Sunday, September 21, 2014

JR Newsletter: 21 September 2014 (207)

A number of interesting contributions this week…  we start with Steve Tompkins, who responded to last week's contributions from both Garrett Ziss and Winston Zack.

Steve Tompkins wrote:

This is in response to Garrett's question:

The Mint delivery records show two deliveries of bust halves in September 1814.

Delivery #725 - 9/12/1814 - 60,164

Delivery #727 - 9/19/1814 - 31,800

Let's look at some facts and statistics to see if we can determine if your coin was indeed struck during the battle at Fort McHenry...

Other than two R-4 die marriages, the other seven for the year are currently R-1 to R-3.

The total number of bust halves delivered for 1814 is 1,039,075.

If we just take this number and divide it by nine (the number of die marriages for the year), we get 115,453 coins struck per die marriage.

There is no way to determine exactly how many actual coins were struck with each die marriage due to the unknown amount of attrition for each marriage.

Even based on rarity we can not narrow it down to a more accurate number, as an R-1 can only be stated as containing more than 1250 coins still in existence and this is open ended.

But we can certainly state that the R-4 die marriages should contain 81-200 coins still remaining out of the original amount struck.

The most often stated survival rate for early bust coinage is about 3%, however for the bust halves, I would state that it could be as high as 5-10%, due to the banks keeping a large amount in their vaults.

If we take the 10% number, then for the R-4 die marriages there should have been at least 810 - 2000 coins originally struck. Even if this number is lowered to 5%, we are looking at 1620-4000 coins originally struck.

According to the Leman-Gunnett emission sequence, the last two die marriage struck in 1814 were O-103 & O-106. O-106 is currently an R-4 die marriage.

Only those coins produced and delivered in the last delivery of bust halves for the year could have possibly been struck during the battle.

The last delivery (#727) on 9/19/1814 contained 31,800 bust halves. If we subtract the possible amount of coins struck utilizing the dies of the O-106 die marriage, we still have at least 27,800 coins left over that could have been struck by the dies of the O-103 die marriage. As the O-103 is currently an R-1, most likely all of those remaining coins and some of the prior delivery were of the O-103 die marriage.

 So, the answer to the question is most likely yes...your coin could have been struck during the battle, but there were O-103's struck before and probably after the battle as well.

This is a neat way to connect a coin to a specific point in history!

Steve M. Tompkins
(JRCS 726)

This is in response to Winston Zack:

It is called the "Group Die Theory" and was originally proposed by Robert P. Hilt II in his 1980 book, Die Varieties of Early United States Coins.

Steve M. Tompkins
(JRCS 726)

H Craig Hamling also wrote in response to Winston Zack:

At my factory we would call that a pre-production plan.
Perhaps that is what you recall.

H Craig Hamling

Sheridan Downey wrote with a request for me to reveal something about one of our newer contributors (Garrett Ziss).  Sheridan wrote:

Richard, be sure to tell your readers that Garrett is all of 11 years old.  In another 11 years I suspect that he will be the world's foremost expert on bust half-dollars and, perhaps, other early US coinage.


Winston Zack wrote with a request for assistance from readers of the JR Newsletter:

I am putting the finishing 'writing' touches (edits will still be required) on a future JRJ article, but I am still missing some information I would like to add in order to make the article more complete. What I need are images of a few specific half-dime and dime cuds; the images will not be used in the article. If you can please help me by sending me images of the cuds I am looking for I would be most grateful, and your assistance would be noted in the article. Feel free to email me the images at: stoneman101(at)

1) 1836 LM-3/V-4, reverse cud over A in AMERICA
2) 1829 JR-4, reverse cud over ER and retained cud over NITE
3) 1830 JR-4, reverse cud from Rim to M
4) 1831 JR-4, reverse cud above ED and later CA to arrowhead
5) 1831 JR-6, obverse cud from Rim to Star's 1-2-3
6) 1832 JR-2, obverse cud from Rim left of date
7) 1835 JR-4, reverse cud from A3 to Arrowheads

In addition, although I may be wrong, I recall that there is now a second Bust Dollar cud discovered/known in addition to the 1798 B-20/BB-1. I am not a Bust Dollar collector, but if there are any other Bust Dollar cuds known besides this 1798 B-20 I would be interested in adding that information to my article.

Winston Zack