The JR Newsletter is the official e-newsletter of the John Reich Collectors Society. The purpose of the John Reich Collectors Society (JRCS) is to encourage the study of numismatics, particularly United States gold and silver coins minted before the introduction of the Seated Liberty design, and to provide technical and educational information concerning such coins.
Sunday, December 11, 2016
JR Newsletter: 11 December 2016 (323)
Discussion of rarity ratings for Capped Bust Half Dollars
and the JRCS vote on participation in the Newman Numismatic Portal dominate
this week's contributions.
You will also find other useful information there.
Nathan Markowitz wrote:
I would like to voice my support alongside Brad Karoleff's to
scan the JR Journal to the Newman Numismatic Portal.I can only think of positives for our club
and its educational and research missions.We are a very small slice of a large community of collectors and
attracting new members is essential.
Anyone who attends a local or regional show, or even the
major auctions, will see throngs clamoring for high grade coins of the
twentieth century; if but a few caught our passion (malady?) it would be a
great addition to the study and stewardship of early US silver coins.
John Okerson wrote:
To answer Rick Beale’s request for an Overton listing with
current rarity values, I suggest Stephen J. Herrman’s Auction & Mail Bid
Prices Realized for Bust Half Dollars 1794-1839 which is published semiannually
for about $25.JRCS used to sell them
but if no longer, inquiries should be made to Steve Herrman via email at
From David Perkins:
In reply to Sunday’s half dollar question:
Rick Beale wrote:
Is there an updated list of Overton numbers versus their
For instance: 1807 O-101 r.1, O-102 r.2, O-103 r.3, etc.
W. David Perkins Reply:
First of all regarding Rick Beale’s question last week, “Is
there an updated list of Overton number versus their rarities,” the Fifth
Edition (2013), the technical answer to Rick’s question is no, as there is no
current and publicly available updated list (to the best of my knowledge).
On the other hand, following are a number of sources I have
used over the years to get more current rarity rating information for
Pre-Turban and Capped Bust half dollars, both as a collector and Professional
The most recent edition of the Overton half dollar book, is
a starting point (Rick didn’t state which edition of the Overton book that he
has).The Fifth Edition of the Overton
book rarity ratings are I believe those of the author (Donald L. Parsley),
likely with some input from other early half dollar specialists.There is also another half dollar book
available, “Early United States
Half Dollars Vol. 1/ 1794-1807” by
Steve M. Tompkins.Steve included
updated rarity ratings for the Pre-Turban halves at the time he published this
The JRCS publication, the John Reich Journal (Journal)
Volume 16 / Issue 3 (June 2005) published an article titled, “BHNC [Bust Half
Nut Club] Rarity Ratings for Bust Half Dollars” by Stephen J. Herrman.Steve wrote, “At the general meeting of the
Bust Half Nut Club held during the 2004 ANA
Convention in Pittsburgh, updated
rarity rating estimates were presented for the Bust half dollar die
marriages.Included in the presentation
was a summary of changes in the rarity ratings for both the Pre-Turban half
dollars (1794-1807) and the Turban (Capped Bust) half dollars (1807-1836).”
Steve Herrman included a table listing the rarity rating
estimates for all die marriages in the third edition of the Overton book (1990)
versus the current BHNC estimates (2004).He included a column in the table for “the year in which the BHNC last
updated the rarity rating estimate.”If
this table today was updated and current it would likely be the list that Rick
is looking for with his question last week.For example using the 1807 date, O-104 was an R-3 in 1990; in the table
it is updated to R-5- (2004).Some rarity
ratings went up, many stayed the same, and some went down.
JRCS also publishes Censuses periodically for each of the
early silver series, from half dimes to the early silver dollars 1794-1803. The
last Census for the Pre-Turban half dollars was published Volume 24 / Issue 2
(July 2014) and the last Census for the R-4 to R-8 Capped Bust Half dollars was
published in Volume 24 / Issue 3 (November 2014).The rarity ratings used in these two Census
according to Steve Herrman, the author, were “based on the Bust Half Nut Club
(BHNC) study published in Volume 16 / Issue 3” in June 2005.Steve noted that the rarity ratings for five
die marriages were “demoted (from the 2004 study) due to the appearance of
additional specimens.”This Census thus
provides a partial updated list (missing any changes for R-1 through R-3+ die
Back issues of the John Reich Journal are available for sale
through Bryce Brown.Not all issues are
currently available – please check with Bryce for what issues that he has in
stock. Bryce can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com .Last time I checked, Volume 24 / Issue 3 was
not in stock, possibly there is a lot of Capped Bust half dollar collector
demand for this issue as it has the latest Capped Bust Half Census and rarity
The most current source for the early half dollar rarity
ratings that is available to the general public is found in Steve Herrman’s
Auction & Mail Bid Prices Realized for Bust Half Dollars 1794 – 1839.This is available from Steve for $24 in PDF
format, $32 in printed form, or $38 for both.This publication is typically updated two times per year.Per Steve’s cover pages, it includes the
“Rarity 3+ to Rarity 8 Die Varieties, Overdates & other Popular Varieties,
Proofs, Mint Errors & Patterns, Countermarks, Contemporary Counterfeits,
and Condition Census Specimens for all Die Varieties [Die Marriages].For example the 1807 O-104 is still listed as
R-5-.Information included for each die
marriage listed is Year, Var#, Description, Grade, Price, Date, Auction Name,
and Lot#, all listed high to low by grade.
You can buy a single issue from Steve, or subscribe.For example, I subscribe and get a printed
copy as well as a PDF version that I can use on my laptop and iPad when I’m
traveling or at coin shows (vs. bringing the printed copy along wherever I
go).Steve can be reached at
The Bust Half Nut Club is also a source of information on
the Pre-Turban and Capped Bust half dollars.Steve Herman wrote in his June 2005 article, “the Bust Half Nut Club was
established in the late 1960s as a group dedicated to the study and sharing of
information about Bust half dollars attributed by Overton die marriage.The primary focus over the years has been on
Capped Bust half dollars (1807-1836).However, an increasing number of members are also keenly interested in
the Pre-Turban half dollars (1794-1807).To be considered as a candidate for BHNC membership , an individual must
own a minimum of 100 different Bust die marriages by Overton attribution,
should be genuinely interested in obtaining new die marriages for their set,
and must be sponsored by a current member who has verified the attribution and
grades on their application.”I am not a
member, but BHNC members have another good source of rarity ratings and
information on the die varieties of the early half dollars.
It is important to note that not every collector,
researcher, author, or dealer will agree 100% on the rarity ratings for any
I hope this helps answer your question.I welcome any feedback on my reply to Rick’s
question.I can be reached by e-mail at
wdperki(at)attglobal.net . Thanks.
I am a JRCS member as well as a member of the “younger
generation of collectors” that Brad Karoleff mentioned last week in his post
regarding the potential digitization of the John Reich Journal. I am in favor
of allowing the Newman Numismatic Portal (NNP) to digitize our journal for
Reason #1: It would uphold the purpose
of the JRCS.
As we see every week at the top of the JR Newsletter, “The
purpose of the JRCS is to encourage the study of numismatics, particularly United
States gold and silver coins minted before
the introduction of the Seated Liberty design, and to provide technical and
educational information concerning such coins.”
Allowing the NNP to digitize our journal would uphold the
purpose of the JRCS.
Reason #2: It would attract new Bust coin collectors.
Having our journal digitized on the NNP would expand our
ability to attract new collectors (and hopefully new members) beyond the walls
of a coin convention. While the focus is on attracting new collectors who are
more likely to explore a website than attend a coin show, I also think that our
presence on the NNP could capture the attention of another important
group.Last month at the Baltimore Show,
an experienced collector mentioned to me that he recently started collecting
Bust halves because he had maxed out on what he could afford in his current
areas of collecting.This type of
collector is likely already a user of the NNP, so if our journal is available to
view on the NNP, we could capture their attention when they search for a new
area of collecting.
Reason #3: It would allow us to access the JRJ at a coin
The JRCS website provides a current JRJ Index by Issue,
Topic/Denomination, and Author.(Thanks
to the JRCS member who updates this useful tool!). By using this JRJ Index in
conjunction with our digitized journal on the NNP, we would be able to access
the JRJ at a coin show when we need to refer to a specific piece of information.
As someone just starting out in the world of numismatics,
the NNP has been a valuable resource from both the collector and researcher
perspective. Before you cast your vote, please take a few minutes to explore
the Newman Numismatic Portal https://nnp.wustl.edu/
and see what it has to offer. (To specifically view examples of
digitized publications from other specialty clubs, click here https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/periodicals).
Jeff Reichenberger wrote:
Regarding the question of
whether or not to allow the Newman Numismatic Portal to digitize the JR
Journal, I can offer that the Numismatists of Wisconsin (NOW) board also
discussed this last year and concluded we absolutely should allow it.
To have the entirety
of issues (50+ years) available for research, exposed nationally, to
anyone can only be good for the club, good for the hobby. The question:
"will members quit the club because they can read the journal on line?"
came up, and we moved to wait two years - as
is proposed by JRCS - before sending in the most current issues.
Another consideration was that in spite of that fingertip access (NNP)
to our digital archives, the vast majority of our members prefer reading
our hard copy magazine verses online reading, and
it is believed that few, if any, would circumvent the nominal $10
membership fee just to read the magazine on the NNP. Nevertheless, we
did implement the two year policy.
The most difficult aspect
of getting it done was the gathering of the entire volume and shipping
it to NNP. Luckily, we have one member who is kind enough to store all
the cartons of our archives in his shop, and also we have had another
member who took
it upon himself to have every issue of NOW NEWS bound into hardcover
volumes before he was deceased, and still another member who filled in
the pieces that escaped binding. The process took approximately two
months. NNP shipped them back to us and our NOW
NEWS was online before we knew it. They made the process easy and free
to the club. Now if anyone is interested in any Wisconsin numismatic
item, or perhaps some of the early ambitions of Chet Krause, they may
find some interesting information in NOW NEWS.
My opinion is that JRCS should allow digitization by the Newman Numismatic Portal.