Experimental pieces from U.S. Mint have fascinating histories
Coin World recently explored opportunities in "pattern coins
," the experimental pieces produced by the U.S. Mint.
"are typically something that most collectors consider inaccessible due to cost and rarity," it said. "Yet some can be found for less than $1,000 that still pack that undeniable 'wow' factor that accompanies unusual patterns."
However, those investing in such specimens at bargain prices should be prepared to clean or otherwise remediate the coin. Of course, never do so without expert guidance from a professional numismatist or conservator.
An especially fruitful area for pattern collecting involves "the many cents produced during the 1858 to 1859 period of transition from the Flying Eagle
to the Indian Head cent
." The latter coin saw production challenges that resulted in a plethora of surviving pattern cents.