An example of Pollock #2082, the Martha Washington Quarter, has been discovered and was purchased by Michael Byers of Byers Numismatic Corp. (byersnc.com). So far, this is the only known example in private hands. There is one set of a Dime, Quarter and Half struck by the Martha Washington dies that are permanently housed in the Smithsonian Institute, embedded in blocks of lucite. Click here for more info on the Martha Washington Quarter from USPatterns.com.
Michael Byers also purchased an example of Pollock #4100, a copper-zinc Cent struck by the Mint’s Martha Washington Dies. This Martha Washington Test Piece might have been used to test the new copper-zinc planchets for the U.S. Mint. Starting in 1982 the composition and weight of the Cent planchet changed. Instead of weighing 3.11 grams and having a composition of 95% copper and 5% zinc, the weight is 2.5 grams with a composition of 97.5% zinc and 2.5% copper. Click here for more info on the Martha Washington Cent from USPatterns.com.
According to United States Pattern and Related Issues , by Andrew W. Pollock III, “the only trial pieces purported to have survived metallurgical testing in 1965 were the Dime, Quarter Dollar, and Half Dollar equivalent strikes in copper-nickel clad over copper.”
The only Martha Washington Dime Trial Piece in private hands is being offered for $100,000 by another coin dealer. NGC authenticated and encapsulated this Martha Washington Dime in April of 2000.
In August of 2000, Michael Byers purchased a Martha Washington Test Piece on a copper-zinc Cent planchet. This piece was struck by the Martha Washington Dime Dies. This piece was struck 10% off-center with a uniface reverse. This discovery was a front page Coin World article on August 7th, 2000. In a response to the discovery of this Martha Washington Test Piece that Michael Byers discovered, the Mint announced that “the dies are available to the Mint’s metal and blank vendors for testing.” This piece was originally offered for $39,500 and has been sold. Click here for more info on the Martha Washington Test Piece that sold.
These two recently aquired Martha Washington Test Pieces using the Mint’s Martha Washington Dies are now in private hands. The evolving story about the Martha Washington Dies, test strikes and the discovery of these pieces is among the most interesting Numismatic stories in decades.
Martha Washington 1759 Quarter Pattern
Head of Martha Washington
View of Mount Vernon
Obverse by Edward R. Grove
Reverse by Philip Fowler
±88 grains [±5.7 grams]
Provided by Michael Byers of Byers Numismatic Corp. (byersnc.com)