From the NGC Archives: 1859 Copper Pattern Half Dollar J-240, P-296

Posted on 7/16/2013

Pattern coins are struck as needed to illustrate a proposed new denomination, design or metallic composition. While formerly sold openly by the United States Mint, these coins are now routinely destroyed once their original purpose has been served.

Most surviving US Mint patterns date from the 19th Century.

The ambitious Mint Director, James R. Snowden, anticipated a sweeping redesign of the silver coinage in 1859, and this fine pattern resulted from his program. It features a bust of Liberty that has been described as James B. Longacres interpretation of the Vaticans Apollo Belvedere. Anthony Paquet created the reverse of this coin, and its wreath was adapted to the dime and half dime beginning in 1860. Coined in copper with a reeded edge, this splendid impression is fully struck and possesses exceptionally clean and bright surfaces. Charming blushes of iridescent, rainbow colors accent lovely toning of deep chestnut.

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