Specialized pattern sets in August sale by Heritage Auctions

Sessions include David Cassel's postage currency, aluminum patterns
By , Coin World
Published : 07/08/15
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Two of collector and numismatic author David Cassel’s collections will be offered by Heritage Auctions in conjunction with the American Numismatic Association World’s Fair of Money in Rosemont, Ill., in August.

Cassel is the author of the 2000 reference United States Pattern Postage Currency Coins, and the auction offerings will include his U.S. patterns struck in aluminum and his U.S. postage currency patterns.

Patterns are experimental pieces produced to test new designs, compositions, denominations and coinage concepts. Some patterns become approved coins while other patterns are never adopted. Both of Cassel’s specialities fall into the latter category.

Postage currency patterns were produced following the hoarding of regular issue circulating coinage during the Civil War. 

The proposed metallic postage currency was intended to redeem the small-denomination postal currency paper notes that Congress had authorized as emergency monetary issues to stand in for hoarded regular coinage. The notes themselves turned out to be a more practical solution than any new form of coinage would be.

Among Cassel’s postage currency pattern coins are several varieties known by only one or two examples.

Cassel’s collection includes an 1863 dime pattern, Judd 326b, graded Professional Coin Grading Service Proof 64 red and brown; 1863 dime pattern, Judd 331A, PCGS Proof 64 brown, unique in copper; and an 1868 dime pattern, Judd 645, PCGS Proof 64 red and brown. (The pieces in Cassel’s collections are attributed by Judd number as cataloged in United States Pattern Coins by J. Hewitt Judd, edited by Q. David Bowers.)

➤ The Judd 326b pattern is one of just two examples known struck in copper with a plain edge.

The composition was originally believed to be billon — an alloy predominantly made of copper with a small amount of silver — but confirmation of the pure copper composition was made through Scanning Electron Microscopy with Energy Dispersive X-Ray Analysis.

The only other example known is graded Proof 65 red and brown by Numismatic Guaranty Corp. It was offered twice in 2012, in January and April, by Heritage, but did not sell in either auction.

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