Sunday, March 13, 2016

JR Newsletter: 13 March 2016 (284)

We have a few interesting contributions this week. 

First, Mike Camp wrote about the title image in last week's JR Newsletter, asking if there was an image of the entire coin (an 1837 LM-1 half dime).  The image of the obverse and reverse of that coin (not just the close up of the date clashed onto the reverse) is here:

 Click on the image to open/view a larger version

David Perkins wrote:

For those who missed this, Bryce Brown’s Numismatic Literature Auctions Second Mail Bid Sale of Important Numismatic Literature March 5, 2016 had an extremely hard to find copy of a book on 1794 Dollars by Martin A. Logies.   Many of you know Bryce as he handles sales of the back issues of the John Reich Journal for JRCS.  This rare book on 1794 Dollars was sold as Lot 354, and was cataloged as follows:

Presentation Copy of Logies’ Dollars of 1794

354 Logies, Martin A. THE FLOWING HAIR SILVER DOLLARS OF 1794: AN HISTORICAL AND POPULATION CENSUS STUDY. Cardinal Collection Educational Foundation, CA, 2004, first edition. Original pictorial card covers, 4to. 203 pages, illustrated. New. An important and meticulous research study of this fantastic first year of dollar coinage and the coins that are known to exist. This is a prerelease issue that was distributed and inscribed by Martin. Rarely available in ANY form. ($150)

 The book hammered at $385.00, and with the 15% Buyer’s Premium it realized $442.75!

This has always been a difficult, if not impossible book to find.  Bryce is correct when he stated, “Rarely available in ANY form.” I’ve tried to find copies for friends over the years, and have been unsuccessful.

I also have a copy of the Third Edition of this book, which is hardbound.  I was not aware of a second edition having been published.  If anyone has a copy of the second edition I’d appreciate confirmation of this and would like to learn the date of publication.

I assume the original cost of this book was $100.00.  I gave Martin a $100 bill for my copy of this book at a coin show, possibly the 2002 ANA (?).  I purchased the Third Edition from Martin at the 2010 Boston ANA for another $100 bill.  I’ve never seen the any of these books advertised for sale by Martin Logies or the Cardinal Foundation.   

Here is a link to the this Brown Auction sale and prices realized:

W. David Perkins
Centennial, CO

Jim Matthews wrote:

Discovery of a new specimen of 1801 LM-1 half dime

Recently a partner and I purchased a raw 1801 LM-1 half dime from a dealer who had correctly attributed this rarity and, having studied the coin, we are now ready to place it on the market at the Baltimore Coin Convention at the end of this month. At a glance, this rare die pairing jumps out at anyone who has seen a picture of this variety, as there is always a dramatic horizontal die crack through the upper portion of the date and curving up the bust tip on the right to the rim--forming a retained cud. All known examples have this die crack, although it is possible an early die state exists without the crack, none have yet been discovered. The obverse die was likely misaligned with the reverse, causing an early and dramatic crack. Although raw, the coin was unusually wholesome for an early half dime. There were no bends in the planchet, and the surfaces are free from any physical damage as well as being smooth and having no environmental damage.

Flowing Hair and Draped Bust half dimes have a well-earned reputation for being hard to find nice, in any grade, that is well known among experienced collectors. I had conversations in the 1970s with Bowers and Ruddy's numismatist John Murbach, where he recalled working with Jim Ruddy on the original "Photograde" book that the Draped Bust, Small Eagle and Draped Bust, Heraldic Eagle half dimes were nearly impossible to find representative examples of for this ground breaking reference. So many of the known coins were bent with uneven wear, or damaged in some manner that considerable effort had to be expended for months to locate representative examples of each grade. Today, with better photography and auction archives that we not available 40+ years ago, such a task would be considerably easier as known higher grade coins are generally well known and documented.

Half Dime collecting has long been a passion of numismatists. Harold P. Newlin published the first book on this series in 1883. For years, the standard reference work titled "The United States Half Dimes" had been the original pamphlet by Daniel W. Valentine published by the ANS as Monograph #48 in 1931. This pamphlet was reprinted in 1975 by Quarterman with updates and new discoveries then known. The half dimes of 1801 were always available, although the vast majority known are in low grades. The Valentine reference noted two varieties, V-1 and V-2. There was no picture of the V-2 variety in his book, but he noted that "Obv. Similar to no. 1, but die breaks under bust at 1 and 8 of date which almost obliterates these two figures. Rev. Same as No. 1."

Noted specialists in the series Ed Price and Jules Reiver began to study the V-1 and V-2 coins and discovered that the obverse dies of these two varieties were incredibly similar in the locations of the letters and stars. After purchasing a considerable number of 1801 half dimes between them and exhaustively studying and comparing examples determined that the V-1 and V-2 were struck with the same obverse die, which had been radically re-engraved to remove extensive die cracks and damage on the right side, and coinage continued, then this amazing die broke on the left side. Their study was reported in the "John Reich Journal" Volume 11, Issue 3.

In 1986 Dr. Eric Gutscher purchased an 1801 half dime from Stack's in an auction, where it was noted to be a V-2 example. The coin had a horizontal die crack through the entire date to the bust, which seemed to fit the description used by Valentine--"die break under bust at 1 and 8 of date which almost obliterates these two figures."  Without another example to reference and no photograph, this would seem a reasonable attribution. However, when Dr. Gutscher sent his new coin to Jules Reiver it was clearly something different than the coin Jules considered to be V-2. In 1987 Jules Reiver wrote an article in the "John Reich Journal" Volume 2, Issue 1 describing this new die variety.

In 1999, the now-standard reference book on this series was published entitled, "Federal Half Dimes 1792 – 1837," by Russell J. Logan and John W. McCloskey. Excellent photographs and descriptions have now been available to numismatists for years, and the popularity of this series continues to grow. In this reference, the old Valentine-1 and Valentine-2 varieties (struck by the same reworked die pair) became known as LM-2, with notes and photographs of the extraordinary die deterioration that occurred during the production of this variety. The variety discovered by Eric Gutscher became known as the LM-1 die pairing.

In the nearly 30 years since the discovery of the 1801 LM-1 only a handful have turned up, and this variety remains a solid R-7 with only 6 or so known. Collectors have searched far and wide to locate examples of this die pairing without success. With the continued growth of third party grading, there are now two examples that have been certified without problems between PCGS and NGC (both are PCGS). One is PCGS Fine-12, and now this coin as AG-3. The technically finest has VF details but minor surface roughness and is considered to have environmental damage by PCGS. Thus the census of the 1801 LM-1 would be as follows:

1). Discovery specimen, Stack's 6/86:761 VF details, environmental damage, sold by W. David Perkins in 2015 to an advanced half dime specialist
2). PCGS F-12, held in another advanced half dime collection for many years
3). Plate Coin Logan/McCloskey reference, VF details, but with dents on obverse and reverse
4). PCGS AG-3, this new specimen that turned up last year. Obverse is VG or so, reverse just enough wear to the tops of some letters in the legend to make it AG-3.
5). A specimen that has damage and in low grade, not seen, sold privately from another advanced half dime specialist
6). Poor-1, an unattributed specimen sold about 20 years ago in a Heritage bullet sale, obverse clearly recognizable with the die crack, reverse slick from wear. Not seen

At this time, it is believed that the 1801 LM-1 die marriage is the rarest of the series, topping out the rarity of the 1800 LM-2 and LM-4 varieties, which are both low R-7 at this point with 10 to 12 specimens known of each.

I can be contacted at 540-335-3288 or by email at  bustdollar(at)

Keep on searching as these rarities still turn up now and then!

Jim Matthews

 Click on the image to open/view a larger version


Nathan Markowitz wrote:

This is a reminder that we will be having a silver die marriage display at the 2016 EAC show in Charlotte NC at the Westin hotel Thursday April 7.   On behalf of EAC, John Kraljevich as convention chair and myself as educational chair cordially encourage all JRCS members to attend the show.  There is no charge for the show which begins with a reception Thursday evening and continues with educational seminars and a bourse through Sunday afternoon April 10.

We have 1819 B4 quarter and bust silver counterstamps as display tables.   Please contact me at cascades1787(at) if you wish to have a die marriage table for a different denomination.  You don't
need high grade coins…just need to bring some examples to display.  If you've been to one of these conventions
you know how mellow and fun it is to attend.  If not, give it a shot especially if you live nearby.

A copy of the schedule of educational events at the 2016 EAC meeting is here:

Len Augsburger wrote:

The Newman Numismatic Portal is Live

Newman Numismatic Portal Announces Opening of Numismatic Research Site

March 6, 2016 – The Newman Numismatic Portal (NNP) is now live and open to the general public at  Funded by the Eric P. Newman Numismatic Education Society (EPNNES), NNP is administered through Washington University in St. Louis, and aims to provide the most comprehensive numismatic resources available on the Internet.  “I have long wanted to make the literature and images of numismatics, particularly American numismatics, available to everyone on a free and forever basis,” said Eric P. Newman, president of EPNNES. “Today’s digital technologies, combined with the funds recently assembled from auctions of some of our foundation’s holdings, now make this possible.”

The Newman Portal project launched scanning operations at Washington University Libraries in July, 2015, and at the American Numismatic Society in November, 2015.  Both locations are equipped with scanning equipment supplied in partnership with Internet Archive, as well as personnel to perform scanning on a full-time basis.  Over 3,000 documents, representing more than 100,000 pages, have been completed to date.  The documents represent a mix of auction catalogs, periodicals, reference books, and archival material.  Most of this material is unique to the Newman Portal and has not been previously scanned.

In addition to the libraries of Eric P. Newman and the American Numismatic Society, a number of contributors including private collectors Dan Hamelberg, Bill Burd, and Joel Orosz have loaned material to the Newman Portal for scanning.  The Newman Portal has further partnered with over a dozen specialty and regional organizations to provide access to back issues of club journals.  A full list of available publications may be found in the periodical section of the Newman Portal at

The Portal further includes reference content structured for optimal usage within the context of online access.  Resources such as Pete Smith American Numismatic Biographies and Albert Frey’s dictionary from the American Journal of Numismatics have been broken down into separate entries and appear individually in search results.  The U.S. coin encyclopedia contains over 2 million auctions prices realized.  A Lucene-based search engine allows users to search across all content, from the scans hosted by Internet Archive to the reference material within the site itself.

While ongoing scanning operations continue to build the “virtual library” of the Newman Portal, the long term goal of NNP is to increase collector collaboration and foster knowledge sharing through crowdsourcing and other initiatives.  The Smithsonian Institute has recently demonstrated the promise of crowdsourcing in cataloging thousands of national bank currency proofs.  The Newman Portal has announced its first such project, creating a transcription of Franklin Peale’s Report (1835), a fundamental document related to 19th century American coining technology.  With today’s electronic resources, the power of the community can accomplish tasks beyond individuals or small teams, and the Newman Portal will enable this within the numismatic research space.