One (1) 50 dollar coin, pattern
United States, 1877
Obverse Image: Left-facing Liberty wearing a coronet. 13 stars.
Obversre Text: LIBERTY / 1877
Reverse Image: A modified heraldic eagle with a shield over chest, holding a double scroll, clutching arrows and branch. Rays and stars above eagle.
Reverse Text: UNITED STATES OF AMERICA / FIFTY DOLLARS / IN GOD WE TRUST / E PLURIBUS UNUM
Some twenty years after the private sector had abandoned the idea of a fifty-dollar gold piece in the mid-1850s, the Philadelphia Mint considered the possibility of a federal coin of this denomination. There was even talk of a "union," or hundred-dollar coin, and a drawing or two has survived to suggest what the Mint had in mind. But in the end, no such coin was ever produced.
The project went a bit farther in the case of the "half-union." Dies were prepared, the work of William Barber (father of the eventual Mint Chief Engraver Charles E. Barber).
Barber's obverse and reverse designs look vaguely akin to Longacre's work for the double eagle. A few patterns were struck in copper and two in gold; the latter share a reverse die but each has a slightly different obverse die. The project was abandoned soon afterwards, as it became apparent that the new coin simply wasn't needed.
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