Author Topic: Patterns and restrikes  (Read 2965 times)

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Offline Md. Shariful Islam

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Patterns and restrikes
« on: May 16, 2012, 11:18:20 AM »
May I ask a novice like question (as I am novice)? What is the meaning of 'Pattern coin'?

Islam

Offline Figleaf

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Re: Patterns and restrikes
« Reply #1 on: May 16, 2012, 11:47:06 AM »
A pattern is produced between the period a design is submitted and actual production of business strikes is started. Its main purpose may be to get approval from the powers that be, or it may be to test the interplay between press, metal and design or both. Often, dies are slightly changed with the benefit of the experience acquired by the pattern. A pattern is not a coin in the sense of money. It is a test piece. As such, it should remain in the mint and be archived or re-melted. This makes patterns quite scarce.

Some governments (France is an example) strike patterns in quantity. They are marked "essai" and are sold to the public.

Some commercial sharks and naive collectors call fantasy pieces patterns. They deserve a prolonged spanking by an angry, but strong farmer. :)

Peter
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Offline Md. Shariful Islam

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Re: Patterns and restrikes
« Reply #2 on: May 16, 2012, 11:56:40 AM »
Thanks Peter. Nice description.

Offline MWM

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Re: Patterns and restrikes
« Reply #3 on: May 16, 2012, 12:42:05 PM »
How can one identify whether the coin is 'pattern' or business strike? Also how one can identify whether a coin is 'restrike'? please explain both.

Offline Figleaf

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Re: Patterns and restrikes
« Reply #4 on: May 16, 2012, 01:19:58 PM »
Excellent question, thank you.

Patterns may differ from business strike in several ways. The most usual case is that the design is different. The differences may be large, or extremely subtle. The mint authorities may for instance decide to lower the relief, which is hardly noticeable, or they may change the die rotation, which is a really big difference. The word "essai" is of course a clear giveaway. In some cases, only the date is different. Test pieces may be in different metal or one-sided. When the patterns are made for approval, they may be proof, double or triple weight.

Restrikes are made when business strike production has ended. They are made with the original dies, which often makes it very difficult to see if a coin is original or restrike. However, the restrikes are not meant for circulation, but for sale to collectors. The most telling sign is often little dots on large, smooth surfaces. Dies rust quickly. Before they are re-used, they must be cleaned if they are rusty, but the oxydation process has "eaten away" small parts of metal, which show up as pits in the die and pox on the coin. If the rust was not removed, you may see pits in the coins, though, because rust takes more volume. Rust should not survive the striking process for long.

Restrikes are often illegal, but for a number of years after Indian independence there seems to have been no legal impediment for Indian mints to produce restrikes of British Indian coins. Some shady states (East Germany is an example) are known to have produced restrikes of coins that had gone up in price in secret. To prevent restrikes, dies must be made unusable, e.g. with a deep scratch across them.

Patterns give insight into the process of developing a coin type. Restrikes only serve commercial purposes. Therefore, many collectors appreciate patterns, but not restrikes.

Peter
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Offline MWM

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Re: Patterns and restrikes
« Reply #5 on: May 16, 2012, 02:12:11 PM »
Thanks Peter. Very nicely explained.
Again,  can anybody, just looking at coin, can identify if the coin is restrike or patttern and not business strike if he dosen't know much about the dates. Like in case of Harry's pattern coin, the date  1961 is giveaway. Otherwise the design is exactly same. Am i right?

Offline Md. Shariful Islam

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Re: Patterns and restrikes
« Reply #6 on: May 16, 2012, 02:35:26 PM »
Do the mint release pattern coins for circulations? I mean ever?

Offline Figleaf

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Re: Patterns and restrikes
« Reply #7 on: May 16, 2012, 03:26:39 PM »
Again,  can anybody, just looking at coin, can identify if the coin is restrike or patttern and not business strike if he dosen't know much about the dates. Like in case of Harry's pattern coin, the date  1961 is giveaway. Otherwise the design is exactly same. Am i right?

I think the pattern has the same design as the business strike, but I haven't - as Noman Nasir amusingly called it - counted berries and beads. The date is the giveaway. Or are you thinking that Harry's coin could be a restrike? In that case, the answer is that it is highly unlikely. The patterns would have been produced in London and the master dies sent to India would have carried no date. The dies would have received a business strike date, so none of the original dies in India would have carried the date 1861 and I believe the London mint made its dies unusable. Probably, the easiest way to imitate that pattern is to change the date of a business strike. This is so difficult that it is normally visible if you know what to look for.

Do the mint release pattern coins for circulations? I mean ever?

No and yes :) Patterns are not released for circulation ever, but they can be made for sale (the French case again.) However, they sometimes inadvertently do find their way into circulation or at least they find a way out of the mint. The most common way is that an official takes them home and forgets about them or can't find them in his office any more when the mint wants them back. They turn up later and are added to the small number of patterns available to collectors - the late Texas millionaire Harry Bass had an impressive collection of patterns.

In the US, there is some legal precedent that an object that should not have left the mint is considered stolen and must be returned for destruction, no matter how it is obtained. In other countries, rules of ownership and evidence are different.

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

Offline Figleaf

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Re: Patterns and restrikes
« Reply #8 on: May 16, 2012, 03:39:49 PM »
Here is something to confuse you even further. A piece to demonstrate the capabilities of what was to become a coinage press in India. In my mind, there is little difference between a piece to test a design (pattern) and a piece to test a press. Both are parts of minting history (as opposed to part of coinage in circulation). Yet, the pattern can be found in all better coin catalogues, wile the demo piece has found a place in a token catalogue. Unfair! ;)

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

Offline repindia

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Re: Patterns and restrikes
« Reply #9 on: May 16, 2012, 04:43:27 PM »
There are many restrikes known of the Indian patterns too, especially those produced in Calcutta.  >:(

As Peter said patterns are not meant to be for circulation and so they are produced in proof finish. I however have one example of a 1861 1/4 anna which is not produced as a proof. Comparing it with my other proof example, the difference is striking (no pun intended)! I wish I could post pictures now but am unable to.