Sunday, January 26, 2014

JR Newsletter: 26 January 2014 (176)

David Finkelstein wrote:

Some of my recent research has resulted in some new theories about screw press die creation and coinage production from 1793 - 1836.  Some of my theories seem logical.  Some need to be refined.  Had all inclusive documents been written by those employed at the Mint about their technologies, procedures, and logistics, and available today for our review, all of our questions would be easily answered.  Unfortunately, that was not the case.  Like so many of us that are performing research now, and those that have performed research in the past, we many times use the coins as indirect evidence to prove our theories.
Since I have collected Bust Half Dollars by die marriage, and some die marriages by die state, I am aware of several Bust Half Dollar die marriages that were struck from rotated dies.  For example, I am aware of the following rotations on 1813 O-101 50 / UNI Half Dollars: no rotation, 10 degrees counterclockwise, 10 degrees clockwise, 30 degrees clockwise, 45 degrees clockwise, and 90 degrees clockwise.  Images of coins that verify this are available in the Heritage Past Auction Archives.  I know that I have seen other dates / die marriages of Bust Half Dollars that were struck from rotated dies, but I never maintained a log.  Why?  It was not important to me until now.
I am reaching out to the participants of the JR Newsletter.  If you are aware of a copper, silver (but NOT a Capped Bust Half Dollar) or gold coin dated from 1793 to 1836 that was struck from rotated dies, please email me at dfinkelstein(at) with the date, die marriage, degree of rotation, whether the dies were rotated clockwise or counterclockwise, and your source if possible (collection, inventory, or a specific auction).  Again, no information about Capped Bust Half Dollars is needed as I believe that there were probably more die marriages of Capped Bust Half Dollars that were struck from rotated dies than all other die marriages of all other denominations combined.  Note that I do need information about Small Eagle and Heraldic Eagle Half Dollars that were struck from rotated dies.
To determine the degree of die rotation, hold the coin or slab such that the date is at the 6:00 clock position.  Flip the coin from front to back at the 6:00 or 12:00 clock position.  If the dies were not rotated from each other, then the reverse will look normal with the eagle perfectly vertical or the letters of HALF CENT / LARGE CENT horizontal.  If a rotation is visible, then guess the number of degrees that the reverse is rotated from no rotation.  Also, the direction of the rotation is clockwise if the bottom of the reverse is to your left and counterclockwise if the bottom of the reverse is to your right.  If you look at images of auction lots, keep in mind that if the coin was struck from rotated dies, the images of the obverse and reverse will most likely show no die rotation, but the images of the coin in the slab will show the die rotation.
Also, and most importantly, if you specialize in a specific series, and you have never seen a coin in that series that was struck from rotated dies, please let me know as well.  Some of you may already know which dates (and possibly which die marriages) were struck from rotated dies, or whether you have never seen a coin struck from rotated dies.  What may be known to you, will probably be unknown to me.
Hopefully I will receive enough responses, with minimal conflicting information.  I know I may be opening up a can of worms, however, it will take me forever to review every 1793 - 1836 dated coin that previously sold at auction or currently up for auction on every auction website.
If I receive enough information such that I publish my theories in the John Reich Journal, I will reference the information in my article as "Information provided by the subscribers of the John Reich Newsletter".  I thank you in advance for your support.
David Finkelstein
Also, a friendly reminder about the EAC Convention:
2014 EAC Convention - Colorado Springs, CO 
  Dates: Thursday May 1, 2014 through Sunday May 4, 2014

The Doubletree Colorado Springs
1775 E Cheyenne Mountain Blvd
Colorado Springs, CO 8090