More Die Trial Specimens that escaped melting at the Mint in 1873 ?

Nov 22, 2021
I feel that I have a very good case, with plenty of evidence.

I purchased, on November 19, what was listed as a paperweight, for $37.99. It arrived this afternoon. All of the coins are struck copper-bronze, with I believe lead bottom to the piece and lead binding each coin to the pile.

There are examples of every gold coin denomination, $1, $2 1/2, $3, $5, $10, and $20.

Significantly, no date shows after 1873. The Coinage Act of 1873 reorganized the Mints and put them under control of the Treasury Department. A lot of previous chaos and shenanigans were put to a stop. The bill was signed into law by President Ulysses S. Grant on February 12, 1873 and the day of transition was April 1, 1873.

I think someone had been putting this piece together for a lot of years and quit and took it home before the day of transition. Thus, no dates of 1874 or later.

These trial specimens show evidence of having been used and re-used many times. The fields are full of all kinds of re-strikes. There is die rotation with doubling and tripling and all kinds of effects.

One of the attached images shows the lower rim of a gold dollar pattern that is along one edge of this piece. It is a 13mm planchet. There is the date of 1861, with the 6 on its side and damaged. Just above the 8 is a visible 53. That demonstrates use of that planchet at least from 1853 through 1861, for experimentation. When you turn this thing on edge, you can see 4 or 5 more planchets of the same 13mm size stacked up under that particular one. This suggests that the bottom specimens might go all the way back to 1849. The span of 1849 through 1873 is quite a long one. Who knows what all is on this? I am not up on tech, but maybe some kind of electron microscope could deep-image all of the layers, to reveal the details, with no need to attempt to physically pry this all apart.

The thinking has been that the largest percentage of trials and patterns were melted and lost. Well, someone with access saved all of these. Whether it was William Barber, or the melter who was employed at Philadelphia, or someone else, the fact is that the reality of this can not be denied.

This also ties in to another individual specimen that I found on my old family property back in 1989. Through the 90s, I tried to explain the situation to Andrew W. Pollock III and many others in the numismatic world, but all I received was intense denial, even though I had accompanying photos, including the one attached here that pretty clearly shows a miniature version of Lady Liberty as she had appeared on the 1792 Birch Cent, as well as many other designs.

Clive Cussler was the only one who offered encouragement. I still have the letter he sent me in 1997, in which he stated that he felt that I was onto something and that I should not give up.

I never have. I think that vindication will be coming my way quite soon. I think that this is a pretty big chunk of our heretofore missing United States numismatic history. I also think that the Treasury Department would lose out in any legal battle, because this pre-dates their jurisdiction over the Mint and all that transpired before.

Here is a bit of info on patterns and trials:



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