Sunday, May 3, 2015

JR Newsletter: 3 May 2015 (239)

This week, we have two original contributions to the JR Newsletter, plus a reminder about nominations for the JRCS Hall of Fame.

Sheridan Downey wrote:

Last week no one reported on the sale of Robert Hilt, Jr.'s bust halves.  All eyes were on the 1794 O.109 after it was run up to $600,000 by a pair of Internet bidders several days before the auction.  There was, of course, no further bidding.  The hammer price stood, yielding $705,000 with the 17.5% buyer's fee.

Reliable sources at Heritage indicated that the bidders were somewhat unpredictable "trophy hunters," each with a habit of entering back-breaking bids with the expectation of acquiring the trophy and receiving a significant reduction in price.  This time one of them got caught.  Neither bidder is devoted to die variety collecting; so the price must be treated as an aberration that will not influence prices on prices on future offerings of rare die marriages.  The prices for Hilt's 1794 O.108 and 1795 O.101 confirm this thinking.



David Finkelstein wrote an article for us, "David Ott’s Account of Gold – Part 2"

His article is below:

David Ott’s Account of Gold – Part 2
By David Finkelstein

David Ott’s Account of Gold identifies when “clippings” were received from the Chief Coiner, melted into new ingots and delivered back to the Chief Coiner.  See Figures 1 and 2.  Clippings were the unused gold from previously made ingots.  They included shavings from the planchets after they were adjusted, and the remainder of the sheet after the planchets were cut out of them.  See Figure 3.

Since the clippings already contained the required gold and silver/copper alloy mix as mandated by the Mint & Coinage Act of April 2, 1792, they simply needed to be melted and poured into ingots.  Per the entries in David Ott’s Account of Gold, the clippings were usually melted into new ingots and delivered back to the Chief Coiner on the same day they were received.  In some cases, the clippings received were not enough for one ingot, and receipt of additional clippings were required before an ingot could be created.

Ingot Weight

Beginning July, 1795, the average weight of a melted and refined gold ingot was approximately 34 +/- 5 Troy ounces.  During September, 1795, the average weight increased to approximately 55 +/- 5 Troy ounces.  Then, in June, 1796, the average weight was reduced back to approximately 34 +/- 5 Troy ounces.  A cursory analysis of David Ott’s ledger has determined that the lighter weight ingots resulted in less unused gold (or clippings) than the heavier ingots.

Not only did the United States Mint experiment with the number of obverse stars to the left and right, the size, pattern type and number of stars above the eagle’s head, and the number of arrows in the eagle’s claw, they also experimented with ingot weight.

To be continued…


Figure 1 – David Ott’s Account of Gold: Page 11 – Clippings Received

 Figure 2 – David Ott’s Account of Gold: Page 12 – Ingots Returned

Figure 3 –Unused Part of Punched Out Sheet (Clippings)


Finally, a reminder:

Nominations for the JRCS Hall of Fame class of 2015 are now OPEN. However, the nomination period will close this month to allow the Hall of Fame Committee sufficient time to consider each nominee and select this year's honorees.

The membership is encouraged to send nominations for the Hall of Fame. You can nominate candidates for either the veteran (those who contributed before the advent of JRCS) or the modern (those who have been members of JRCS) categories. Please include any pertinent information about the nominee that you feel necessary. Nominees will then be voted on by the HOF committee and the inductees will be announced at the annual meeting at the ANA convention in the summer.

Please forward your nominations to me at jrnewsletter(at) or to Brad Karoleff at bkaroleff(at)

Thank you,
Richard Meaney