In 1871, an organization was formed called the Knights of Labor and was open to all employed workers. The organization would become a national one in 1878 and by 1886 there were over 700,000 members across the US. Among other tasks, the Knights of Labor rallied support for boycotts and pushed for reforms such as the eight hour work day. This 1871 eagle recalls the formation of what would become the largest labor organizations of the late 19th century.
The pieces referred to by the catch-all title of "patterns" are among the rarest coins ever struck in the United States Mint. There have been many attempts to define the U.S. pattern coin family as a whole. While there are still a few exceptions, we believe that the definition included in the preface to the ninth edition of the book United States Pattern Coins: Complete Source for History Rarity, and Values by Dr. J. Hewitt Judd is the among the most comprehensive ever offered. According to this definition, "A pattern coin is one that was struck at the Philadelphia Mint (with a few exceptions) for purposes of testing a design or concept, or perhaps from unusual die pairs, or in unusual metals, or to create delicacies for collectors, but which differs from normal circulation coins of standard design, date, and metal." As a rule, patterns are exceedingly rare coins. Their original mintages are unknown, although the number of pieces extant, as well as the reasons for their striking, suggest that very few specimens were prepared. Indeed, most patterns were produced to the extent of only a handful of coins. Patterns also offer considerable opportunity for continued study, as the circumstances surrounding the striking of many types and issues remain shrouded in mystery.