A pattern coin is a coin which has not been approved for release, produced to evaluate a proposed coin design. They are often off-metal strike, to proof standard or piedforts. Many Coin collectors collect and study pattern coins because of their historical importance. Many of the world's most …
Regular coin (left), pattern coin (center) and piedfort (right)
1868 pattern for a large cent-sized, copper-nickel, ten-cent piece. From the Harry W. Bass, Jr. Collection.
Image: NNC US 1792 1C Pattern Silver Center Cent (J 2)