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Legality Of Owning Classic Pattern Coins

 
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United States
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 Posted 07/26/2021  10:49 pm Show Profile   Bookmark this topic Add ElmerFlick to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
It's well documented that the US Government will actively pursue 1974 aluminum cents as they were not officially released by the mint and are considered patterns (I think). My question is as such - why are pattern coins from the 1800's regularly traded without repercussion? The patterns were also not officially released. Wouldn't they also be considered mint property?

Angyale

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 Posted 07/26/2021  10:51 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add jimbucks to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Not if sold by the mint to private individuals, which I think many of them were. Also many were "gifted" to mint officials or friends of such.
Edited by jimbucks
07/26/2021 10:54 pm
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Australia
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 Posted 07/26/2021  11:47 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add sel_69l to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
The American Court system is bafflingly complex and very varied in it's judgements in the past, and will be into the future as well.
The British system of Common Law has an equally poor record, although in most cases, perhaps a little cheaper in it's costs.

Thus, it is the lawyers that have made very well out of numismatics, and also helps to explain why some of them have become famous coin collectors. Some may consider this to be rather ironic.

That perhaps is the background that provides most of the confusion that you perceive for aluminum pattern Cents, and why it is illegal to privately own some pattern coins, but not others.

With all of the above as a background, it matters little what my personal opinion may be. If I would have any of significant value to say in a Court of Law, I would have been comprehensively bamboolzed, then bulldozed out of the way.

Nevertheless, I have about a dozen or so very rare World pattern coins, mostly won at public auction.
If I have to consider all of the Laws around each World pattern coin that I own, that govern the current ownership of each individual coin,
that consideration would be an exercise in futility.

Just remember that if you are considering to acquire a particular pattern coin, do your extensive legal research first. It may well save you expensive legal costs, especially when it comes to selling (before or after you kick the bucket).
Edited by sel_69l
07/27/2021 07:59 am
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 Posted 07/27/2021  12:28 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add hfjacinto to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
The Aluminum cents along with the 1964 Peace dollars are considered government property as they were never released hence they are stolen if you ever acquire one. I personally believe that they are out there and traded among the "richer" of the collectors. But since the minute they are publicly put up for sale they will be confiscated one would be really dumb to advertise they own one. Whether they are patterns or limited edition doesn't matter as they were never officially released.
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 Posted 07/27/2021  10:22 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Petespockets55 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
The 1974 aluminum cents were presented to (some?) members of congress but were then "reclaimed".

Here's a couple of links to info on the web.
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-...dUSKCN0WK05Q
(From 2016)
".... A San Diego man who inherited from his father a 1974 aluminum penny valued at $2 million has surrendered it to the U.S. Mint to settle a lawsuit over ownership of the rare coin, ....

.... The Mint made about 1.6 million of the aluminum coins and distributed them to Congress in anticipation of approval. When lawmakers rejected it, the Mint reclaimed the aluminum cents and destroyed almost all of them, leaving one to the Smithsonian in Washington, where it remains.

Lawrence inherited one of the coins and a third aluminum penny turned up in the possession of a U.S. Capitol police officer, who said it was given to him by a member of Congress, according to the Professional Coin Grading Service website."


The next LINK/info from the US Mint site states this coin was a Denver mint, which was not authroized to produce any aluminum cents.
https://www.usmint.gov/news/inside-...cent-project

" ... Preparing Aluminum Blanks

In 1974, a batch of experimental sheets of an aluminum alloy was sent to Denver to be cut into cent blanks and shipped back to Philadelphia. This was done because Denver's blanks were slightly larger than the ones used in Philadelphia and the experimental team wanted to see if the different size affected the alloy's utility.

The Denver Mint was not authorized to strike any experimental aluminum cent and most of the blanks were returned to Philadelphia as instructed. Nonetheless, at least one Denver Mint employee recalls striking experimental cents on the aluminum blanks using used an existing "D" marked die. This effort was unauthorized and in direct contradiction to official instructions.

In March 1974, the House of Representatives introduced a bill to authorize the United States Mint to issue one-cent coins composed of the proposed aluminum alloy. Ultimately, Congress declined to enact the legislation and prices quickly fell by year's end when the government released its supply of stockpiled copper. When the price of copper rose again in 1982, the Mint changed the composition of cents to a copper-plated zinc alloy.
Return of the Unauthorized Denver Specimen

In 2016, an heir of Harry Edmond Lawrence, the now-deceased former assistant superintendent at the Denver Mint, returned the 1974-dated "D" aluminum cent that had once been in the possession of his father.

The United States Mint is dedicated to the integrity of United States coinage and the numismatic hobby. The return of the unauthorized Denver specimen supports the longstanding and fundamental principle that items made at United States Mint facilities, but not lawfully issued or otherwise lawfully disposed of, remain property of the American people."

So now I'm wondering if Philly cents might be legal to own if one turns up (but definitely not Denver cents)?

ps. Did anyone else notice the comment about the blanks in Denver being slightly larger? Did not know that!!!!
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 Posted 07/27/2021  11:46 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add jbuck to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
To be clear, this topic is more about the legality of classic US patterns, not the 1974 aluminium cent, which was given as an example of something that may not be legal to own.
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 Posted 07/27/2021  3:55 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add suipakpaikungfu to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I believe the US Mint traded a chest full of patterns for the 1849 $50 gold piece
owned by John Woodin (?). Since they were legally traded, there would not be an
issue with them.
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 Posted 07/27/2021  5:10 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Oldfordman to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
They traded them in for other coins. I think some are recorded to be graded for Pine tree coppers and other older coins.
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United States
17483 Posts
 Posted 07/27/2021  7:19 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Conder101 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Back in the 19th century pattern coins were frequently sold to collectors requesting them or traded for items not in the Mint Cabinet. The mint would even send base metal patterns to numismatic societies free of charge upon request. They would send gold and silver patterns as well, but for those the value of the metal had to be paid for to keep the bullion accounts in balance.

In 1896 it was made illegal to own pattern coins dated after that 1896. (Can't find citation, US Statutes at Large between 1875 and 1951 are not available online) Even so patterns dated as late as the 1940's have been owned by private citizens and the government has never tried to enforce the law. They also seem to draw a line between patterns and experimental pieces. Experimental pieces with with nonsense inscriptions or experimental designs not actually intended to be a circulation coin design seem to be acceptable to own. For example they have never tried to demand the return of the Martha Washington experimental pieces.

So any classic pattern coin dated before 1896 should be legal to own.
Gary Schmidt
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 Posted 07/28/2021  10:47 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Oldfordman to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:

So any classic pattern coin dated before 1896 should be legal to own.

What about the 1913 V nickels then
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 Posted 07/28/2021  11:42 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add kbbpll to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Aren't the 1907 $20 high relief coins "experimental"? The 1907 $10 wire rims are also considered patterns not intended for circulation. Charles Barber had some other post-1896 patterns in his collection and I believe most of them were sold, but I didn't dig farther than HA to try to find them. I don't know for sure but it seems like the mint draws the line at something they specifically ordered melted, recalled, or never authorized as is the case with 1933 and 1974.
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 Posted 07/28/2021  12:48 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Oldfordman to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Aren't there experimental sac dollars too?
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 Posted 07/28/2021  8:08 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add fortcollins to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Some of the confusion may stem from a lack of records. Many of the earlier mint records do not exist today or are incomplete. IMHO, the focus is on newer coins, patterns, and specimen strikes, because the mint currently keeps much better records of ownership and intent.
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 Posted 07/28/2021  11:30 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Conder101 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
What about the 1913 V nickels then

1913 is not before 1896, and the 1913 V nickel also was not a pattern so the discussion here does not apply.


Quote:
Aren't the 1907 $20 high relief coins "experimental"?

No, they were production strikes, the Extremely high relief coins I would consider to be patterns.


Quote:
The 1907 $10 wire rims are also considered patterns not intended for circulation.

The "wire rim" coins of both the eagle and the double eagle are actually the result of an improper setting on the upsetting mill. Once the coins began production and the wire rims were noted the upsetting mill was reset and the wire rims eliminated.


Quote:
Charles Barber had some other post-1896 patterns in his collection and I believe most of them were sold,

Did you see what I said about the government not generally enforcing the no post 1896 patterns ruls?
Gary Schmidt
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