1870 3C Three Cent Silver, Judd-796, Pollock-883, High R.7

The obverse is the Seated Liberty design of William Barber, not the same as the production Seated Liberty coinage: Liberty faces left, with her right hand supporting a shield and simultaneously holding a ribbon reading LIBERTY. She bears an olive branch in her left hand, and a Liberty cap protrudes from behind. UNITED STATES is to the left, and OF AMERICA to the right. The date 1870 is in exergue. The same obverse design was also used for the Standard Silver five cent patterns of the year (Judd-809 through 814). On the reverse, somewhat mismatched in size, is the regular-issue reverse for the three cent silver. Struck in silver with a plain edge.

Among the various metals in which this pattern was recorded struck, the silver and aluminum pieces are apparently of the highest rarity. Estimated three or four pieces exist today.

PR66 $23,000.00 (May 28, 2009 HA.com)
1870 3C Three Cent Silver, Judd-797, Pollock-884, Low R.7

A seated Liberty faces left while supporting a shield with a scroll inscribed LIBERTY on her right side and holding an olive branch in her left hand. A crudely fashioned cap atop a pole awkwardly looms in the background. UNITED STATES / OF AMERICA occupies the periphery with the date, 1870, in exergue. The reverse design is that featured on the regular three cent silver pieces of the year: Roman numeral III, branch with three berries above, three arrows and ribbon below, all within an ornate C. Thirteen stars encircle the design. The smaller-diameter reverse die accounts for the abnormally large border on that side. Struck in silver with a reeded edge.

James B. Longacre died on January 1, 1869, and William Barber was named Chief Engraver shortly thereafter. The obverse die that produced Judd-797 through Judd-801 is attributed as Barber's work and was also used to strike the Judd-809 through Judd-820 1870 half dime patterns. The same motif is used on several other pattern issues dated 1870, although the execution of the design on the three cent silver and half dime patterns is slightly less refined than found on the larger-denomination issues.

PR66 $7,475.00 (Jan 6, 2009 HA.com)
1870 3C Three Cent Silver, Judd-799, Pollock-886, Low R.7

A seated Liberty faces left while supporting a shield with a scroll inscribed LIBERTY on her right side and holding an olive branch in her left hand. A crudely fashioned cap atop a pole awkwardly looms in the background. UNITED STATES / OF AMERICA occupies the periphery with the date, 1870, in exergue. The reverse design is that featured on the regular three cent silver pieces of the year: Roman numeral III, branch with three berries above, three arrows and ribbon below, all within an ornate C. Thirteen stars encircle the design. The smaller-diameter reverse die accounts for the abnormally large border on that side. Struck in copper with a reeded edge.

A rarely offered variety. The Official Red Book of Auction Records by Dannreuther and Garrett (2006) lists three sales of this pattern at auction between 1992 and 2004. The ninth edition of the Judd reference notes that this issue was "made in quantity as a numismatic curiosity." The curiosity comment is accurate, but the statement should read, "made in a limited quantity," since it would appear that less than a dozen examples are known in all grades. In fact, the combined population at NGC and PCGS is 10 pieces--a figure that likely includes resubmissions of the same pattern.

PR67 $11,500.00 (Jan 6, 2009 HA.com)
1849 P3CS Three Cent Silver, Judd-112 Original, Pollock-126, Low R.7

The obverse die is of the Seated Liberty half dime, while the reverse bears the Roman numeral III with no other legends. A "coin without a country," struck in a 60:40 silver:copper alloy with a reeded edge.

Save for a couple of unique and unusual pieces listed in Judd for 1840 and 1846, the 1849 three cent patterns in their several varieties are the first U.S. pattern coins struck since 1839--or, to put it more precisely, bearing a date after 1839.

PR64 $6,325.00 (Jan 6, 2009 HA.com)
Seated Three Cents Patterns
Source for information and pictures courtesy of  Heritage Coin Auctions
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