Sunday, May 25, 2014

JR Newsletter: 25 May 2014 (190)

Louis Scuderi wrote with a request for images of half dimes:

I am doing some research on late die state and full reverse cud capped bust half dimes.  I am seeking images of coins with reverse cuds and also of coins that are late die state just before formation of the cud.  Specifically, I am requesting images for the following die marriages and your permission to use the images (with acknowledgement) when the research is presented in the JR Journal:

1830 LM-1.2
1832 LM-5
1832 LM-10.4
1833 LM-1
1833 LM-4.3
1833 LM-8
1835 LM-1
1835 LM-5.2
1835 LM-9.2
1836 LM-1.2

Images and correspondence should go to cirque1(at)

Thank you,

Bob Stark wrote in response to Glenn Peterson's discussion of bust dollars studied at the EAC-JRCS "Happenings" event:

Thanks, Glenn for writing on the 1798 B-16 MS 62. It is a beautiful coin illustrated on page 172 of the newer Bowers dollar book and, apparently, the finest known.

My coin, purchased for me by Jules Reiver at the 1975 ANA, graded a VF 20 there and Ex-Blanchard, Austin, and Ostheimer. It was thought to be unique "without any trace of the usual break".  However, I'm told that a few others, without evidence of a break, are known.

With four die states, B-16 seems a neat candidate for a die state collection.

Bob Stark

Mike Sherrill wrote with a question for readers about rarity ratings:

When a die marriage is given a particular rarity rating, what exactly does this mean?

I grew up with the dime book - my definition of rarity probably derived from page 20 and is "estimated number of surviving examples in all grades, both attributed and not". But to take other examples, the 1836 B5 quarter is widely regarded as R6, in one of the quarter books "15-17 known". In the latest dime census, the 1820 JR12 is listed as R6 with 17 reported. My first thought is, "these are actually R5+ die marriages".

The previous two examples are far from isolated and so I'm curious how others define rarity. Is it similar to my definition above?  Is it "number of unique examples identified" like the previous examples? Is there a right way to define it?  Is it just a question of sellers inflating rarity and buyers downplaying it? The differentiation is much less important for the R4 and more common die marriages, but the rarer die marriages are the focus of many of our collections.