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Official trials and patterns that were sold to collectors

Started by <k>, June 16, 2017, 11:13:19 PM

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<k>

Mints routinely product trials and patterns to experiment with new shapes, sizes, metals and designs. In some cases, unadopted designs have later been resurrected as designs for official circulation coins and official collector coins: Unrealised designs that later became coins.

In other cases, mints have produced limited numbers of trials and patterns to sell to collectors. I am talking here of official products that were legally authorised by recognised countries. These trials have different names in different languages: essai, prova, próba, Probe, prueba, etc. I am specifically NOT talking about fantasies; there are well known pieces that claim to be trial or pattern euros, but in fact they are fantasies produced unofficially for commercial reasons. So, please do not post fantasies here.

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See: The Royal Mint Museum.

<k>



Poland, 20 zloty, 1964.  Próba.

© Image courtesy of GNDM.


Poland produced many such pieces, from the 1960s to the 1980s, presumably to earn much needed foreign currency.

But why call these pieces "próba"?

The Isle of Man is more honest and has produced hundreds of collector coins for entirely commercial reasons.
Visit the website of The Royal Mint Museum.

See: The Royal Mint Museum.

<k>








Brazil, 10 centavos, 1980.  Two carp.  "Prova" (trial piece).

Visit the website of The Royal Mint Museum.

See: The Royal Mint Museum.

<k>



Brazil, 50 centavos, 1980.   Zebu.  "Prova" (trial piece).

Visit the website of The Royal Mint Museum.

See: The Royal Mint Museum.

<k>

UK 2 pounds trial dated 1994.jpg


This UK 2 pound trial, dated 1994.

It was mass-produced and sold to collectors in a specially produced package with explanatory text in 1997.

The cost was around 20 pounds, I believe.
Visit the website of The Royal Mint Museum.

See: The Royal Mint Museum.

<k>



Central African States, 500 francs, 1976.  ESSAI.

Another example.
Visit the website of The Royal Mint Museum.

See: The Royal Mint Museum.

<k>

France 10 francs 1974 ESSAI.jpg

France, 10 francs, 1974.  ESSAI.

Here's an example from France itself. Were such pieces produced for collectors?
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See: The Royal Mint Museum.

Figleaf

France has a long history of marking coins ESSAI and selling them to collectors. Post-truth.

Peter
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

<k>

Thanks, Figleaf. I'm not sure what you mean by post-truth in this context, though.
Visit the website of The Royal Mint Museum.

See: The Royal Mint Museum.

Prosit

I would guess meaning well after normal minting stopped.
Dale

Quote from: <k> on June 17, 2017, 10:39:39 PM
Thanks, Figleaf. I'm not sure what you mean by post-truth in this context, though.

Figleaf

ESSAI is the equivalent of PROBA, etc. or proof in English, as in "test piece". These are of course not test pieces, but just a commercial trick. While there is a (thin) market for them in France, they are not regarded as test pieces. They can indeed be sold long after their year of issue.

It is best practice to call test pieces patterns. They are used to see how the design works out in practice and if it needs to be adjusted. Pieces made for approval of a new design are proofs, but that term has been transferred to a striking technique.

Patterns are not intended to be sold; neither are pieces for approval. Proofs and ESSAIS are. The confusion is made on purpose. The sellers want collectors to think they are buying something not intended to be sold, therefore scarce, while in fact, there are cases where there are more proofs than circulation strikes and ESSAIS usually  do not differ from circulation strikes in a meaningful way. I call that a post-truth. I used to call it commercialism and before that, I called it a lie.

Peter
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

<k>

UK 2003 patterns set.jpg


UK 2003 patterns.jpg


UK 2003 patterns-.jpg

In 2003 the Royal Mint sold a set of four silver patterns depicting bridges.

These designs then appeared on the round pounds from 2004 to 2007.

Cheating or what?  >:(
Visit the website of The Royal Mint Museum.

See: The Royal Mint Museum.

<k>

UK 2004 patterns~.jpg

In 2004 the Royal Mint sold a set of GOLD patterns that depicted heraldic beasts. The designs were by Timothy Noad. My guess is that they narrowly failed to win the competition for the 2004 to 2007 series of pound coin designs but were considered too good to waste.
Visit the website of The Royal Mint Museum.

See: The Royal Mint Museum.

<k>



The original UK EEC 50p commemorative.


UK 2009 40th anniversary set pattern.jpg

The Royal Mint minted an EEC 50 pence that depicted linked arms instead of linked hands.

This was part of the UK 50 pence 40th anniversary proof set.
Visit the website of The Royal Mint Museum.

See: The Royal Mint Museum.

Figleaf

Quote from: Figleaf on June 18, 2017, 09:41:20 AM
It is best practice to call test pieces patterns. They are used to see how the design works out in practice and if it needs to be adjusted.

I stand by the above. If RM had not marked these pieces "pattern", you and I could have safely called them medals and that is what they are. However, "pattern" sells better than "medal", even if it's an alternative fact.

Peter
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.