1881 Hawaii Five Cent Pattern, MS62
1881 5C Hawaii Five Cent Pattern MS62 NGC. Medcalf 2CN-1.
The obverse shows a bust of King Kalakaua facing left with KALAKAUA
KING OF SANDWICH ISLANDS 1881 around. The reverse features a
numeral 5 enclosed by a garter inscribed AU MAU KE EA O KA AINA I
KA PONO (state motto with the first word misspelled). The garter
was topped by a crown with a cross on top. Struck on a thin nickel
Rare Medcalf 2CN-1.
During a world tour in 1881, King Kalakaua was approached by the owner of a nickel mine in New Caledonia about the possibility of striking nickel coinage for the kingdom. Approximately 200 patterns were struck in Paris and forwarded to the king on his return to the islands, Unfortunately, the reverse inscription transposed the two letters in the first word of the state motto (The life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness), which should read UA instead of AU. Perhaps because of this, the pattern was rejected and no official coinage was issued until 1883, when the U.S. Mint was contracted to strike silver coins. Many of these patterns were mishandled, used in jewelry or carried as pocket pieces, and few high grade examples have survived. Restrikes were made in Canada circa 1900, but they are easily recognized by the omission of the cross on the crown.
The present coin is an attractive MS62 specimen, with lightly marked surfaces that are blanketed in delicate shades of jade-gold toning. The design elements are well-detailed and the fields show hazy, semiprooflike reflectivity in most areas. Census: 2 in 62, 4 finer (1/16). (NGC ID# 2C53, PCGS# 10975)
Learn more at the Newman Numismatic Portal at Washington University in St. Louis.
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