CHAPTER X
PATTERNS

 

Patterns and experimental pieces form one of the most interesting divisions of numismatics. These pieces exist because it was customary for the mint to provide samples of any proposed change in coinage such as different design, denomination, metal or weight for approval or rejection.
Patterns are defined as pieces prepared officially by the mint or by the authorized agent of a coin-issuing authority which represent a new design, motto or denomination proposed for adoption as a regular issue, struck in the specific metal, and which were not adopted, at least in that same year. Those struck from these dies in other metals are pattern trial pieces.
Experimental pieces include those struck with any convenient die to try out a new metal or a new denomination. Those struck in the proper metal, where it is specified, are the experimental pieces and those struck in order metals are experimental trial pieces.
A regular die trial piece is struck from a regular die in a metal or metals other than those intended for regular issue. These are usually in soft base metals such as copper.
Die strikes or die trials are impressions, usually uniface, of an unfinished or even a completed die in a soft metal to try the die.
A piece de caprice is an unauthorized piece struck for some reason other than as a pattern, experimental or trial piece. They apparently are struck solely to satisfy the whim of some collection.

Reference: ANA, Introduction to Numismatics, 1967; ANA, the Dictionary of Numismatic Terms, 1970

The following pieces are catalogued under this category. No attempt has been made to place a piece in any of the above defined categories.

Pn1 1 Sho-gang Yr.15-57 (1923)
Pn2 20 Tam Srang Yr.15-57 (1923)
Pn3 1 Sho-gang Yr.16-1 (1923)
Pn4 50 Srang Yr.925 (1951)
Pn5 25 Srang Yr.925 (1951)
Pn6 50 Srang Yr.927 (1953)
Pn7 5 Srang Yr.927 (1953)


1 Sho-gang
Year 15-57 (1923)
Code Pn1
1.7x enlargement
Denomination: 1 Sho-gang 15-57 (1923)
Diam.?Th.?Wt.?
Metal: Brass
Mint: Probably minted by Taylor & Challen Co., London.

Obverse Reverse

Obverse:

A standing lion looking backward enclosed in a 11-mm diameter circle surrounded by eight connecting fleurets, each containing Tibetan script. A bead is placed at the top of the line joining the fleurets. The Tibetan script reads:

dga'-ldan-pho-bran-phyod-las-rnam-rgyal.

The Ga-den Palace, victorious in alldirections. Beaded border

Reverse:

Tibetan script reading

= Sho-gang = 1 Sho-gang

which is enclosed by a 9.5-mm diameter ring of beads. Between this ring and the beaded border are five arabesques located at NE, SE, SW, and NW, alternating with Tibetan script reading:
Rab-byang-15-lo-57Cycle 15-Year 57Beaded border.


20 Tam Srang
Year 15-57 (1923)
Code Pn2
1.5x enlargement
Diam.?Th. ?Wt.
Metal: Brass
(?) edge
Mint: Probably minted by Taylor & Challen Co., London

Obverse Reverse

 

Obverse:

Lion lying down facing forward with Tibetan script above and below, reading:

Rab-byang-15-lo-57 Cycle 15 Year 57

The above enclosed in a 14.5-mm diameter circle surrounded by the eight Buddhist emblems. Starting at 12:00 o'clock and going clockwise: 1. Umbrella of Sovereignty, 2. The Golden Fishes of Good Luck, 3. The Vase of Ambrosia, 4. The Lotus Flower, 5. The Conch Shell, 6. The Knot of Endless Rebirths, 7. The Banner of Victory, and 8. The Wheel of Law. A ring of beads at rim.

Reverse:

Two vertical arcs joined by loops at 12:00nd 6:00 o'clock with a bead resulting in a 14-mm diameter circle within which is inscribed Tibetan script reading:

Tam Srang 20

Between this circle and a ring of beads at the rim Tibetan script is inscribed reading:

dga'-ldan pho-bran-phyod-las-rnam-rgyal Ga-den Palace, victorious in all directions.

Bertsch remarks that a coin press was supplied to the Tibetan Government by Taylor & Challen Co., of London in 1923,but speculates that this pattern probably was produced by the same company. The pattern was never approved by the Tibetan Government.
Ref: Bertsch, W., "A Pattern Struck in Englandfor Tibet", NI Bulletin, vol. 21, no. 2,pp. 33-35, Feb. 1987.


1 Sho-gang
Year 16-1 (1927)
Code Pn3
1.7x enlargement
Denomination: 1 Sho-gang 16-1 (1927)
Diam. 24.0 mm; Th. 1.4 mm; Wt. 5.34 gms.
Metal: Proof Bronze; Plain edge
int: Probably minted by Taylor & Challen Co., London

Obverse Reverse

 

Obverse:

Lion lying on its haunches to the left, but lion looking forward; bushy tail:"Whirling Emblem" with scrolls above lion. All enclosed in a 12-mm diametercircle surrounded by eight connected fleurets, each containing Tibetan script.A bead is placed above each dividingline between the fleurets. The Tibetanscript reads:

dga'-ldan-pho-bran-phyogs-las-rnam-rgyal the Ga-den Palace, victorious in all directions.

Beaded border.

Reverse:

Tibetan script enclosed in a 11.3-mm diameter circle, reading:

= 1 Sho-gang

Tibetan script is inscribed outside thecircle alternating with five eight-petalled rosettes, followed by aring of beads at rim. The Tibetan scriptreads:

Rab-byung 16 lo 1 Cycle 16 Year

1Beaded border.


50 Srang
Year 925 (1951)
Code Pn4.1
Actual size:? Mint:?
Denomination: 50 Srang 925 (1951)
iam. 34.0 mm; Th.? Wt. 17.3 gms.
Metal: Copper
Reeded edge

Obverse Reverse

 

Obverse:

Small size snow lion looking backwards infront of seven mountains. Cumulus cloudson each side of the mountains. Crescentmoon and sun with rays shown near the topof the middle mountain. Lion's flames3.4.0.5-9. A circle with bead and twoscrolls below and in front of the lion.Tibetan script surrounds the mountain motif with two six-petalled rosettes at3:30 and 8:30 o'clock. The top Tibetanscript reads:

dga'-ldan-pho-brang-phyogs-las-rnam-rgyal. The Ga-den Palace, victorious in alldirections.

The bottom Tibetan script reads:

dngul-srang-lnga-behu-tam-pa. Coin of value fifty silver srang.

Reverse:

An ornamental mirror is placed above thelotus flower enclosed by a 16.5-mmdiameter circle, which is surrounded byTibetan script with two six-petalledrosettes at 4:00 and 8:00 o'clock.Beaded border.The top Tibetan script reads:

gangs-chos-srid-gnyis-ldan-rab-lo-925 The snow region both religious and civiladministration in the excellent year 925.

The bottom Tibetan script reads:

spyi-lo1951 Christian Year 1951

Ref: Rhodes notes that the remarkable feature of this coin is the system of dating. Whereas other Tibetan coins are dated in the 60-cycle with Year 1 of the first cycle being 1027AD, the date when the 'Kala Chakra Tantra' was brought to Tibet.This piece is dated in the actual number of years from that date. In addition, this piece is unique in also being dated in the Christian era.


Year 925 (1951)
Code Pn4.2
Actual size
A silver pattern of Pn4.1
Diam. 34.65; Th. 3 mm; Wt. 26 gms.

Obverse Reverse

 

 

Ref: Introduction to the Tibetan Regional Currency, 1988, p.235, #37


25 Srang
Year 925 (1951)
Code Pn5
1.5 enlargement
Mint: Lhasa
Diam. 27.35 mm;?Th. 2.6 mm; Wt. 13.52 gms.
Metal: Silver

Obverse Reverse

 

Obverse/Reverse:

Similar to Pn4.1 except the legend on the reverse reads:

'dnul-sran-hyi-tsa-lna Twenty-five silver srang

Ref: Introduction to the Tibetan Regional Currency, 1958, p. 25, #38


50 Srang
Year 925 (1951)
Code Pn6
Actual size
Mint: Lhasa
Diam. 34.6 mm; Th. 3 mm; Wt. 25.1 gms.
Metal: Silver

Obverse Reverse

 

Obverse:

The Potala Palace is beautifully engraved. Script similar to the 50 Srang Pn4.1

Reverse:

The center circle patterned after the 5 sKar dated 15-47. There are eight groups of these circles spaced equidistance apart followed by Tibetan script.


5 Srang
Year 927 (1953)
Pn7.1
1.6x enlargement, Mint: Lhasa
Denomination: 5 Srang 927 (1953)
Diam. 26.5 mm; Th. 1.1 mm; Wt. 6.00 gms.
Metal: Copper, Reeded edge
OBV/REV Arrows 6/67

Obverse Reverse

 

Obverse:

Small size snow lion in front of six mountains looking forward. Cumulus clouds on each side of the high mountain with crescent moon and sun with rays above Lion's flames 3.2.2.3-7. Very small circle with head and two scrolls below and in front of lion. Tibetan script inscribed on each side of the mountains and at the bottom below the lion, reading:

dga-ldan-pho-bran-phyod-las-rnam-rgual The Ga-den Palace, victorious in all directions.

The bottom script reads: = Srang-lnga = Five Srang. A ring of arrows at the rim.

Reverse:

An ornamental mirror is placed above the lotus flower enclosed by a 12-mm diameter circle. Tibetan script is inscribed outside the circle at positions, north, east, south and west with four eight-petalled rosettes between each script.

The Tibetan script reads: gangs-cho-srid-gnyis-ldan-rab-lo-927

The snow region, both religious and civil administration in the excellent year 927. The above enclosed in a ring of arrows at the rim.


Year 927 (1953)
Code Pn5.2
A die variety is shown in the below enlargement.
Same obverse as Pn7.1 but adifferent reverse.
Note the difference in writing the date.
Diam. 26.6 mm; Th. 1.4 mm; Wt. 6.90 gms.
Metal: Copper
Reeded edgeOBV/REV arrows 61/63

Obverse Reverse

 


Comment: This piece is placed here because of its association with Pn5. Actually it should be classified as an off-metal issue or perhaps a trial piece.


Year 927 (1953)
Code Pn7.3
2x enlargement
A die variety of the 5 Srang.
Note the position of the cloud at 2:00 o'clock in relation to the script.
OBV arrows 68

Obverse Reverse

 

Ref: A History of Chinese Currency, 1983, p. 34, #44.

 

References:
1. Bertsch, Wolfgang, "A Pattern Struck in England for Tibet:",
Bulletin Numismatics International, Vol. 21, No. 2, Feb. 1987, pp. 33-35.

2. Rhode;s, N.G., "Two Tibetan Pattern Coins", Oriental Numismatic Society Newsletter, NO. 105, March/April, 1989.

3. Rhodes, N.G., "Two Rare Tibetan Coins", Oriental Numismatic Society Newsletter, No. 124, May/June, 1990.

4. A History of Chinese Currency, 1983.

5. Zhu Jingzhong, Ci-Ren-Ping_cur and Yan Lunzhang (authors),
"Introduction to the Tibetan Regional Currency"
(Yuan-Xi-Zang-bi-Fang-Qian-Bi-Gai-Kuang), Institute of Finance of the
People's Bank in Tibet, 1988, p. 25, (Nos. 37 and 38) and p. 26 (No. 39).

6. Bertsch, W., "Tibetan Patterns of the Year 1951", NI Bulletin, Vol. 27,
No. 4, April, 1992, pp. 94-96.