of 1965, Pub.L. 89–81, 79 Stat. 254, enacted July 23, 1965, eliminated silver from the circulating United States dime and quarter dollar coins. It also reduced the silver content of the half dollar from 90 percent to 40 percent; silver in the half dollar was subsequently eliminated by a 1970 law.

Washington quarter

The Washington quarter is the present quarter dollar or 25-cent piece issued by the United States Mint. The coin was first struck in 1932; the original version was designed by sculptor John Flanagan.

Three-cent nickel copper-nickel coin worth three cents

The copper-nickel three-cent piece, often called a three-cent nickel piece or three-cent nickel, was designed by US Mint Chief Engraver James B. Longacre and struck by the United States Bureau of the Mint from 1865 to 1889. It was initially popular, but its place in commerce was supplanted by the five-cent piece, or nickel.

Nova Constellatio

The Nova Constellatio coins are the first coins struck under the authority of the United States of America. These pattern coins were struck in early 1783, and are known in three silver denominations, and one copper denomination (5-Units). All known examples bear the legend "NOVA CONSTELLATIO" with the exception of a unique silver 500-Unit piece.

1804 dollar

The 1804 dollar or Bowed Liberty Dollar was a dollar coin struck by the Mint of the United States, of which fifteen specimens are currently known to exist. Though dated 1804, none were struck in that year; all were minted in the 1830s or later. They were first created for use in special proof coin sets used as diplomatic gifts during Edmund Roberts' trips to Siam and Muscat.

References

  1. Lustig, Andy; Teichman, Saul, uspatterns.com, Society of U.S. Pattern Collectors
  2. Garrett, Jeff (October 18, 2014). 100 Greatest U.S. Coins (4th ed.). Whitman Publishing. ISBN   9780794842758.
  3. http://www.coinworld.com/news/us-coins/2015/07/nova-constellatio-patterns-among-earliest-us-coins.all.html
  4. "J1546/P1719" . Retrieved 21 March 2019.
  5. "J1548/P1721" . Retrieved 21 March 2019.
  6. Yeoman, R.S. (2015). Bressett, Kenneth (ed.). A Guidebook of United States Coins 2016. The Official Red Book (69 ed.). 3101 Clairmont Road, Suite G, Atlanta GA 30329: Whitman Publishing, LLC. p. 374.
  7. Lustig and Teichman, 1965
  8. HBF Pattern Menu, Harry W. Bass, Jr. Foundation