1867 Pattern 5C, Judd-582, Pollock-642, R.8, Proof 61 PCGS
The portrait of Liberty on the obverse is adapted from the three-cent nickel design which made its debut in 1865. The reverse is the regular-issue type of the year without rays. Struck in nickel (possibly of non-Mint origin) with a plain edge. Mostly brilliant surfaces with splashes of navy blue on both sides and wisps of pink on the high points and at the rims. The reverse shows pronounced double striking, with a 5° to 10° rotation between impressions. Although certified as nickel, the metal looks to us to be silver (which would make it Pollock-643, also Rarity-8). The authors of both the current edition of Judd (10th) and Pollock in his United States Patterns and Related Issues assigned the R.8 rating to the Judd-582 variety. The only example known to Pollock was the G.D. Woodside coin, which was cited by Don Taxay in his Comprehensive Catalogue. Many years often transpire between auction appearances; the specialist might have to wait a decade or more to have another chance to bid on an example.
This particular pattern embodies a mystery, as mentioned in the description. If you are the successful bidder perhaps this will prompt you to learn all you can about it, and perhaps answer the question as to where it was struckwithin the walls of America's largest rare coin dealer at the time (the U.S. Mint) or outside in the private sector. Some numismatists believe that pieces from this die combination were made outside the Mint by Mickley, Crosby, or some other numismatist who had bought some pattern dies as scrap. One objection to this hypothesis is that the dies of this piece are devoid of the rust and heavy cracks that the majority of private restrikes seem to exhibit (look at the 1804 Restrike cent illustrated in the Guide Book for example). The present cataloguer (JRJ) is inclined to the view that these pieces were more likely made hurriedly by "midnight minter(s)" who probably struck various mulings from pattern dies to have something to sell to connoisseurs of numismatic delicacies. Walter Breen was the first to hypothesize that some Mint workmen had a secret coinage operation to manufacture mulings and other concocted rarities after normal operating hours had ended for the day. An intriguing specimen that is sure to spark the interest of numerous bidders. (PCGS 60794)