Treasures From The Vault, Part I

Posted on August 5, 2010 by

U.S. Patterns cover a wide range of coins that were struck (for the most part) to test new designs, new metal  compositions, new denominations, or new minting techniques.  They are an extremely interesting series that include famous coins such as: 1792 Silver-Center Cent; 1879 and 1880 Stellas; the 1866 No Motto Quarter, Half, and Dollar; certain Gobrecht Dollars; and a plethora of other rarities.  Most patterns are extremely rare, many of them unique or with mintages in the low single digits, although there are exceptions (over 1,000 1856 Flying Eagle Cents were made).  Pattern coins appear on the market infrequently and usually end up in strong hands when they sell.  In some cases, it might be years (or even decades) before a particular pattern coin comes on the market.  Thus, building a collection of patterns is an expensive, life-long pursuit.

Just finding pictures of the coins is difficult.  I know, because I’ve been uploading images of U.S. Pattern coins to the PCGS CoinFacts site for the past year.  There are a lot of “holes” waiting to be filled.

Recently, two opportunities arose for us to make significant additions to the Pattern section on PCGS CoinFacts.  The first was the opportunity to grade and photograph many of the pattern coins from the Simpson collection, the largest collection of pattern coins ever assembled in the modern era.  The second was the appearance at the recent PCGS Invitational show( in Las Vegas) of a large collection of over 100 different pattern coins, including dual-metal and unique or semi-unique pieces.  Surprisingly, there was very little overlap between the two collections, allowing us to really “beef” up this section of our website.

If you’re a subscriber to PCGS CoinFacts, you’ll enjoy a stroll through this fortified section of our website.  If you’re not a subscriber, join today at  You’ll be glad you did!

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