US Coins

Market Analysis: Pattern coins that don’t break the bank

A Judd 150 “German silver” pattern for an 1853-dated cent graded Proof 65 by PCGS with a green CAC sticker realized $4,560, while a PCGS Proof 64 copper-nickel pattern for an 1856-dated half cent sold for $4,200.

All images courtesy of Heritage Auctions.

Sometimes patterns differ significantly from regular issue coins, like an 1853 pattern for a cent, struck on a thin “German silver” planchet and graded Proof 65 by Professional Coin Grading Service with a green Certified Acceptance Corp. sticker that brought $4,560 at Heritage’s Jan. 5 Harry W. Bass Jr. Foundation Core Collection auction.

A regular obverse die for a Coronet gold $2.50 quarter eagle was paired with a laurel wreath reverse spelling out the denomination ONE CENT. It’s one of around a dozen examples of the Judd 150, Pollock 178 type known.

Other times patterns look similar to contemporary circulating coins, as seen in a Judd 177, Pollock 205 pattern for an 1856-dated half cent graded Proof 64 by PCGS struck from regular 1856 half cent dies with a plain edge in a copper-nickel alloy instead of copper. It sold for $4,200.

Heritage writes, “These were experimental strikes manufactured for distribution to congressional and Treasury officials for their approval.” Optimistic estimates suggest that around 100 are known.

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