Many coins are unfamiliar to the average person. No one has received a half dollar in change for decades. $2 bills are rarely seen, and never mind dollar coins. Sometimes people like to see unusual money.
I have been studying foreign Essai coins lately, and am seeking thoughts or comments from other collectors. For those not familiar with Essai pieces, they are specimen or pattern pieces from foreign mints. (The French translation for essay is "try") Sometimes they are produced with collectors in mind, and with mintages much more common than U.S. patterns. I've seen some modern (post 1970) Essai pieces with mintages around 1,000, which is still low when you consider it. Many are priced from $30 to $100 which isn't bad. Might be a cheap way to get into patterns. Essai coinage should also always be marked with the word "essay." There are lots of slabbed examples out there. Not looking to get rich, just collecting something different. Has anyone dipped their toe into this pond?