Click to enlargeJ327/P397

One of the Presentation coins from the 1863 set presented to Salmon P. Chase. Photo courtesy of David Cassel.

Postage Currency patterns are as a group one of the most misunderstood of all pattern series. Research by David Cassel has found that many of the descriptions by weight, edge characteristics, and alloys listed in Judd and Pollock are inaccurate to say the least. We recommend that you refer to the 'Pattern Concordance' on this website for this year to see all the alloys which have been found by David Cassel. They are listed in the Concordance using David Cassel's decimal numbering system.

David Cassel's book on Postage Currency Patterns is now available. For more on this, click here.

Examples were struck as follows:

Silver with reeded edge J325A/P391. Apparently this does not exist. Analysis proved the only reported piece to be a J330A/P401.

Silver with plain edge J325/P390. 45 pieces were struck on May 20, 1863. They exist in 3 weight classes, 20 grains, 22 grains and 38 grains, the latter apparently on standard dime planchets and with medal alignment.

Silver-Aluminum alloy P392. (75% silver, 25% aluminum) Probably does not exist. Taxay reported this composition for a piece at the Smithsonian, but it has not been tested. David Cassel reports another piece, also not tested, and believes that both coins are unlikely to be as described.

Billon with reeded edge P393. Probably does not exist.

Billon with plain edge J326A/P394. 27 pieces were struck on May 27, 1863. 24-25 grains. Silver content varies from roughly 10%-40%.

Copper (pure) with reeded edge J326/P395 with 5 examples confirmed as follows: To see images available images of this and the next, click here.

1) Reed-Durham Museum

2) Mitchelson-CSL

3) Bass-Heritage 8/14 as NGC64RB, Simpson-Heritage 2/21, Atherton-Heritage 5/23 - PCGS64RB

4) Cassel-Heritage 8/15 - NGC65RB

5) Heritage 4/18 as NGC65BN, LegendAuctions 11/18 - PCGS65BN shows an image of a 6th example grading PCGS64RB. We do not know if the coin was tested or not.

These weigh 35-36 grains.

Copper (pure) with plain edge J326B/P396 with 2 examples as noted below:

1) Stacks 3/92, Heritage 7/04 as PCGS64RB, Superior 1/05, Heritage 1/12 as NGC64RB, Heritage 4/12 as NGC64RB, Cassel-Heritage 4/15 PCGS64RB and weighs 19.7 grains

2) Simpson-Heritage 1/21 - PCGS65BN but has not been tested.

A supposed third example ex Heritage 1/12 and 4/12 - NGC65RB has been tested and proved to be billon, not copper. The 3 examples listed in Pollock were all tested and found to be billon not copper.

Note: It is not unusual for some of the billon examples to tone a coppery color. Testing is recommended for any such specimen to verify its composition.

Aluminum with plain edge J327/P397 with 16 pieces struck on May 20, 1863 and 15 pieces struck on May 27, 1863. All pieces confirmed by David Cassel are on thin (8 grain) planchets, although thick (11 grain) planchet specimens have long been thought to exist.

Aluminum with reeded edge J328/P398 with all confirmed specimens struck on 11 grain planchets, alloyed with small amounts of silver. Fewer than a half dozen are known with most showing some corrosion.

Note: J327 and J328 typically contain, very roughly, 1% silicon and 1% iron. These are believed to be impurities in the aluminum, not intentional additions.

Block Tin with reeded edge P400. Probably does not exist.

Block Tin with plain edge J329/P399 with 39 struck in block (impure) tin on May 20, 1863 in weights of 21 and 27 grains.

Block Tin Alloy with plain edge J330/P399 with 15 pieces reportedly struck on May 27, 1863, supposedly in 97% block (impure) tin, alloyed with 3% copper. No tested pieces have matched this composition. However, any piece that is predominantly tin, contains more than 1% in elements that might have been used to harden the planchet, e.g., copper or iron, and which does not closely conform to the 21 or 27 grain weight of J329, should tentatively be classified as J330. More research is needed.

Nickel (75% Copper, 25% Nickel) with reeded edge J330A/P401 with only 3 or 4 are known per David Cassel including: To see images of all of these, click

1) Dibello-Stacks 5/70, B/R RCR #16 1972& #17 1973, B/R 11/74, B/R 6/77, Superior 8/91 (as J325a) - R. Klein NGC65

2) Stacks 10/88, Queller-Heritage 1/09 FUN, Heritage 4/18 NGC64

3) Stacks 9/87, Dr Musikoff (via Parrino 1997 FPL), Goldberg 10/2000, Cassel-Heritage 8/15 PCGS65