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.