50 Dollars, Pattern, United States, 1877


Patterns and experimental pieces form one of the most interesting groups of specimens associated with official coinage. It was customary for the Mint to provide samples of a proposed coin. More patterns were made in 1877 than in any other year. The Gold Rush in California prompted the merchants and bankers in San Francisco to lobby Congress for gold pieces of high denomination for quick counting purposes when a branch mint was established in their city in 1854. The design for the proposed large coin was similar to the $20 double eagle. Senator William Gwin of California introduced a bill for the adoption of this coin. His bill passed the Senate but failed to win approval in the House of Representatives. Although the coin was not approved, the proposal for such a large coin was feasible only after enough of the precious metal was available with the discovery of vast quantities in California. The depiction of Liberty on the obverse was a familiar symbol of national identity by 1877 for Americans.

Date Made: 1877

Maker: U.S. MintDesigner: Barber, William

Place Made: United States

See more items in: Work and Industry: National Numismatic Collection, Coins, Currency and Medals

Exhibition: Value of Money

Exhibition Location: National Museum of American History

Related Web Publication: http://americanhistory.si.edu/coins/glossary.cfm

Related Publication: Glossary of Coins and Currency Terms

Credit Line: U.S. Department of the Treasury, United States Mint

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: 1986.0836.0060Accession Number: 1986.0836Catalog Number: 1986.0836.0060

Object Name: coinpattern coin

Physical Description: gold (overall material)Measurements: overall: .3 cm x 5.11 cm; 1/8 in x 2 in

Guid: http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ng49ca746a2-ce43-704b-e053-15f76fa0b4fa

Record Id: nmah_472684

Our collection database is a work in progress. We may update this record based on further research and review. Learn more about our approach to sharing our collection online.

If you would like to know how you can use content on this page, see the Smithsonian's Terms of Use. If you need to request an image for publication or other use, please visit Rights and Reproductions.