Ron Guth: Judd 24 is a die trial for a 1797 Half Eagle, struck in copper with a reeded edge. Only one example is known to exist. The die variety is BD-4, an extremely rare variety represented only by this copper version and a unique gold version (ex Byron Reed - Harry Bass Research Foundation). This piece was defaced, presumably to prevent someone from gold-plating the coin and passing it off as genuine. However, this argument is weak, since gold coins at the time were valued by their weight, not their condition and later base metal die trials of gold coins were released without having been defaced.
Sources and/or recommended reading:
"United States Patterns and Related Issues" by Andrew Pollock III
"United States Pattern Coins" (Ninth edition) by J. Hewitt Judd, M.D.
"Early U.S. Gold Coin Varieties: A Study of Die States, 1795-1834" by John W. Dannreuther & Harry W. Bass, Jr.
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