Paris-Very Rare, Perhaps Unique, Test Strike, Medal from Paris 1878 #S227
Here's an opportunity to obtain a truly rare test medal; whether you collect UK medals or not, it would go well with any top-flight collection of medals.
As a collector I was quite interested in patterns and test strikes, and sold my collection of US One Cent pattern coins via Heritage many years ago. As a seller I have continued to hunt for such pieces, but besides their rarity (and some are unique) they can be awfully expensive. Even 20± years ago when I sold the cent patterns most were $2000-3000 and certainly haven't gotten cheaper.
After I found my first Paris test strike I began looking even harder. In the last 2-3 years I've been fortunate to find several Paris and London world's fair test strikes. Specializing in Columbiana for more than 40 years, I found one or two test strikes over the years, but somewhat hit a jackpot in 2019. Besides finding a couple out in the world, John Kennel's magnificent collection include several unique pieces, at least four of which were various types of test strikes--including some that were struck on literally hunks of scrap medal. All of John's one-of-a-kind tests strikes sold quickly and not inexpensively, but still for less than half of what I would think each could fetch at a major auction--perhaps $5,000 each.
By comparison, the handful of Paris and London test strikes I have sold and currently have for sale are very, very inexpensive. I prefer to sell at what the market demands rather than waiting for US collectors to become more familiar with test strikes, at which time I'm quite sure you will see early medals such as this uniface test from 1878 selling for many times more.
So far, of the 6 Paris test strikes I've found in the last two years NONE duplicate any others. Each has been one of a kind and all have had either a blank reverse of the planchet or some, like this one, have some type of pattern on the reverse. Because of this approach to test or pattern strikes, it is reasonable to expect that more than one were struck. In the case of the Columbian test strikes mentioned above, you can be assured they are one-of-a-kind when struck on a scrap piece of medal.