Sunday, March 18, 2012

JR Newsletter: 18 March 2012 (80)

Editor's note:  LOTS of information this week, please take your time and be sure to read all the way through to the end (especially if you collect early halves!)

Brad Karoleff wrote:

Last chance to make suggestions for coins to study at the upcoming EAC/JRCS convention! If there are no suggestions the decisions will be made by the officers. If you are going to be there please let us know what die marriages you want to study. Final decisions after the Baltimore JRCS meeting Friday afternoon. Please check the Whitman website for more information.

If you are coming to the show please bring a show-and-tell coin to share with the other members in attendance. We look forward to having a good crowd for our first Baltimore show meeting. Come one, come all and bring a friend!

Tom Little wrote:

 PCGS apparently calls all "L" counterstamped Bust quarters "damaged";  only NGC will give those coins a numerical grade.  I will be getting the coin back from PCGS and will let the dealer know I bought it from what happened on the coin.  Plus PCGS called it a much lower grade level than I expected.
The "Browning 3" 1825 in the PCGS XF40 holder I sold at Great Collections for $1400.  Also I sold a number of bust dimes and some seated material.  They were all good for grade, purchased raw and PCGS graded.  Anyone who has interest I will share the images.
Tom Little
 Michael Sullivan wrote:

I would like to thank collector Pete Mosiondz, Jr., book dealer Bryce Brown, and early dollar enthusiast and researcher David Perkins for information on the HIGHLANDER COLLECTION.   
An auction catalog search, communication with collectors, and contact with PCGS had been under way.    David Perkins' effort to locate the HIGHLANDER Early Dollar registry set did provide a descriptive match with the 1795 BB-52 XF-40 in my collection.   Unfortunately, the registry set lacks photographs for the "definitive match", but I am very pleased and appreciative of the added insight on my collection.    I learned something new which is what makes this hobby so enjoyable.
If other collectors would like to add to this discussion, feel free to contact me at numisbookmjs (at)
Michael Sullivan
David Quint wrote:
I want to pass along to other collectors that I have recently had a lot of success selling some of my bust dime duplicates on eBay (just sold a bunch over the past month). JRCS member Bill Hancock basically does this for me as I'm not interested myself in dealing with the eBay selling process (while this isn't an ad for him, I must say that he's done a terrific job on my dupe circulated early dimes). By setting the reserve levels low, we have found that there is tremendous interest in virtually any variety. For those of you who like the idea of selling to the highest bidder but don't want to deal directly with eBay buyers, the listing process, etc., the level of interest in early silver on eBay is really quite good in my opinion compared to just a few years ago, and there are people out there (like Bill) who can make the process pretty painless.

David Quint
 Winston Zack wrote:

While the newest Bust Dime census compiled by David Quint was recently published in the Vol 21 / Issue 3, December 2011 issue of the John Reich Journal, I would like to add my comments on the (revised) rarity of several die marriages and create a discussion to further refine the rarities of several other die marriages.
After reading the census information a second time, it is understood that 16 die marriages (cited as "varieties" in the article) were nominated for rarity revision; I am assuming these were all of the Capped Bust design, at least this is how I infer it from the article.  Seven of these die marriages had their rarities revised since the last census (Vol. 19, Issue 3, March 2009).  Those include: 1809 JR-1, 1823 JR-1, 1824 JR-1, 1829 JR-8, 1829 JR-11, 1833 JR-4 and 1835 JR-7.
I have no immediate objections to these revised rarity ratings, although the 1824 JR-1 being changed from R3 to R2 was the most surprising.
I would like to add several other die marriages which I feel should be changed based upon my experience in the field (coin shows, eBay, structured auction appearances (e.g. Heritage, Bowers and Merena, Stacks-Bowers, etc)).  Undoubtedly some of the die marriages I will comment on likely overlap the remaining 9 die marriages up for nomination but subsequently not revised.
1823 JR-2 is almost certainly an R4+.  While a paltry 27 examples were reported in the most recent census, I have seen at least 6 examples appear on eBay in the last 8 months; I own 2 of those 6.  I also recently acquired a 3rd example (no, I'm not starting a hoard) as an upgrade.  At such a rate of discovery, I do not feel it is unreasonable to assume at least 70 examples of this die marriage exist.
1825 JR-5 is more likely an R5- than an R5.  Again, while a small quantity were reported in the most recent census (n = 29), this die marriage survives in unusually high grade relative to rarity.  While average surviving grade shouldn't correlate to rarity, in this case it should be expected that a relatively large quantity of this die marriage should exist in lower grades but were subsequently not reported, all things being equal.  This author owns two high grade examples - AU-55 and VF-35.
1827 JR-2 in my opinion is an R5- rather than R5+.  I do not make this exceptional jump in rarity lightly.  I have traced at least 6 or 7 raw examples of this die marriage on eBay in the past year.  For a die marriage with a presumed survival of 30-40 pieces (as an R5+), that is an exceptional quantity of observed examples, assuming none of those appearances were reported in this census.  I also feel that the discovery of the 1827 JR-14 die marriage is accentuating the search for Flat Topped 1's, and new examples of this die marriage are showing up at a more rapid pace.  Nevertheless a revision to R5 should have been implemented.
1829 JR-10.  Louis Scuderi can comment more definitively on this die marriage, but his input on this die marriages rarity should have been the only advice taken seriously for this die marriages true rarity.  His tracking of at least 35 examples in the Vol 21 / Issue 2 was not enough then to revise the rarity from R5+ to R5, but in light of additional specimens, a more accurate revision to R5 should be taken as absolute; I have acquired another previously unreported example of this die marriage since the most recent census was published!
1832 JR-3 in my opinion is an R3 and not an R4.  I personally own 3 examples which I acquired years ago in order to track die stage progression.  While I have declined to acquire several other low grade AG/G/VG specimens in order to upgrade the pieces I own, I have seen many examples of this die marriage at shows and on eBay.  This die marriage is fairly common.  Despite a reported quantity of 32 examples in this most recent census, it is not a die marriage which grabs a lot of attention in terms of value for its respective rarity.  I would like to hear what objections may be about revising this die marriages rarity from R4 to R3.
1833 JR-8 in my opinion is an R4+ and not an R5, or at the very least an R5-.  This is the more available of the 4 R5/R6 die marriages from 1833.  It survives, like the 1825 JR-5, in relatively high grade when compared to perceived rarity.  I have personally owned/own an AU-55 and VF-35; VF-35 being the average grade from the last census.  While I have not seen many of this die marriage at shows, it is just a gut feeling that the rarity of this die marriage is more realistically around R5-/R4+.
1837 JR-3.  While it's nice and convenient that the die marriages of 1837 consistently become more common as the JR numbers increase, from JR1 (R4) to JR4 (R1), it is my opinion that this die marriage should be considered an R1 and not an R2.  It is very is to spot by the bisecting die crack through the date.  I have seen too many of this die marriage to keep track of over the past year.  I own/have owner 3 examples in AU, and never seemed to have any difficulty acquiring this die marriage in high grade; that goes to say I more-or-less ignored lower grade examples.  One quick note, I've had a very difficult time (until recently) acquiring a nice example of the 1837 JR-4 which is considered an R1!  Does that make the JR-4 rarer than the JR-3?  I would be bold enough to say yes, that is quite possible.  I know a revision from R2 to R1 is not going to make headlines, nor should it be cared about as much as an R5 moving to R4, but for consistency I propose this revision!
I would like to know what other die marriages were up for consideration for revision.  I pondered discussing the R6 rarity of the 1820 JR-12 die marriage, but refrained for lack of more definitive evidence (other than that I now own 2 examples) to revise the rarity to R6-.
I should also note that my opinions here are mine alone, maybe with some exception from correspondence with Louis Scuderi about the 1829 JR-10.  Also, revising some of these rarer die marriages to become more common likely hurts the value of some of the examples in my collection.  But for the matter of the "greater good", and obtaining more accurate data on the rarity of these die marriages, I feel it must be considered.
In closing, I ask this very pertinent question, which likely affects a majority of collectors in the John Reich Collectors Society to some extent: How should we cite problem coins in the census?  Should we report a 'details grade', 'net grade' or 'give a consistent grade of "1"'?
I'm looking forward to added discussions on this topic.
Robert Stark wrote:
 While looking forward to the next JRCS e-Letter several thoughts come to mind, almost simultaneously.
    * I appreciated Dave Perkins' notes in last week's e-Letter.
    * The 20 Year Journal Index is perhaps the most useful such Index I can recall. Brad's offer is too generous--The Index is worth much more than he's asking. The topical index has made past issues far more accessible.  I'm enjoying cycling back to some articles--and thinking of past issues--I have to seek a new owner for my complete set in new condition before very long, unfortunately.  A set at Kolbe's recently fetched $500 and they had still another buyer for a set.
    * Offers of early dollars seem scarce since the Hesselgesser Sale.  Also, I seem to see more offers of lower grade dollars, including many that are damaged, than I can recall from years past. One such, an 1800 B20, an R-6 and rarest of that year, was offered by Harry Laibstain last I looked at his website.
      *The new JRCS Index and recent articles on countermarks had me ponder whether any of those found on early dollars also appeared on lower denominations. Countermarks on early dollars were often those of silversmiths and gunsmiths.
      * Thinking of the Baltimore Show coming week, there is a JRCS meeting on Friday afternoon, if I recall. Unfortunately, at the moment it doesn't seem that I can make it--I would appreciate      having someone who attends to post some "minutes" in a following e-letter.
      * And, finally, putting Baltimore and countermarks together, a neat display might bring the famous Houck's Panacea countermark on half dollars and the frequent newspaper ads back to their Baltimore home.
All the best
Chuck Allen wrote:
    In looking at some pics of a coin I was interested in buying, which I wondered if it was the elusive R.6 Lapped Die State O-116a, I looked at many detailed photos of O-116's ( for several hours ) and noticed a detail not mentioned in Overton, and thought it appropriate to mention it here for some discussion and possibly inclusion in future attribution information.
    The most noticeable detail not mentioned is a graver slip or die line protruding straight back off the outer top rear of the top arrow, specimens under VF20'ish seem to possibly depend on strike but anything above that (including details/ cleaned coins), there was no problem seeing the line.
Is it a graver slip (trying to touch up the arrow), or is it a die line?
   In comparing the 116 to the suspected 116a, the leaf /stem and berry stem connections were hard to see with the resolution of the pic and a straight on view so, I drew 2 lines, one from the tip of the olive stem to the a point where the arrow shaft and left "toe" of the right claw meet and notice that on the 116, the talon tip touches the line. When I drew the same reference line on the coin I thought was the 116a, the talon tip falls noticeably short of the line. As I thought on this, I concluded that if an impression in a die rises at an angle to the surface, and you removed some of the surface, the impression would be reduced in size in the die and show a reduced device on the struck planchet.
    I now have the coin and included better pics of berries and leaf detachment. BTW, the graver slip is gone , lapped away, and also on the obverse, only the slightest hint of only the deepest recutting point ( the one with the arrow in Dr.Glenn Peterson's "The Ultimate Guide To Attributing Bust Half Dollars" book picture # 712) is discernible at an angle with light just right on  S-12 on the obverse, which I understand was lapped also
    Thanks to Steve Herrman, Tom Palmer, and Dave Manevitz for looking at the pics and giving me their valued opinions.
     Any comments would be appreciated -- Chuck
 e-mail  DC44A (at)
editor's note:  clicking on these pictures will open up a much larger and more useful version of the same image.


Jim Matthews wrote:

Sorry I've been absent so long--too many weeks on the road and never enough time at home to catch up.
Important Capped Bust Dime collection coming up for auction at the ANA Auction, virtually complete by die marriage from 1809 through 1837 including many of the rarest varieties in high grades. Furthermore, a separate group of rare die marriages has been consigned to our June Auction in Baltimore, including a few Rarity-7 (1827 JR-10 dime) and several Rarity-6 die marriages from cents to half dollars. More on these important collections to follow as the coins are reviewed and cataloged.
I have not found anything new in half dime or dime cud department, but Winston seems to be on top of that lately!
David Kahn wrote:
Although I must apologize for such late notice, I am very pleased to announce that I will be offering the complete, 563-piece Bust Half dollar collection formed by Hall Arnold of Charlotte, NC at this week’s Baltimore Coin Expo.

The coins will be net priced and ready for sale at 10AM on Friday morning – yes folks, that’s THIS Friday morning – March 23rd, at table #1600.  The coins will not be out in the cases until Friday morning, so please do not try to get a head start on Thursday. 

There should be something of interest for virtually any collector.  Among the 563 coins are examples of virtually all dates from 1795 through 1836.  Well over 1/3 of the coins are slabbed, including 59 that are freshly back from PCGS within the past week.  Grades run from Good thru AU-58, and many significant and affordable Overton rarities are included.

Please do not hesitate to contact me by email or phone, and I will be happy to provide more information and answer whatever questions you may have.  If you will not be in Baltimore, please try to make arrangements with another collector or dealer who can view coins for you and help you make any purchase decisions. 

I look forward to seeing many of you on Friday morning.

David  Kahn

David Kahn Rare Coins
POB 1637
Olney, MD  20830-1637
David (at)
(301) 570-7070