The next prototype to come to my attention was the one ounce Freedom Naked back. Prototypes were struck in both silver and bronze. The quality of these samples is very superior to the quality of the FREEDOM torch back (#67), which was the last one ounce silver piece to be distributed by Liberty Dollar, and every bit as good as the 2008 $20 naked back (#57). To the best of my knowledge, only three sets of this silver/bronze prototype have made it into the hands of collectors. Word from a reliable source is that only five of each were struck. I have one each of these pieces. Feel free to make me an offer. If you want them badly enough (i.e., offer an outrageously high amount), I just might sell them. That goes for the dateless 1/10 oz above and the copper mule below as well.
The third prototype piece I learned about was the one ounce copper 'mule' discovered by Jeff Kotchounian. Here is the original entry that I used to have on the page with the production coppers.
Newly found Liberty Dollar Copper prototype!
This piece was located by Jeff Kotchounian at a mint that was being considered for production of the Liberty Dollar one ounce copper pieces in 2009. An obverse die was sent to the mint so that they could do some trial strikes that would demonstrate the quality of their product. The mint used a generic one ounce heraldic eagle die for the reverse. I purchased three of the less than 30 existing pieces from Jeff (not for sale unless you offer me an ungodly amount). The quality is astounding compared to all of the other Liberty Dollar copper specimens. Unfortunately, the cost of this quality was too high and the pieces would have cost more than their intended one dollar face value, so production runs of pieces using the correct reverse die were never made in copper. In June of 2011 Jeff was able to acquire the specimens that the mint had not sent to Bernard von NotHaus and has sold them to premier collectors. The photos below were sent to me by Jeff. This piece is commonly known as the Copper Mule. Mule is the term mint personnel use to describe a piece that has been made by throwing together obverse an reverse dies that are not meant to be used together.
(highest known sale price so far is $850 by Dave G. on 5/14/2012)
2009 Copper Liberty/Eagle Pattern Strike w/ reeded edge (Type I) (Photo by Jeff Kotchounian)
Copper pattern addendum (8/20/2014)
Below are photos I took of the Liberty/Eagle pattern strike (photo above was by Jeff Kotchounian) on 8/20/2014. You can clearly tell even from the face on camera angle that the piece has a reeded edge (at least from the obverse side). Below that is a photo of what I thought was the same piece when I first received it a few days before, but then I noticed it did not have a reeded edge. Suspecting a counterfeit, I scrutinized both pieces with a jeweler's visor. I am no expert, but the pieces look identical to me except for the edges. Every minute bump is duplicated precisely. I am convinced it was made from the same dies. It almost certainly was not run at the same time as the original three reeded pieces I got from Jeff. It makes no sense (to me at least) for a mint running a small amount of die test pattern pieces to do two runs, on with the reeded edge band and one without. I have no idea how this came about, but as near as I can tell, the dies are genuine or at least made from the same die pattern.
2009 Copper Liberty/Eagle Pattern Strike w/ reeded edge (Type I) (Photo by Ron Goodger)
2009 Copper Liberty/Eagle Pattern Strike w/ smooth edge (Type II) (Photo by Ron Goodger)
The last prototype Liberty Dollar that I have knowledge of is the $50 Torch Back. The only one ounce $50 base silver pieces released to production were the naked back (#58) and the tenth anniversary (#59). This prototype piece, however, was never produced in quantities. As a matter of fact, I have been informed by someone who should know that only two pieces exist (unfortunately I don't have one) other than the ones seized in the raid by the FBI. However many that was, it can't be much.