Here's another entry from Dick Johnson's Encyclopedia of Coin and Medal Terminology. I added images from earlier articles.
A die, with design purposely of no particular meaning, used to test production equipment where the use of any other die would not be feasible. Nonsense dies used at the Philadelphia Mint bear a girl's portrait and lettering from the center of the alphabet. They are employed, for example, during set-up of a new press run, eliminating the possibility of ruining production run dies, or of creating mint errors of regular coins. Nonsense dies are occasionally used to make test coins. A similar instance is the Martha Washington Test Coin created at the Philadelphia Mint in 1965 by mint engraver Edward R. Grove. It was used in similar cases.
To read the earlier E-Sylum articles, see:
U.S. MINT 2012 ALTERNATIVE METALS STUDY
MARTHA WASHINGTON PATTERNS OFFERED
To read the complete entry on the Newman Numismatic Portal, see:
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