Sunday, July 29, 2012

JR Newsletter: 29 July 2012 (99)

We received a few responses to Raymond Hale's comments about his 1814 O-107a half dollar, die states, and the Bust Half Nut Club:

Dick Kurtz wrote:

Looking at the word, "variety" it might better be described as "die marriage." The '23-101 and 101a were produced from the same obverse die, but in two different states of that die.  Keep working on your 100 die marriages!

Dick Kurtz (JRCS 049, BHNC 052)


Brad Karoleff wrote:

Reworking a die makes it into a new DIE STATE, not a new die.  To be a new die the complete piece of steel has to change, hence the 101a designation for the patched 3 on the broken 3 die. 

When Haseltine (Randall), Beistle and Overton first began giving numbers to new "varieties" oftentimes they assigned a new number to what amounted to a die state.  They were enamored with die cracks and heavy clashmarks that were listed as different numbers than their early die state mates.  After careful study it was found that the dies were the same ones, just in a different state of wear.  So, to have a new "variety" (marriage) in your collection one of the complete dies had to change, not have been reworked. 

As you get further into the hobby of collecting by marriages and die states you will come to appreciate the subtle differences (sometimes not too subtle) in the coins produced from the same set of dies.  Some collectors preferring the early unblemished coins and others the train wrecks that some dies became. 

Have patience getting to the magic 100 die marriages.  Buy only coins that fit your program so you do not have to replace them after becoming a member of the BHNC.  It may take a little longer, but it will be worthwhile for your collection.  I had to wait until 400 marriages to get in, but that's another story.

I look forward to future exchanges with you and other collectors of the capped bust coins by die  marriage.  This hobby is fun!

Brad Karoleff


Steve Herrman wrote:

In response to Raymond Hale and other budding Bust Half Dollar collectors who aspire to join the Bust Half Nut Club (BHNC) someday, please let me try to clarify a few things about the club's membership requirements, the "magic 100" minimum, and the terms, "die varieties", "die marriages", and "die states".

Collectors who are relatively new to the Bust halves often ask questions similar to, "Why does the BHNC not consider 1823 O.101 (Broken 3) and 1823 O.101a (Patched 3) to be separate die varieties?". Since the term, "die variety", may be used to refer to multiple die marriages (e.g., 1819/8 Large 9 is O.102, O.103, O.104, O.105, and O.106), to a single die marriage (e.g., 1819/8 Small 9 is O.102), or to a die state of a die marriage (e.g., 1823 Ugly 3 is the O.110a die state), its use often leads to confusion. The terms "die marriage" and "die state" are preferred, as they are more specific.

In general, to be considered for membership in the BHNC, you must have assembled a personal collection of at least 100 different die marriages by Overton attribution, and must be sponsored by a current BHNC member in good standing. Multiple die states of the same die marriage count as one die marriage. Your set may contain any combination of the 108 currently known Pre-Turban (Flowing Hair and Draped Bust) die marriages for 1794-1807 and the 450 currently known Turban (Capped Bust) die marriages for 1807-1836. However, there is now one exception to the 100 die marriage rule. If you own at least 30 of the 108 Pre-Turban die marriages for 1794-1807, you may be considered for membership on that basis.

In conclusion, the BHNC would consider 1823 O.101 (Broken 3 variety) and 1823 O.101a (Patched 3 variety) to be separate die states of the 1823 O.101 die marriage, so both cannot be counted towards the minimum number of die marriages required to apply for BHNC membership.

Best Regards,

Steve Herrman


David Finkelstein wrote:

Major progress has recently been made in understanding the evolution of our nation's silver and gold coinage.  Its birth was in 1794.  Its infancy lasted through 1798.  By 1799, it was a mature, integrated enterprise.

I will be making a presentation at the ANA summer convention in Philadelphia on Tuesday, August 7th at 3:00 PM in room 104B.  My "Money Talks" presentation (editor's note:  "Money Talks" is the new name the ANA has given to what was formerly called "Numismatic Theatre") is titled "Analysis of Heraldic Eagle Silver and Gold Coins Dated 1796-1807".  I will be providing new information regarding the designs and experiments performed by the U S Mint Engraving Department as our nation's Heraldic Eagle silver and gold coins evolved.

David Finkelstein


Brad Karoleff also wrote to announce the latest issue of the John Reich Journal:

The latest issue of the John Reich Journal was mailed to the membership today.  Hopefully they will arrive before you are leaving for the ANA show in Philly.  Remember the JRCS meeting on Wednesday morning at 8AM.  There will be a great presentation by Dick Graham on the reeded edge half dollars along with the unveiling of his new book on the subject.  There are other interesting things planned for the meeting, hope to see you there.

The latest issue of the journal includes an article by David Finkelstein who is also speaking at the ANA on Tuesday afternoon.  If you are attending the convention you should plan on hearing David speak.  There is also an interesting article by our e-news editor on the Reverse G for capped bust half dimes.  William Nyberg has penned an article on a Congressional report by Robert Scot.  There is also a submission from David Davis.  John McCloskey found an almost finished manuscript on David's computer after he died and decided that it would benefit numismatics to have it published.  Finally, the Pre-Turban half dollar census is included in this issue as compiled by Steve Herrman.  We are also requesting the membership to submit their R4-R8 Capped Bust half dollar inventory for inclusion in the next issues census.

Anyone who does not receive their issue of the journal by the 15th of the month should contact me at bkaroleff (at) to see what the problem may be.

Brad Karoleff


A final note from the editor:

The schedule for the ANA Show has been posted online.  The JRCS Annual Meeting will be held at 8:00 AM on Wednesday, August 8th in Room 105B of the Pennsylvania Convention Center.