Pattern Coins - Are They Rubbish?

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I normally write about fakes but there is currently a spate of so-called patterns being sold on eBay and these pieces of nonsense are being described as rare.

I should have hoped that people would do their research before bidding for rubbish like these but I was shocked today - 7 February 2008 - to discover that bidding for this piece of rubbish, item 130193971893 has already hit £142 with 14 hours yet to go and congratulations to lordlen48 for paying £155 for this load of rubbish:


This is nothing more than a modern item and is worth no more than its scrap value and of that I cannot be sure because the seller fails to state size and weight though he waxes lyrical about the period. The very crude engraving also suggests to me that the item is rather small. The fact that it is of mixed metals - a bit of gold plated on silver - suggests to me that it may not even have a scrap value.

There is a whole series of this rubbish, depicting kings and queens, all of gold-plated silver and none are of any value! Here is another one:


Of course, there are such things as patterns. Some of these will appear in speciality catalogues, such as Peck for Copper and Bronze coins and there are reputable sellers who will sell such items from time to time and may be trusted. However, there are more and more coins being offered as patterns. Most of these are of very recent origin and are usually worthless. In some cases, the seller attempts to sell Chinese fakes of US coins as patterns and these cannot be sold on eBay. 

As a general rule, collectible patterns were contemporaneous with the monarch that they depict and were either produced by or at the invitation of the Royal Mint for consideration as an alternative to the design of the day or were gratuitously submitted by the manufacturer for consideration, and the real ones can be very valuable and are often attractive and interesting. Don't waste your money on anything else.

The items depicted in this guide are not rare or valuable and should be avoided. I would never buy such items and would not sell them for fear of damaging my reputation. To pay £155 for one of these is stupid and reckless.

As I reflect on the situation in February 2011, it is clear that things have gone from bad to worse. If you look on eBay, you can now find pages of so-called patterns and all of these are garbage.

Many of these patterns are modern ones but showing portraits of earlier monarchs from the UK. They are sometimes made of silver but sometimes of base metal. Here is a rather odious one:


This one fooled the buyer and fooled me. It is made of copper and the obverse looks very like that used on the Bank of England dollar of 1804.

These patterns have no merit, no value and the only buyers are those who believe that they may be able to make a profit from them and as long as there are fools out there, there will be willing sellers.

Please, spend your money wisely; buy a real coin and you have bought a piece of history and maybe you will make a profit but never from this garbage.

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