A “Pattern” coin is a coin that was produced for consideration to be used in circulation but, for the most part, never released to the general public and not released into general circulation. Many have interesting and detailed designs and some resemble coins that actually made it into circulation with minor differences. Often times, the samples were given to Congressman, Senators, high-ranking government officials and Presidents. And for this reason, I have classified them as having a “Pedigree” status.
Sometimes a Pattern coin can be traced through its’ life but most times the ownership trail has vanished. But still, it is intriguing to know that the Pattern coin you now have in your ownership may have been the property of a US Senator 100 years ago.
The Patterns that I particularly enjoy are the dollar coins and the half dollar coins. Regarding the dollar coins, my favorite is the “Goloid” dollar. Patterns for this coin were produced in 3 years (1878, 1879 and 1880). Also, a number of varieties were produced (approximately 100 different patterns have been identified and they were struck in other metals, including aluminum, copper, normal coin silver, lead, and white metal.).
My favorite variety is the Judd-1626 variety. The technical description is:
J-1626, Goloid metric dollar. The William Barber design. The obverse has a head of Liberty facing left with E PLURBUS UNUM above) and the date 1879 below. Miss Liberty is wearing a cap inscribed LIBERTY in incuse letters. The cap band is ornamented with ears of wheat, and cotton leaves and bolls. There are 13 stars at the border arranged seven left and six right. Reverse with the inscription 15.3: G. /236.7 -S. /28 -C. / 14 GRAMS centered within a circle of 38 stars. The legend UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, the denomination GOLOID METRIC DOLLAR above the circle, and the motto DEO EST GLORIA and the denomination 100 CENTS below. Goloid alloy, reeded edge.
This particular Goloid pattern was made up of primarily gold, silver and copper. Other trace elements were included in the content of the coin. The mixture was such that gold accounted for 50 cents of the value and silver the remaining 50 cents. The coinage was ultimately rejected because it was too similar to the silver dollar and could not be distinguished without chemical analysis. The coin would have created the opportunity for counterfeiters to use more copper as a substitute for the gold and make lower-value copies.
Shown below is an example of the 1879 Judd-1626 Goloid Pattern dollar. Please note the unique reverse of the coin and particularly: 1.) It lists the gold, silver and copper composition; 2.) On the top it states “Goloid Metric Dollar” and around the bottom 100 Cents”.