Sunday, October 9, 2011

JR Newsletter: 9 October 2011 (57)

David Lange wrote (regarding last week's correspondence about an 1829 half dime):

I read this exchange with interest, since I do the variety attributions
for NGC. I'd like to add my observations as to why this coin was labeled

As a matter of policy I've always held that a coin has to have ALL the
features described and/or illustrated for a particular die state for me
to advance it to that listing. Otherwise, it falls back to the earlier
die state. This policy works well for coin series in which the standard
reference books are incomplete and do not address remarriages, such as
is the case with Overton. It is extremely difficult to apply to highly
specific references such as the LM book and the VAM website, both of
which present ambiguous situations. In these instances it is often
exceedingly difficult to make the call, as both Mark and Richard
discovered with this coin.

Typically, for most early coin series the earlier die state is the more
common one and a safer attribution, but 1829 LM-6 is certainly an
exception. In my judgement there were features attributed to LM-6.2 in
the book that were simply not evident on this specimen. I did agonize
over it for longer than I can usually afford to spend, given the large
numbers of coins I have to attribute daily across all series. I can't
guarantee that it would not receive the same attribution if submitted
raw five years from now.

NGC will occasionally make 11th hour changes to auction coins that we
agree are mis-attributed, and Mark has sent back such pieces from time
to time. We can certainly reconsider this piece in light of the
information provided.

David W. Lange
Research Director
Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC)
(T) 941-360-3990 x152
(F) 941-360-2553


Jeff Tryka wrote:

Thanks for the great and informative newsletter, I appreciate the regular updates and information, even when it relates to areas that I don't really collect.  I have an interesting 1809 bust half that I picked up at a recent show (images below), and it appears to be struck in copper and painted silver (at least that's how I'd describe the appearance).  So my first thoughts were perhaps this was a contemporary counterfeit, struck in copper and painted silver or plated in silver.  Maybe it was a wrong planchet error, given that the large cent was close in size and weight, but then why would it look like it was painted silver?  The mint wouldn't make a pattern in copper or strike a coin on the wrong planchet and then try to pass it off as silver.  The weight was about 13.1 grams, which given the wear would be about right I suppose, and after reviewing it further with the dealer, he thought it might have been in a fire, and that's what caused the appearance.  I am just at a loss on this one, I've seen hundreds of bust halves in the years I've been collecting, but nothing ever like this.  I've attached a few photos of the coin (pardon my meager photography skills) including some that are a side-by-side comparison to a "normal" 1809 half.  If anyone out there has any thoughts, I'd love to hear them!
Jeff Tryka