Obv: The designs are quite simple for this trial piece, with the upper obverse stating CENT on a straight line above the perforation, two eight petaled flowers flank the horizontal center, and below is the date 1850, also on a straight line as opposed to fitting the curved contour of the coin. Rev: at the top on a curved line is U S A with no periods, then below is ONE TENTH SILVER on the curve of the planchet. Struck in billion which is a blend of 10 percent silver with 90 percent copper. These were initial patterns to try to find a suitable replacement for the less profitable (to the Mint) and generally disliked large cents of this period. The then current value of the silver and copper would require the planchets to be close to the size of the half dime and thus the belief was that adding a perforation at the center would allow for a larger diameter planchet and make these new cents more quickly identifiable. Toned tawny-green and gold on both sides, with the usual reverse die cracks present. The development of a new smaller cent continued to be a major issue through this period and eventually resulted in the launch of the copper-nickel Flying Eagle cents in 1856.
Ex: Exemplar Collection.