Sunday, November 23, 2014

JR Newsletter: 23 November 2014 (216)

We have two contributions this week.

John Okerson wrote with a second inquiry regarding obtaining an ORIGINAL version of the Reiver VIM for half dimes (not a photo copy):

Wanted!  Does anyone have Jules Reiver's Variety Identification Manual for United States Dimes 1796-1837 that they would be willing to part with?  Hard to tell if it even exists.
John Okerson

Jim Matthews wrote:

Happy Thanksgiving to all my numismatic friends! I hope that everyone can take a day or two out of this busy time to reflect on the blessings of the year, our families, friends and adventures of 2014. Each person has their own abundance and now is the time to recognize these gifts. This has been another year of change and excitement for me, which is a continuing theme in my life. Collections come and go, but the friends stay on and grow!

I'm looking forward to seeing everyone at FUN and at shows in the future.


Sunday, November 16, 2014

Sunday, November 9, 2014

JR Newsletter: 9 November 2014 (214)

I believe readers will find this week's contributions to be quite interesting…at least I did!

First, from David Quint, comes a response to an inquiry last week about an 1804 JR-2 dime in the Heritage Gardner auction:

I have some thoughts as to the very interesting points Mike Rocco brought up regarding the Gardner 1804 JR-2 dime. Indeed the appearance of the E and R in LIBERTY do look different than in other examples of the JR-2. On early die states of the 1804 Obverse 1 (including all 1804 JR-1's), the E sports a long base and a strong upper left flag, and the R is flat across the top. As you observe later die states (with prominent cracks running through S10 through the right obverse field and through S13 to the chin and upward across the cheek of Liberty), the E begins to have problems. You can see this on Heritage's site when examining two LDS high-grade examples - the Price/Eliasberg coin (7/08:1443) and the James. T Stack coin (8/07:1622). The upper left flag and upper right flags on the E are disappearing, the E is weakening, and the top of the R is thinning. You don't see these features on JR-1's or on EDS or MDS JR-2's. By blowing up the photo of the Gardner coin one can see clear signs of retooling on the E, both at the left base and the right base. The E punch is also remarkably bold relative to most examples of the JR-2.

So what I think happened here is that very near the end of the life of the sole 1804 obverse dime die, a mint worker repunched and retooled both the E and the R (and quite possibly the reverse feathers as well) as they were becoming obviously weak. While the Gardner coin is obvious late die state based on the S13 crack, there is surprisingly no sign in the photos of the prominent crack across the cheek of Liberty seen on other high grade LDS coins. This could be due to wear or due to the same mint worker repairing the more obvious facial crack by filling it in. It would be a lot easier to confirm all this if another example with this recutting were known, but I as well have never noticed one. Good eye on the part of Mr. Rocco.

David Quint

For fans of early dollars, we received this news from David Perkins:

1794 Dollar Surfaces at the Recent Whitman Baltimore Show
 What is believed to be a new and previously unknown example of the 1794 silver dollar was on display at the recent Whitman Baltimore show.  It was said to have shown up at a “valuation day” held by Spink in the South of England.  What was particularly notable to me when I viewed the coin was the relatively strong strike on this 1794 dollar, which usually comes with striking weakness in the lower left of the obverse in the date and stars.  The coin is graded NGC AU50 CAC. 

Paul Gilkes wrote an article on this discovery and coin in this week’s issue of Coin World newspaper.  The article is titled, “1794 Flowing Hair Dollar in Spink Sale / Coin Held by British Family for Decades Surfaces During Valuation Day.” 

W. David Perkins
Centennial, CO

The photo (courtesy of Spink) from Paul Gilkes' article:


Winston Zack wrote:

I am interested to hear about Jim Matthews' contemporary counterfeit coin presentation/ talk at the Baltimore show this past weekend. If someone has a summary of the main points discussed, or better yet we have the video of the presentation which can be shared (as an idea the JRCS club could have it's own YouTube channel where these types of educational videos could be posted/ hosted), I would be very interested in hearing about it.

Winston Zack (stoneman101(at)

Sunday, November 2, 2014

JR Newsletter: 2 November 2014 (213)

John Okerson wrote:

Wanted: Jules Reiver's 1984 edition, "Variety Identification Manual for United States Half Dimes, 1794-1837."  If anyone has a copy and is willing to part with it, please contact me at johnokerson(at) or 901.338.8999

John Okerson from Lakeland, TN

Michael Rocco wrote:

I was looking at the early dime lots for the Gardner collection and on review of lot 98227, the 1804 14 star dime, I noticed two aspects of the coin that I would like to get others to comment on.  On the obverse, the E and R in "Liberty" appear to have a somewhat different shape than what I have seen on other  dimes of this variety. On the coin in question, the bottom horizontal bar of the E seems shorter than the typical E punch (including the Es on the reverse of this coin). The flag on the top of the R seems to point up instead of remain horizontal and the bottom horizontal bar of the R is thinner at the upright crossbar than the typical R punch (including the R on the reverse of the coin).  On the reverse, (which corresponds to the location of the letters ER in "Liberty" on the obverse) the eagle's tail feathers have a very strong and detailed appearance that I have not seen on even mint state dimes of this variety. 


The owner of the Easton Collection wrote with commentary on the Gardner dimes that recently sold in Baltimore:

My review of Gene Gardner’s Bust dimes in Heritage’s November 2014 auction

By Easton Collection

On Monday, October 27, 2014, the second part of Gene Gardner’s magnificent coin collection was sold by Heritage in NYC at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel. The auction started at 1pm and about 50 people were in attendance including Gene and his family with a lot more in attendance via Heritage Live. Included in his collection was a group of some of the finest draped and capped bust dimes available. It’s a rare treat to see so many wonderful coins being offered at one time. Overall, I thought that the draped bust coins sold for prices at my expectation except for the 1804 dimes that sold for less than I expected and the capped bust dimes selling for strong money.
Since the auction was held in NYC several blocks from my office, I had a chance to attend the auction and spend several hours at lot viewing. Below are some observations of the dimes:

1796 JR-3 in NGC63 – The coin has been pedigreed back to 1956 and this coin is very rare with a really triangular die break that has the looks of a really cool cud on the reverse at 11:00. This coin is believed to be the finest known of this die marriage and I thought that NGC graded the coin properly.  I gave this coin a pre-auction estimate of $30k to $35k and the coin sold for $30,550.

1801 JR-1 in NGC65 CAC – This coin has wonderful color and looks very original. This coin was once owned by Norweb and it’s the finest known. This is a rarity 4 coin. One feature of this coin is die rust running throughout the obverse. The reverse has typical weakness in the eagle’s breast and this coin is no different. My pre estimate price was $125k and this coin didn’t disappoint me at $111,625. The winner of this coin should be very proud to acquire such a wonderful coin.

1804 JR-1 in PCGS53 and JR-2 in PCGSAU50 – I can’t remember when both 1804 die marriages were offered in auction since the Price auction; and any time one example is offered it's considered special. Over the past year, there have been several JR-2 offered in auction but Gene’s AU50 was the highest graded offered. Overall, the JR-2 has nice color with great details as its well struck. Both 1804 coins were sold for $125,375 to one collector and in my opinion he got a great deal! My pre-auction estimate had both coins selling for $90k each and I wouldn’t have been surprised if either one sold for as high as $125k.

1811/9 JR-1 in NGC65 – This date is one of my personal favorites but I really didn’t like this coin. The coin had a color that looked very unnatural to me and was slightly over graded by 1 point. This date in gem condition is hardly ever offered at shows or auctions so I really didn’t know what to expect. I had thought a solid gem could sell for about $30k but this coin was short of being a gem. The market place agreed with me and the coin sold for $18,800. This price was fair for the coin.

1821 JR-9 (small date) in PCGS64 – The small date variety is slightly rarer than the large date but this coin I thought had the possibly of achieving a record price. This coin was pedigreed to Alan Lovejoy and when offered in 1990 it was offered as a proof or presentation piece. Back in 1990, the coin sold for $8k. This coin is brilliantly toned in yellow and blue. This coin has fantastic eye appeal and this coin was the best graded 64 that I have ever seen. Some collectors in attendance commented to me that they felt the coin was artificially toned but I disagreed. The coin looked exactly like the plate coin when it was auctioned off in 1990! This coin sold for $15,275 which is double PCGS price guide.

1824/2 JR-1 in NGC66 – What can I say – this is my favorite date in the series and I don’t remember when a 66 was ever offered. This coin is richly toned and has an above average strike for this date. Many believe that this coin could be tied for the finest known. The coin demonstrates multi-colored toning and has very clean surfaces. My pre-auction estimate was $25k and the price realized was a staggering $70,500! I was shocked at the price it realized.

1828 JR-1 in PCGS 65 CACThis coin is pedigreed to the Eliasberg collection and further pedigreed way back to 1899. The coin is very brilliant with the fields very reflective. The devices are fully frosty and this coin is very well struck. The pre-auction estimate was $20k and it realized a very strong $28,200.

1828 JR-2 in NGC64 - The 1828 large date coin is the last year of the large size capped bust dimes and any appearance of this variety is rare. The coin was beautifully toned but I thought that this coin was flat looking. Over the years, I saw only one mint state JR2 offered in over 10 years.  I thought that this coin was going to sell for very strong money. My pre-auction estimate was $20k and the coin sold for $28,200!

 1831 JR-5 in PCGS66 CAC – This wonderfully bluish gold toned coin has very clean surfaces and was extremely well struck. The coin is originally toned and very rare to find a bust dime this nice. My pre-auction estimate was $17k and it realized $20,560.

1834 JR-1 in PCGS 67 CAC- It's hard to believe that a coin over 180 years old can be preserved in such great condition, but in reviewing this coin one can only say that it's magnificent in every way. The surfaces are almost perfect with beautiful amber and lavender toning on both sides. The strike is very strong with the Eagle talons' details very well defined. A special coin and my pre-estimate price was $40k and but it realized a soft $32,900. BTW – PCGS price guide is $37,500.

1837 JR-4 in PCGS65 CAC - This date is very desirable as it’s the last year for the capped bust dimes. The coin is attractively toned in golden brown with shades of green. The surfaces are very clean and I believe that this coin is a possible upgrade. My pre-auction estimate was $15k and it sold for $21,150.

In conclusion, there were many very high grade bust dimes and anyone that acquired one of Gene’s coins should be very proud. Congratulations to all the winners. Gene personally congratulated each winner in attendance and shared a short story about his coins. In the end, I was glad to be in attendance for such a great auction and see these magnificent coins getting sold.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

JR Newsletter: 26 October 2014 (212)

Jim Matthews wrote with this week's sole contribution:

There will be a regional meeting of JRCS at the Baltimore convention on Friday, October 31. The time is 4 PM in room 305. I'll be talking about contemporary counterfeits and whatever else comes up. A great way to celebrate Halloween!


Saturday, October 18, 2014

JR Newsletter: 18 October 2014 (211)

This week's edition is a day earlier, allowing the editor time to take a mini-vacation with family.

Dr. Eugene Bruder wrote concerning an error in an article entitled, "The Quiet 1805 Half Dime, with discussion of the Pittman coin in the upcoming Stack's Bowers Auction."
I just read the above referenced article, and noticed what I believe is an error. The 1805 Half dime pictured in the article appears to be an 1805 dime! The diameter in the NGC holder looks too large to be a half dime. It looks to be an 1805 JR-2 dime. Most interesting! The most obvious attribution point is the 5 in the date, and then the 8 is the wrong shape too. It makes you wonder about the grading services-you must always check their work!
I don’t know if anyone else has pointed this out.
Dr. Eugene Bruder, Numismatist
In response to Paul Hybert's announcement of a beta version of the JRCS website, Barbara Bailey wrote:
Just wanted to let you know that the new web site is very well organized and easy to use.  I use a small laptop.  Kudos to everyone who is working on it!
Barbara Bailey
A reminder from the editor:
When sending contributions to the JR Newsletter, please address such correspondence to (old gmail address is just that…and old address!). 

Sunday, October 12, 2014

JR Newsletter: 12 October 2014 (210)

This week's version of the JR Newsletter features an additional biographical sketch of a member of the JRCS Hall of Fame, news about the JRCS web page, and some other interesting information.

First, Louis Scuderi provided a short comment about a dime attribution mentioned last week.  He wrote:  "1834 JR8?"

His contribution qualifies as likely the shortest in the brief history of the newsletter, but he makes a good point.  The dime in question was an 1835 dated dime…so the comment last week should have identified the dime as an 1835 JR8.  Sorry for any confusion that may have created.  I replied to Louis that when you put a half dime guy in charge of a newsletter, these kinds of things are bound to happen (for all denominations but half dimes).

George Polizio wrote to add another piece of information about JRCS Hall of Fame member Stewart Witham:

I just wanted to add something to the biography of Stew Whitham. Stew probably amassed the most comprehensive collection of tokens that were struck for Augustus B. Sage by George H. Lovett. These were included in Bowers & Merenas sale of the Miller collection Nov. 1992.

Steve Crain provided an excellent biographical sketch of JRCS Hall of Fame member Dr. Daniel Valentine:

Dr. Daniel Webster Valentine
March 7, 1863 – January 24, 1932

Stephen A. Crain

Daniel W. Valentine was born in New York City, on March 7, 1863. Little is known of his early years, except that he was educated in public and private schools, and later received his D.D.S. from the New York College of Dentistry in 1887. With the exception of one year spent in Vienna, he practiced dentistry in New York City from 1887 to 1896, and later moved to Englewood, New Jersey, where he practiced for another thirty-five years.

He married Ada Belle Colwell in 1896, with whom he had two daughters, Marion and Margaret Beattie Valentine.

Dr. Valentine became interested in numismatics very early in life, and although he was a general collector, he confined himself primarily to United States issues. He was very active in several numismatic organizations, including the American Numismatic Association, American Numismatic Society, and the New York Numismatic Club, for which he served as President for two terms, in 1918 and 1920. He was commemorated on a New York Numismatic Club Presidential medal, designed by J. M. Swanson, of which there were eight silver and fifty bronze medals struck.

Valentine assembled several notable collections, including a comprehensive collection of United States fractional currency, for which he published Fractional Currency of the United States in 1924. This publication was issued in a cloth bound edition of 225 copies at $5.00 each, and in a limited, leather bound edition of twenty-five numbered copies at $15.00 each. He also assembled a collection of United States one dollar gold coins, complete by mintmark.

Dr. Valentine is perhaps best remembered for his extensive collection of United States half dimes, which he exhibited at the American Numismatic Society in 1914. He published his monograph United States Half Dimes in 1931, with the American Numismatic Society, as #48 in their series Numismatic Notes and Monographs. This work has been reprinted twice, in 1975 by Quarterman Publications, and again in 1984 by Sanford J. Durst. In each of the reprints, the original photographic plates were copied, but were printed as ‘screen’ prints, comprised of a series of dots, like a newspaper photo, which cannot be magnified or enlarged for greater detail. Collectors and researchers are advised to locate a copy of the original ANS NNM #48 for its quality ‘collotype’ prints of the photographic plates, which like a photograph can be magnified for detailed study. For the Liberty Seated series alone, Valentine identified 257 different die marriages, greatly expanding upon the previous work of Will W. Neil, published in The Numismatist in 1927. While some of the die descriptions in the Valentine half dime reference are vague and ambiguous, and it often appears that he was unaware of the distinction between die marriage and die state, he provided us with the most comprehensive reference on the series to date. Critics might argue that his die descriptions, particularly for the post Civil War dates, are so brief as to be almost meaningless, but I suspect that some of this brevity might be attributed to an imposed publishing deadline. Valentine published his monograph late in 1931, and died, evidently of apoplexy, or stroke, on January 24, 1932. As a medical professional, he would have been acutely aware of his declining health, and apparently rushed to complete his work before health issues would no longer allow him to continue.

All of Dr. Valentine’s collections were sold at public auction prior to his death by Thomas Elder, in three sessions, on December 8, 9, and 10, 1927, in New York City, except for his remarkable collection of half dimes, which remained intact at the time of his death.

Finally, JRCS web master Paul Hybert wrote with some exciting news about the JRCS web site:

Some club members have been working on a new look for the club's web site, and we have a first effort.  Please look at the first draft at:

The main points of the new style are: a navigation bar at the top of the page (with drop down selections for some items -- hover your mouse over an item, and a menu will appear for some items), a banner below the navigation bar, the text now has smooth left and right margins (ragged right was the old way), and each paragraph starts with indented text.

In the future, the same banner will be used on all pages.  Because we have not agreed upon a banner, one appears on only the top of the main page.  Please submit an image for a banner -- let it be 1,000 pixels wide, and 200 pixels tall.  The submitted images will be added to the bottom of the main page as they are received at jrcsweb(at), and we hope to decide upon a new banner by the start of 2015.

The only pages that do NOT have the new look are the various JR Journal indexes: by-author, by-subject, and by-issue.  But these pages' content have been updated -- start at the navigation bar, and follow Publications -->> Journal Index to see all of the indexes into the JR Journal.  Were you aware these were on the old web site?

Let us know if we left something out, if something is hard to find, or something seems awkward.  We want pages that look good on a large browser window on a desktop monitor, and also look good on a smart phone's display.  We want pages that a browser can download quickly, so we prefer text over images, and small-sized image files over larger-sized files.  Our site is hosted for free from a simple server: no java-enabled apps, no search engines, no member logins, and no user uploads.