Susan S. writes: I have an 1885 US coin with a hole in the center. On one side it says FIVE CENTS with a shield and some sort of leaves. The other side says UNITED STATES OF AMERICA with 13 stars circling the hole in the center….i have seen no reference to any of this type on this website….is it a real coin? with value?
You have a pattern 5 cent coin. Patterns are design proposals for coins. The patterns are shown to Congress which has the authority to order the minting of coins. The United States Mint has made patterns from its inception. Some designs are adopted but most are discarded. Patterns survive because those evaluating the coin often never returned it to the Mint.
The 1885 5c pattern has the following characteristics:
Obverse: UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1885 around a circle of 13 stars within which is a hole surrounded by denticles. Reverse: Above the hole, FIVE CENTS, below the shield of the United States with a laurel branch on either side. The coin was struck in silver. It is listed in United States Pattern Coins, Experimental and Trial Pieces (the Judd reference) as J-1742.
Grade (condition) impacts value. The coin should be graded by a 3rd party grading service such as NGC or PCGS. Note that cleaning the coin will destroy much of its value. It will then be rejected by the grading services. Estimated Value: $2,000 -$7,500.+