Sunday, May 20, 2018

JR Newsletter: 20 May 2018 (396)

We had a few responses to last week’s comment about a coin advertised as an 1802 half dime in an auction:

James Higby wrote:  With regard to Pete Smith's query about the "1802" half dime that sold for $2900, anyone who has studied early U.S. coinage knows that the "2" in the date of the 1802 half cent, half dime, and dime was created with a punch that was grossly undersized compared to the others.  You don't need a book or even a magnifying glass to know this one is fake.  

My guess is that the buyer of this piece knows that as well, but has a client somewhere who does not.  A similar situation occurred in my town some years ago when a local auction sale of a fake "1799" large cent was won by a coin dealer who actually had a storefront in town.  I was sitting right next to him and, before he started bidding, I asked him if he had taken a "good look" at the 1799.  He said, "Sure, but it doesn't matter, because I'm going to ship it to South America."  I presume he profited handsomely from his $650 purchase of the altered 1798.  I happened to have my copy of Noyes with me and showed it to the owner of the auction house, who pointed to a sign that read, "All items sold as is, where is."

Dave Wnuck wrote: Hi All, It looks like that "1802 Half Dime" in that auction was actually an 1802 Half dollar.  Sincerely, Dave Wnuck

Mark Verbeck wrote:  I'm sure you will agree that the "1802 half dime" listing posted by Pete Smith bears no resemblance to the real thing.  My first reaction was that it looked quite a bit like a half dollar, and it seemed a reasonably close match to the 1802 dies.  I checked the Silver City Auctions website, and the archived description for Lot 147 in their March 21 sale now reads: "1802 Half Dollar XF."  Best regards, Mark Verbeck 

As I read the original contribution by Pete Smith and the above comments (plus a few more that writers did not prefer be published), I got to thinking that “back in the day” without the denomination on the coins, it was incumbent upon users of the coins to be familiar with the design and sizes of their coins if they wished to be able to decipher the difference between denominations…else they suffer financial loss.  Sort of like how we must differentiate between half dimes, dimes, quarters, and half dollars via the internet where all coins can be presented in the same size format.  Editor

Brad Karoleff wrote regarding the “JRCS Bid or Buy Sale” (in the latest issue of the John Reich Journal). Brad advised that the Ed Price catalog has been sold.  Check out the sale to see what might interest you!

Rick A. wrote:

I cherry picked an 1835 B-3 R4+ quarter and received it in the mail today (photo below).  The obverse was easy but I contacted the seller about if the reverse had a tongue to confirm variety, which it did. 1835 B-3 PCGS 25 purchased at nearly grey sheet price.   I would like to hear comments from small size bust quarter collectors. Have accumulated around 20 different pieces.  Started with red book varieties then cherry picking key varieties but put aside until recently to work on red book varieties of Bust Halves 1807-1839-O. Small size quarters appear to be dead money as there appears to be not much premium on R4 and R5 varieties except in higher grades as many rarity ratings have been downgraded from Browning's book to the more recent census and Steve Tompkins book which I use. I did cherry pick an 1834 B-5 PCGS VF35 back in March for a little more what slabbed VF35s have been selling for in auctions.         

Rick A.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

JR Newsletter: 13 May 2018 (395)

Pete Smith wrote about a recent sale:

I recently became aware of a sale by Silver City Auctions, March 21, 2018, lot 147. The coin was described as an 1802 half dime in uncertified XF and sold for $2900. There are probably many diagnostics but I noticed the position of the first star near the hair curl. This is a very expensive fake.

Did this slip by the numismatic community unnoticed? Does the auction company frequently offer fake coins? I am not aware of any outrage published in the numismatic press.
Can any JRCS member identify the host coin, or is this a new fabrication? Will there be others out there?


John Okerson wrote:

I am a collector and pre-1839 coins are of considerable interest because many have character  - cuds, cracks and such.  I worked on US Silver coins with cuds, cracks and curiosities before 1892 for several years, but there are so many items, it is tough to even collect their pictures, no less the coins themselves.  CBRE halves is a 4 year series and even so, has over 30 coins that strike my interest.  The 1836 RE and 1838-O are difficult and not likely to be added anytime soon.  When I was offered an unattributed 1839-O GR-4, I couldn’t turn it down.  Moving forward is not easy – there are a good number of coins available, but most are pretty, but not cracked pieces.  Hopefully someone will have some and be willing to sell or at least share a copyright-free picture with me.  I have Dick Graham’s book and it shows some of them though often in small size.  I like pictures of 2 to 5 MB in size and high resolution.  My plan includes reviewing Jules Reiver’s Variety Identification Manual for this series.  As of now, I haven’t checked my Breen Encyclopedia for what tidbits may be hidden there.

Please feel free to contact me at johnokerson(at) or leave me a phone message at 901-338-8999.

Looking forward to hearing from you. 

John Okerson

Sunday, May 6, 2018

JR Newsletter: 6 May 2018 (394)

Although we have no specific contributions from readers this week, your editor thought this would be a good time to highlight two items from the most recent issue of the John Reich Journal (April 2018, Volume 28, Issue 1):

1.  The JRCS "Buy or Bid Sale" is on pages 38-40.  The sale is intended to offset the cost of designing the new JRCS web site (which can be seen here: ).  Among items available, one finds a complete set of JR Journals through Volume 22, Issue 1, including the very tough to find Volume 1, Issue 1.  Half dimes, dimes, quarters, and a half dollar are also available for bidding/buying.  Plus there are more items, check it out!

2.  David Perkins is collecting census information for bust dollars (see page 2 of the latest JR Journal).  Send your census information to wdperki(at)

Sunday, April 29, 2018

JR Newsletter: 29 April 2018 (393)

Brad Karoleff wrote to advise that the latest issue of the John Reich Journal has been mailed.  In it you will find the JRCS Buy or Bid Sale.  Your bids and purchases will help to offset the cost of the website construction of the past year.

As a reminder, Nominations for the JRCS Hall of Fame class of 2018 are now OPEN, but only for a short while longer. You can nominate candidates for either the veteran (those who contributed before the advent of JRCS) or the modern (those who have been members of JRCS) categories. Please include any pertinent information about the nominee that you feel necessary. Nominees will then be voted on by the HOF committee and the inductees will be announced at the annual meeting at the ANA convention in the summer. Please forward your nominations to bkaroleff(at) or to jrnewsletter(at) 

Sunday, April 22, 2018

JR Newsletter: 22 April 2018 (392)

Nathan Markowitz wrote:

I want to remind all JRCS members that you are cordially invited to the 2018 EAC convention in Traverse City Michigan Thursday May 3 through Sunday May 6 at the Grand Traverse Resort  There is no charge to attend and we can attend all events except one needs to be an EAC member to bid in the auction Saturday night.

The convention chair has arranged a Silver happenings room for anyone wanted to display their early silver die marriages Thursday evening.  There will be a colonial, half cent, and large cent room as well.  Please let me know if you plan to attend and have anything of particular interest to display.

Nathan, cascades1787(at)

David Kahn wrote:

Brian Greer and David Kahn will be sharing a corner booth at Central States this week.  Please stop by and see our great selection of Bust, Seated and lots more too!  Table 705.


Sunday, April 15, 2018

JR Newsletter: 15 April 2018 (391)

Nathan Markowitz wrote:

I was pleased to recently acquire an early die state of an 1807 Browning 2 quarter dollar (pictured below next to a typical late state example).  Despite looking for some years I have only seen two high grade examples. I even wondered if the few early unbroken reverses were saved as an explanation. 

(Other notable early silver coins with rare early states include two personal favorites:  the 1798 dollars B-5 and B-16 which are also duly admired for their dramatic breaks yet rarely exist unbroken)

I would be eager to see images of additional examples of 1807 B-2 in circulated grades without the telltale reverse break...please post if you happen to have one



Nominees for JRCS Hall of Fame

Nominations for the JRCS Hall of Fame class of 2018 are OPEN for a few more weeks.

The membership is encouraged to send nominations for the Hall of Fame at any time. You can nominate candidates for either the veteran (those who contributed before the advent of JRCS) or the modern (those who have been members of JRCS) categories. Please include any pertinent information about the nominee that you feel necessary. Nominees will then be voted on by the HOF committee and the inductees will be announced at the annual meeting at the ANA convention in the summer. We look forward to seeing your nominations!

Please forward your nominations to bkaroleff(at) or to jrnewsletter(at)

Sunday, April 8, 2018

JR Newsletter: 8 April 2018 (390)

Bryce Brown wrote:

I'm holding a "50% off" sale of JR Journal past issues to try to reduce the JRCS inventory.  This offer is valid for all orders received in April.  Don't delay, because I only have one or two of many of the scarce issues.


Bryce Brown
PO Box 16
Avon, CT  06001-0016

Charles Louie wrote:

Greetings from Paris ...
Here are three of the photographs that I took yesterday at the Paris Mint Museum, le Musée de Monnaie.

The old Castaing Machine is no longer there, since my last visit of the museum several years ago.  The museum just reopened in the fall of 2017, after a complete renovation.
I wonder if I should write a short report on this machine which was used by the French Mint to add letterings to the edges of the coins in the late 1600s, a machine which I have never seen, but which I am sure is known to a few American numismatists.  What are your thoughts?

All the best from Paris,
Charles Louie