What are Pattern Coins?

What are Pattern Coins?

US Pattern Coins


What is a pattern coin although the question seems very straightforward there really is no one answer. I guess you can say a pattern coin is a coin struck at the Philadelphia mint for purposes such as testing a design, creating a coin for collectors, or just using an unusual Die pair. Some things to note is that the management at the Mints would have these coins made and would sell them directly to numismatics and pocket the profits so much so that in the spring of 1859 the Mint was the largest coin dealer in the United States. Most of the early patterns made at the Mint we're off the books and we have no record of them being made, luckily though Insider management and workers are able to confirm the making of certain patterns. All ethics aside though, patterns that were made came out to be some of the most beautiful pieces that you just won't get from regular issued Mint coins. It is because of pattern coins that a great deal of American coinage was even made in the first place and without pattern coins a lot of the coins we know and love today would sadly not have come into existence.

In The Beginning 

In 1792 the Philadelphia mint was established. That same year the first pattern coin was struck. There are about a dozen different variants with the illustrations being anywhere from design changes to metal content. After that, pattern coins have been being made ever since. Although a good amount of the information is known about the coins made in 1792, the following years however all the way up until 1835 are widely a mystery. At the time there was only a small amount of numismatics that were actually interested in these kinds of coins. There are most definitely patterns and test impressions made for new designs for 1795 and 1796 denominations but there's no records of them being made except for a few actual pieces. We can only assume that in 1807 when the capped bust was made by John Reich a few test pieces might have been made and passed around for comments and feedback but no record was ever taken of these coins.

Numismatics Interest Increases

Christian Gobrecht was hired at the mint as a second engraver in 1835 working with the chief engraver William Kneass. During this time Kneass had a stroke and was incapacitated because of this, the highly artistic Gobrecht was tasked with creating several new designs. Because of this many interesting patterns were made from 1836 all the way into 1839. Some were saved by Adam Eckfeldt who is an old-timer at the mint and he later put these coins into the mint cabinet. A few numismatists took note of this and called The Mint to obtain some of the specimens. During the start of 1857 it was announced that the familiar large copper cent would be coming to an end and being replaced with a smaller copper-nickel Cent barring a flying eagle design, because of this a wave of nostalgia went across the country. People immediately started to look through their change to find as many dates of the coin as possible. As we know it today Numismatics we're born in 1858 and the American numismatics society was established that same year and by the following year there were around several thousand collectors around the country. 

The Mint Cabinet And Beyond

During the late 1850s there was a lot of interest in George Washington's life and Legacy. Edward Everett, a famous orator, combined it with a group of ladies that were raising money in the hopes to preserve and maintain the derelict Mount Vernon Homestead of the great George Washington and founder of our country. Everett went all over the country giving speeches and contributing in articles and magazines. Also at the time many books about George Washington's life became best sellers showing how popular he was becoming. Mint director James Ross in 1859 went through the Mint cabinet and found that there were little coins with george washington on them which was sad because back in the day dozens of them had been made in the 1780s. In 1859 Snowden Decided that it would be interesting and gratifying for the public if he collected and placed specimens of all the medallic pieces of George Washington that can be obtained and put them in the mint cabinet. He didn't even know that there were more than 20 pieces. At the time the cabinet only contained 5 specimens. After an investigation it was determined that there were more than 60 different Washington metals. To obtain these pieces he enlisted the help of the public newspapers and supported his efforts by giving an overall general notice and many coin collectors lent their general assistance. Because of this Snowden acquired a substantial collection of 138 pieces. He made it known that he would trade or strike rare coins and patterns in exchange for some of these pieces. A letter sent to Snowden revealed that he only had a few of the 1859 specimens but that the demand for them from collectors would soon “be supplied to the heart's content”. The mint was routinely restricting certain coins which would then supply collectors; this was happening as early as the 1830s. In early 1859 there was a widespread interest in rare coins; this request for coins soon became troublesome. It seems that in 1858 new and old dies were being struck and sold openly for a few months. These coins then went underground all the way until the summer of 1885 creating a new growing business for the mint restiking and rarities. Sometimes the Mint would even have an entire series made such as the Standard Silver issues in 1869 and through the 1870s. Some strikes were done secretly like the rare 1879 and 1880 Coiled Hair gold piece that was not released until generations after. To produce 1500 coin variants from 1859 to 1885 takes a well organized group of people. Actually there were a few records that were kept in 1887 a new director of the Mint decided to look into the matter all he found was that in 1887 some strikes were made for aluminum proof coins. There has been some finding for documents for these coins but well over a 1000 coins go without any records. Dr. Henry R. Linderman is fascinated by the Mint directors, engravers, coiners and curators that were involved with the secret Mint collection and the coins that were sold. With medical training Linderman found himself taking his career elsewhere through the doors of the Philadelphia Mint. He was the clerk in the office of the director from 1853 to 1865 and then served as director from 1867 to 1869 and other times from 1873 to 1878. He was an avid numismatist and actually made raritys for himself while at the Mint, one of them being “King of American Coins” the 1808 silver dollar. It is thanks to numismatists like Linderman that let us admire a variety of coins from 1877 Half dollars. In 1878 while in June a congressional subcommittee made a charge towards him for misconduct but the allegation never ended up being resolved. On January 27, 1879 Linderman died. When they looked at his estate where there were many unpublicized patterns and rarities. Then after the summer of 1885 the “workshop for their gain” closed its doors and the secret patterns designs, raritys and the unusual die combinations ended as well. There were some later issues in 1896 but the patterns made down the line and the ones from the today are basically non-collectible. But the pieces from 1859 to 1885 gave character to the pattern series. Luckily there were enough patterns struck during this time to meet the demands today. Many being less expensive then there regular issued pieces that are more rare and hard to come by. 

Categories of Pattern Coins

There are some people that try to categorize pattern coins, many of them overlap and  contribute to the understanding of the series. Pattern coins: these are pieces that are stuck to test designs or some other aspect of the coin with the hope of then adopting that style for a coin in circulation. Experimental pieces: these pieces are not so much made to test the design but test things like coin size, thickness and composition. Trial pieces struck from regular dies: these coins are struck not for a new design or to test out a different thickness; these coins take existing designs and just put them on a new metal they are sold to collectors. Trial pieces, die trials, paper-backed splashers: when testing new dies they would be put on lead or white alloys using newsprint as well to create these coins.

Private Restrikes From Mint Dies

Lots of pieces among patterns are private restrikes and because of this, to understand patterns you have to understand restrikes. We know that the mint would sell their old broken dies as old scrap iron; and they did this for many years. Little was known about the dies after they were discarded and nothing was put on paper or records until they were owned by Joseph J. Mickley. Who was Joseph J. Mickley he was a numismatist from philadelphia and a long standing one at that he had an impeccable reputation and he has been collecting coins since 1816. He was looking for a copper struck cent from 1799 the year he was born. Not being able to find one only interested Mickley more and pushed him to look further into the coin. He died on February 15, 1878 his numismatic items went up for auction although most of his rare pieces had already been sold. Dies that were used by Mickley were often called “Mickley strikes” or “restrikes by Mickley” although it is highly unlikely that he actually did any of the restiking himself. Other than the dies found in the basement of Mickleys estate that were given to Chief Coiner George K, a handful of other dies survived well into the 20th century and even exist today. Some dies even sit in the Smithsonian Institution. Some have been auctioned off and others defaced and given to the US Mint as a souvenir. 

Collecting And Enjoying Patterns

Ever since the starting days of American numismatics which was in the late 1850s, this is when the hobby became over all populer. Patterns were a very important part of the quest to find interesting specimens. A book written by James Ross Snowden in 1860 called “Ancient and modern coins cabinet collection at the mint of the United States” a good amount of space was given to pattern coins in the book talking about their designs and some instances of quality struck coins. Around the same time numismatic auctions started to become very popular and were run by W. Elliot Woodward, Edward Cogan and a number of other individuals. They often featured pattern coins, always appealing to enthusiastic auctions.

Now into the twentieth century pattern coins are more popular than ever. Numismatists  are still eagerly pursuing these pieces using the internet and informational text to learn more about these patterns. There really isn't a right way to collect pattern coins so many collectors seem to come up with their own unique ways. The most extensive pattern collection of all time would probably go to Major Lenox R. Lohr has more than 1400 different pieces plus duplicates of the same pieces. Lohr Was given an advantage of being able to tap into the market around the time that the Virgil Brand, William H. Woodin and Colonel E.H.R Green Collections were put on the market on top of many other important auctions which included the 1954 Palace collection from King Farouk. 

Over the years lots of other important cabinets have been dispersed. Some collectors though, have been able to patiently wait and collect every pattern coin that they find, the most popular being pieces with interesting designs or parts of a related series.

Collecting With Regular Series

Patterns add an interesting addition to collections with regular-series coins. For example a collector of Liberty Head or Coronet $10 gold coins might like a few strikes from proof dies that are in aluminum or copper.

Specialists of Flying Eagles and Indian Head cents found it nice to acquire related patterns of which more than dozens exist. Yes they do differ from the coins that they are collecting but overall it adds a very interesting addition by showing off different metals for example. Specialists in Nickel five-cent pieces will be able to find available made in the general era of 1865 to 1896 that sometimes use dies from the Shield series and Liberty Head series. But most often in combination with only pattern reverse are never used for circulating coins. If you are a collector of Fractional Currency paper notes that were issued in the 1860s and 70s by the Treasury Department, you might find Postage Currency pattern coins from 1863 to be very interesting. They were originally intended to be the redemption of the Fractional currency. This is the case for many coins. There are lots of Patterns that will go well with regular series coins. Just adding them in your cabinet can bring a different perspective to your collection but also to the regular series. Sometimes even showing off a different path that currency could have gone. 

Collecting Transactional Patterns

Transactional pattern coins have designs on both sides just like regular coinage but are dated before regular coinage started. These coins are the patterns that were eventually adopted. The 1856 Flying Eagle cent is a famous transitional pattern that was struck by the design that was adopted on February 21, 1857 they dated it a year before. The 1859 Indian Head cent which had a oak wreath and shield, and the 1863 bronze cent both are transitional patterns. There are 1865 dated nickels in the Shield nickel series  with their Shield obverse and with rays and also without rays on the reverse. The 1866 without the rays is a suite of three coins that ends up making it a very nice coin to add to a regular set of denominations. The Liberty Head nickel of 1882 without the word CENTS on it is similar to the 1883 issue made for circulation which makes it a transitional pattern. Half dollars Quarter dollars and dollars from 1863, 1864 and 1865 all have the motto IN GOD WE TRUST on their reverse this was eventually regularly adopted in 1866.

Collecting Favorite Pattern Designs

The 1872 Amazonian quarter dollar, half dollar, and dollar are collected simply because they are beautiful coins. Other coins like this are the series of 1877 half dollars, the 1882 Shield Earring quarter dollar, half dollar and dollar, the 1879 Schoolgirl dollar and the list goes on and on. A bidder who was set on getting a pattern piece at the Eliasberg Collection sale loved this coin because of its story: the ugly duckling three cent of 1849 on this coin showed a Arabic numeral for 3 and on the other side a roman numeral for 3. 

Collecting Other Sets And Specialties

Patterns can also form sets here are some pattern sets that have not been mentioned yet. 

Denomination type set: for this set you will half to collect each pattern denomination in the regular denomination. This goes from the half cent to the $20 or if you wanna go big the pattern only denomination of the $4 stalla also the 1877 $50. The metals can be mixed and matched but a full set will have half cent, two cent, cent , nickel three cent piece, half dime, silver dime, nickel five cent piece, twenty cent piece, dime, quarter dollar, silver dollar, half dollar, trade or commercial dollar, gold dollar, lastly the $2.50, $3, $4, $5, $10, $20, and the $50.

Year set: pick a year and look for as many patterns for that year as possible whether it be individual dies or die combinations.

Coins from an era: Coins from the Civil War era are popular and the great Silver Question is interesting as well. You can even do patterns from a certain presidential term. 

Favorite engraver: you will be concentrating on pieces from a certain engraver, for example there is Christion Gobrecht, George T Morgan, or James B Longacre. You will enjoy them the more you learn about the life of the engraver and other work that he has done. 

Standard Silver set: for this set you review the Standard Silver listings for 1869 1870 and a little of 1871. Assembling a suit of each diepear is what you're going for. 

Story coins: find coins that are odd and somewhat out of place, coins with mistakes or ones with two heads the possibilities are endless.

Complete pattern set challenge: there is about 1800 different patterns if you are able to collect over 1000 of them then you will be joining William H. Woodin, Lenox H. Lohr, Dr. James O. Sloss, and probably Virgil M. Brand,

Displaying Your Patterns

There really are no rules saying the best way to display your coins. Pattern series go from being very common and easy to obtain to sets that come once and a lifetime or sometimes are unable to be collected by the time the collector dies. For example no one has actually completed a full set of 1877 pattern half dollars although many have tried with 15 being remarkable. Collecting this series is kind of like playing golf. No one ever gets a perfect score but it's cool to see how close you can get. The nice part about collecting patterns is that although pieces are very rare and some being exceptionally rare a majority of American numismatists either don't collect patterns or don't know the series. making the price of an exceptionally rare coin somewhat attainable for the average person.

Other Aspects Of Patterns 

Metals and Alloys: A lot of basic metals and alloys were used in the making of federal coinage from 1792. These Metals include copper nickel, bronze, silver, nickel alloy, gold, and copper. These metals were available at the mint at any given time so it was natural that they were used to make patterns although there were some special alloys that were used from time to time. At some point in 1865 some pattern nickel five cent pieces were struck. These pieces used standard coinage alloys of the time, always bronze and nickel being about 75% copper and 25% nickel. In 1871 When pattern commercial dollars were made the alloy used was 90% silver and 10% copper. The basic metals used for pattern coins were aluminum, Platinum, nickel, and tin. A good amount of experimental Alloys were also used such as billon, white metal, goloid, oroide, Roulz’s alloy and German silver, among many others.

The Challenge of Metal Composition:Much of what we know about pattern coins from Mint records. For example, documents state the special alloy of billon was created  using 90% copper and 10% Silver Strike, a certain pattern of two cents in 1836. We also know about three strikes that were made at the mint; those include coins listed as copper and also given the number j-54 and j-55. J-149, J-150, and J-151 from 1853 all have the same appearance but J-149 is made out of German silver that is 40% nickel 40% copper and 20% zinc. Throughout J-1705 has a set of words saying PURE NICKEL but in fact the only one with pure nickel is J-1704. Unless the coin is subjected to eminent analysis there is no way to for sure know what is inside coins today are commonly in slabs making it even harder.

Edges of Pattern Coins

Early Era

On hand presses were used from 1792 to 1836 using two men and weighted lever arms that were swung. This then caused a depress in the die and struck the coin. 

Coin this way was struck and had three different Edge styles plainedge with really no design Andrea Lee more curvy there was the reeded Edge which is caused by metal being impressed into the retaining color this was intentional and lastly the lettered Edge with inscription provided separately by running the bank planchet  through an edge lettering casting machine. 

Later Era

In 1836 patterns were struck on steam powered presses and had clean edges or reeded edges. One of these plain collars would often put a mirror-like finish around the edge While reeded collar would put vertical reeds around the edge of the coin. Proof coins and patterns were often produced by hydraulic presses In the late  19th century and onword. These prices were actually put at a lower speed which resulted in the coins having finer details and coming out more pristine. For the most part though plain and reeded collars were mainly used. On some rare occasions other collars were used like in 1882 line man's nickel had five raised bars on the edge. Pattern gold dollars will usually have a plain Edge while higher denominations which consist of the reeded edge from 1859 to 1885 most patterns were given a certain combination of plain and reeded.

Die Orientation of Pattern Coins

Coin-Turn Alignment 

Nearly all of the regular issue federal coins in circulation and proofs that were made for collectors were all produced with the obverse and reverse dies all being the opposite direction or 180 degrees apart. This is referred to as coin turn amongst numismatics. If a regular issued coin is held up with the obverse facing you and it is rotated on its vertical axis then to show the reverse the reverse will be upside down. There of course was some exceptions 1804 Half cent and you could say that sometimes it was the obverse that was misaligned but numismatists Look at coins from the perspective of the Observer being upright this of course making the reverse the one that was misaligned

Medal- Turn Alignment

 Most of the metals that we produce are not of course talking about today's metals but Metals produced back then we're reduced with dies in the same direction or metal-turn. Short pattern coins are usually seen in the coin turn orientation however many metal turn variations are known to exist as well.These variations seem to be produced on purpose to create different variants of the coin. An example of this would be the 1836 Gobrecht silver dollar Which is classified as J- 60 which is a regular issue adopted into the pattern series. Most likely in other instances The Originals Andre strikethrough the pattern are made in the metal Department of the mint and we're invertedly made with metal- tern. Over the years little attention has been paid to the die orientation of the patterns.

Grading And Rarity Of Patterns 

The Difference Between Mint State And Proof The difference is that one was created for the purpose of being circulated and isn't polished, the other is polished and given to collectors. They also used mirror like dies to give poofs more of that mirror finish

Mint State Coins coins that were stuck from the regulation of circulation strike dies when first minted had a frost or luster to the field. If coins are in such high grade today it is because they were made that way and designed by numismatics. Among the patterns all the coins before 1836 were in mint state when they were first coined, the 1792 half disme J- 7 being one of the more famous examples. There were some coins made with more of a luster than a mirror finish and an example of this is the 1859 pattern Indian Head cent with the oak wreath; more than a 1000 Mint State coins are known to exist today. There are other patterns used to test dies that were not polished or were not for some unknown reason.

Proof Coins

The proof coins of the 19th century were created using obverse and reverse dies that were not always but for the most part polished to create a mirror like finish.The coins Struck from these guys were usually done at a slow speed on a hand operated press rather than the steam ones of the day. These proofs usually had deep mirror fields or they had flat surfaces and Matt or lustrous and intricate designs. There of course are many exceptions such as the 1859 pattern half dollars that were only partially polished and had many file marks. These coins also appear to be cleaned with an abrasive and have countless raised strias  in the fields.

Condition and Value

The main thing that determines a pattern coin's value would be its grade or its condition. Has it been handled a lot? Does it have a lot of wear? The better the grade and the less that coin has been handled, the more valuable the coin is. Coins from 1792 and other pre 1836 coins all show circulation and wear. Grades are given to them as either Fine(F), Extremely Fine(EF), and Mint State(Unc) meaning uncirculated. 1836 and onword show high level coins and even proofs. Grading guidelines have been made to help numismatists describe the condition of a coin. Also someone looking at a Proof-60 will want to know to pay less than if it was a Proof-63 or 65.

The Numerical Grading System

Background to the sheldon scale

The Sheldon Grading scale has been adopted by The American Numismatic Association and a good portion of other numismatics. This scale goes from 1-70 with the Latter showing perfection. Some adjectives that are used by the older generation of numismatics are.

Poor: extremely worn barely identifiable if dates are worn it it still possible to figure it out through other identifiers

Fair: worn with most of the lettering gone the date might be worn with part of it visible

About good: its close to good but not quite there 

Good: the date will be intact and the letters most there

Very Good: is more intact then a good with more letters being readable and present for example a good amount of the letters in LIBERTY should be showing if it is a Indian Head.

Fine: all letters are readable the LIBERTY would have all letters maybe weak but all there not as much wear on the coin in general as well

Very Fine: letters and details sharper the Fine 

Extremely Fine: everything will be sharp with exceptions if the coin was weakly struck.

About Uncirculated: very sharp with a mint luster and very little evidence of wear and looking very close to uncirculated

Uncirculated: no trace of wear the coin has probably never been in circulation 

The Sheldon Grading Scale

In today's world the Sheldon grading scale is used by many collectors and by all certification services. The scale began in 1949 with the intent of creating copper sense from 1793 to 1814. The original system  was very simple and had only three divisions  MS-60, MS-65, and MS-70 today there are 11 Different numbers used in the same span.






F-12 and -15

VF-20, -25, -30, -35

EF-40, -45

AU-50, -53, -55, -58

MS-60, -61, -62, -63, -64, -65, -66, -67, -68, -69, -70 

The Sheldon formula started in 1949 it was formulated for copper cents the later was adopted because people like grating. If the grading scale slot is everybody agrees on what the scale is we should be fine. If someone grades a coin an MS-65 then it is bound to be better than an MS-63 or MS-60. but not even the most experts can  consistently grade coins with perfect accuracy and consistency. Below the numbers grade the coin on its wear  there are other aspects that are important to look at when collecting these coins. The sharpness of strike color I appeal to is why more experienced numismatist we'll use the grade only as a starting point and go from there.

Grade examples 

Pattern coins from 1792 to 1834 are listed In a wide range of circulated grades Plus MS-60. Coins above MS-60 are worth a lot of money for that grade. There are however numerous private re-strikes from dies of the same date and our exceptions end you will usually find them in Mid-State but however it will typically have a rough surface due to die rust.  

Aspects of Proof-60 to Proof-70 Grades

When the coin is first struck if carefully taken from the Press a proof coin will be perfect or nearly close to perfect this would put them in Proof-68, 69, and 70. Coins that are made for collectors should be carefully preserved and are expected to have normal toning or patination acquired over the years or be essentially in the same condition that it was when it was struck. However this is not the case. In The Numismatist In August 1902 a man named Farran Zerbe States the visit he had to The Mint Collection that was on display in Philadelphia down. A lot of the silver proof coins of late years had a white coating on them. He later found out that a  attendance went into the room during the big Haitian months and cleaned the tarnished coins with a metal polish that he bought from the Department Store and that the coating of white is it now slowly disappearing  Zerbe was more than this please but found out that this was nothing and that this had to happen multiple times. 

Zerbe Speculates that If this continues in the future we will only have a few worn down coins. 

Sadly King Farouk of Egypt You collected a lot of coins  in the 1940s and early 1950s and also enjoyed pattern coins, usually wood polish his copper and silver issues making the copper look unnatural and bright orange, also removing much of the true mirror surface. Coins that were Proof-65 when he originally bought them would be brought down to Proof-60. Some of the King's coins have been fixed by strpping off the surface and recolored somewhat to bring back their more pleasant hue. 99% of patterns that are graded as Proofs-62, 63 will have hair lines for evidence of rubbing because they were cleaned if that wasn't true then they wouldn't have those lines. At the same time any silver patterns that are fully brightened there's about a 99% chance that they have been dipped silver is a very reactive metal and for even a silver coin that has been preserved it will exhibit some degree of toning. A lot of the coins that were either dipped or cleaned in the past have returned since either naturally or through artificial tell me and actually are very aesthetically pleasing to the eye. As you may think,grading, cleaning and toning coins are some controversial subjects. At the end of the day numismatists grade on instinct and experience there is no amount of cracks or hairlines that choose whether the coin gets its grade.

Certification Services

The idea for hermetically sealing a coin in a hard plastic holder came up In 1986 with the grade imprinted on the plastic it was made Popular by services like PCGS. The NGC or Numismatic Guaranty Corporation made its Debut in 1987 and in 1972 the ANACS was born.  In 1989 baby can grading and then encapsulating the coins within the plastic since then there have been other grading services but the ones listed are the more widely known and widely used. But in all instances it is better to buy the coin not the holster what this means is don't just look at the grade that is given by one of the companies would rather look at the coin and decide if that's really what you're looking for does it have good eye appeal does it go with your collection do you even want the coin.Another thing to check is if the coin is real the grading services guarantee that all their coins are certified but on the off-chance that they're not you want to know. 

A Scale For Rarity

Historical Sheldon Scale (1949)

Early American sent a book that was released in 1949 by dr. William H Sheldon showed up a numerical scale from 1 to 8 to approximate Rarities of a point in its original form he was given like this:

(Rarity is abbreviated with R)

Rarity-1: 1,250 known

R-2: 501-1,250

R-3: 201-500

R-4: 76-200

R-5: 31-75

R-6: 13-30

R-7: 4-12

R-8: 2-3


While the scale is very useful it does have some flaws one of them being R-7  can have between 4 and 12 coins in the market this difference can mean two tremendously different prices.

A more reasonable scale to use would be the one that follows

Rarity-1: 1,250

R-2: 501-1,250

R-3: 201-500

R-4: 79-200

R-5: 31-75

LowR-6: 21-30

HighR-6: 13-20

LowR-7: 7-12

HighR-7: 4-6

R-8: 2-3


Finding out how many coins were actually struck can sometimes take time and ongoing coins that are listed today as L7 with maybe only 12 known might one day be reclassified as H6  if a 13 piece is found. Other things to consider are coins in museums and in well known collections that usually don't sell. These coins will most likely be off the market for a very long time so you can almost count them as nonexistent.

Buying Patterns

Guidelines for “Smart” Buying

Quality can be provided by the Rarity ratings but also by the degree of experience in comparison to the other types of grades that exist for that piece. If a piece shows several dozen or more examples of good pieces going across the auction then you can wait and skip over less favorable pieces and acquire a more delightful piece later on. On the other hand if a piece  is very rare and you cannot be picky with what comes across the auction  and should acquire whatever you can get. Today many buyers just look at the numbers on the cases and rely solely on that to buy, however a smart buyer looks at the coin and can decide to choose a lower grade coin for better eye appeal. 

Importance of Eye Appeal

 Right off the bat A good rule to follow is that if a pattern coin no matter the numerical grade has good eye appeal and looks attractive and pleasing to your eyes. chances are that when you go to sell that coin others will agree with you and you will have no problem getting what you are asked for.  On the other hand if the coin has high grade and is a doll and has very bad I appeal it will be harder to sell solely on grade. Some things to keep in mind are that silver coins tone differently over periods of time and patterns struck in the 19th century that have not been dipped we'll have Tony. Copper coins are the most delegates out of all and it's alloys  like bronze are chemically reactive. patterns will turn a light Brown and then dark brown. Most copper coins have problems and when purchased need a special degree of care.

What to Expect

Pattern coins are in many ways different from one another. This is regarding design, the way they are struck, the quality, the way the die is prepared, and the overall state of that coin. It will pay off to learn a little bit about the coin that you're purchasing and to research your specific pattern. Everything written down in this text can be used to help you but it is advised that you do research using catalogs, the internet and other collectors and their knowledge of that coin.

Metal of Striking

The metal that the coin is struck in can be very important  patterns that are struck in silver or gold tend to be more desirable. Those struck in metals such as copper aluminum or white metal are less desirable. However this does not apply to coins  that are normally struck in bronze for pattern cents since those struck in aluminum are more valuable. However Liberty Seated dime, dimes that are struck using aluminum rather than silver have little apart from each other and are very similar making them not as desirable. The value of the pattern and what metal you wanted to be struck in varies from issue to issue but these are some basic rules that you can use.

Market Conditions and Competition

Overall popularity can distinguish the pattern's value and it's demand. If there Are 2 specialists lacking a rare coin that they need for their collection and only one comes up in auction you can expect the bidding to be very intense. Now if there is only one bidder that needs that coin you can expect the bidding to be more mellow and not as active. The trend of rare coin prices has been on the upward. the editor that had the pleasure of being able to catalog the Garrett collection of coins for the John Hopkins University. Which sold in a series of auctions that were from 1979-1981. with the combination of superb quality and a strong Market they were able to achieve record prices. however in the Jubb book 7th edition It was said by Abe Kosoff “When I character figure is quoted it is well to remember that those figures proved to be very high the current market value of most of the Garrett patterns is only about one-third of the Garrett prices as an average some are even less some are higher.”(The quote is in reference to Saul Teichman’s book United States Pattern Coins) Time seems to have fixed All of the pricing problems and you can acquire some Garrett pieces for a bargain.

In the 1990s there were two pattern collectors  that both sought after the $3 denomination; their names were Herry W. Bass and Richard J. Salisbury. They both had ample funds and every time a rare pattern came up for auction all the bets would be off the table they would shatter records and the prices would Skyrocket overtime though the market did normalize. Overall the long-term pattern prices have been on the rise,Whether this can change on a moment's notice due to conditions such as demand and competition between buyers.


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