Three distinct examples of pattern coins.
“From time to time, the United States Mint considers implementing new designs on the coins in circulation. Historically, the Mint developed new designs either internally or through outside competitions. As the selection process narrowed, actual sample coins were made of the various designs. These "Pattern" coins allowed Mint officials to see how the proposed designs would look in three-dimensional relief, to test for any problems in producing the coins, and to try out new metal alloys.” –Via PCGS Coin facts.
Pattern coins come in a few different varieties, a “true” pattern coin is new deisgn or implements new design element. A transitional pattern is a coin that features the same design as a regular issue but dated before regular coinage commenced. Finally there are trial pieces struck from regular dies. Trial pieces are usually struck on an “off metal” like aluminum or copper. These pieces were often made surreptitiously at the mint for prominent collectors of the era.
We currently have examples of all three types of patterns in our store and I felt the need to share them here with y'all.
Judd-352, Pollock-424, High R-6. Truly beautiful coin in every respect! Deep yet stunning chestnut brown with a hint of red wine overtone. Similar to the adopted design for the ten dollar Liberty, with the addition of the motto GOD OUR TRUST directly onto the field above the eagle's head. The obverse is the identical die used to coin 1863 proof gold eagles. PCGS has graded 2 at this level with none finer and this is the only coin CAC Verified.
Judd-450, Pollock-522, R-6-7. The images of this coin don't do it justice! Considerable mint red, when tilted and rotated there are also gorgeous shades of purple-rose with some underlying green. Transitional eagle shows the normal obverse and IN GOD WE TRUST on the reverse above the eagle. Struck in copper with a reeded edge, this design was adopted for use in 1866. PCGS has graded just 2 at this level with none finer...there are no coins designated Red.
Judd-664, Pollock 739, R-7. An off-metal strike in aluminum with a reeded edge from the regular-issue dies for the year. The eagle is likely among the rarest of the 1868 aluminum patterns as well, given that NGC and PCGS show only seven grading events between them, including likely duplicates. This piece is characterized by a bold strike over well-preserved surfaces that show much contrast between the field and devices allowing for a nice cameo contrast.