Sunday, April 18, 2021

JR Newsletter: 18 April 2021 (534)

Louis Scuderi wrote concerning a recent purchase of a reeded edge half dollar:

Here are some images (above) of a new example of 1838 GR5 that I recently acquired that you might want to include in this week’s Newsletter.  Jim Koenings has already written this up in his newsletter so you can get the details there.
Editor:  Here is a link to the newsletter, included in the newsletter is Jim Koenings’ email address if you wish to subscribe to this reeded edge half dollar news opportunity.

Sunday, April 11, 2021

JR Newsletter: 11 April 2021 (533)


We have a number of contributions this week.


Brad Karoleff wrote:


The latest issue of the John Reich Journal is on the way.  The printer did a great job presenting the articles from the membership.  I think you will be pleased with the results.


If anyone does not receive their issue by the 25th, please let me know and we will forward a replacement to you.


Some of you have still not remitted your dues for 2021.  If you have not paid your mailing label will say "DUES" after your name and there will be a yellow reminder inside the envelope.  This will be your final chance to renew your membership and receive all the issues planned for 2021.


Stay safe and health.  Have some fun with your hobby.





Steve Herrman created and released a set of searchable reference tables listing the 760 articles written over the last 35 years. The three files, sorted by Author, Subject, and Whole Number & Page, are in searchable PDF format …you can go to the JRCS web page to access this information.  If you would like a copy of the reference tables in Microsoft Excel format, contact the website administrator.  


The link to the searchable tables is here:



Bill Nyberg wrote in response to David Finkelestein:


Regarding David Finkelstein’s 4-4-21 post about two supposed early Mint screw presses, there was an excellent article by Craig Sholley in the January 2018 Penny-Wise “The Myth of the U.S. Mint’s First Screw Press” which is now available for reading on the NNP. The Table of Contents in Penny-Wise list the title of the Sholley article as I wrote, but the title at the head of the article was - The Myth of the U.S. Mint's So-Called "First Screw Press"


Craig gives dimensional evidence that proves this screw press was designed and used as a planchet cutting screw press.


Craig also debunked the myth of Jacob E. and/or Adam Eckfeldt as having fabricated this Mint screw press, in either 1792 or 1798, mentioning my Scot biography as a source, “Robert Scot: Engraving Liberty.” There is a 1798 letter to Adam Eckfeldt from the Treasury Department requesting the status of ordered screw presses. However, these were not coinage screw presses, they were eighteen embossed stamp screw presses that were contracted to Adam Eckfeldt to have fabricated for the Treasury Department. These were C-shaped in structure to allow a document to lie flat for stamping, as opposed to inverted U-shaped coinage screw presses. To go with the stamp screw presses, Robert Scot engraved 15 different denominations of revenue stamps for each of the 16 states.


In the same issue of Penny-Wise, I wrote an article that describes the history and usage of the Federal revenue stamps and screw presses supplied by the Mint to the Treasury Department, “Defending Liberty: Robert Scot and Adam Eckfeldt Create Wartime Revenue Stamps at the Mint.” These revenue stamps were strategically crucial in raising funds as part of the financing for the Quasi-War, First Barbary War, and the War of 1812.


This is an image of a revenue stamped estate inventory from my collection, which was stamped with a die engraved in 1798 by Robert Scot, and pressed with a stamp screw press supplied by Adam Eckfeldt:



Bill Nyberg



David Finkelstein wrote:


Update: The Mint’s First Coining Press


The majority of my more recent research efforts and articles could not have been completed without the collaboration and support of others.  Robert Julian has assisted me greatly in the interpretation of some of the Mint documents stored at the National Archives and Records Administration.  Even though they were hand written in English, they were hand written in 18th century English.  It some cases, 18th century style letters, numbers and symbols required Robert’s translation expertise to make sense out of critical portions of documents.   In 2017, my research on the 1794 Dollars would have been incomplete had I not collaborated with Len Augsburger and Joel Orosz.  All of our research was combined so we could publish “Who Deposited the Silver for the 1794 Dollars?” in the December 2017 JRJ.  Likewise, the July 2019 JRJ article titled “Compositional Analysis for 1794 & 1795 Dated United States Silver Coins” would never have been published had Christopher Pilliod and I not collaborated on the project’s phase 1 effort from 2015 through July 2019.  Chris had the chemical, metallurgical and scientific technology expertise, whereas I was knowledgeable about the various Mint Acts, and the first Mint’s personnel, workflow, implementation standards, business practices, accounts receivables and payables., and contemporary documents


In last week’s JRN I published a draft article on the Mint’s so-called first coining press that is currently on display at both the Philadelphia and Denver Mints.  I knew that some parts of the article were correct, I knew that some parts were probably incorrect, and I definitely knew that I was missing some critical information.  That is why I published what I had, and asked for assistance.  The assistance I received was significantly more than expected.  I corresponded via email with Len Augsburger, Bill Eckberg, Michael Rocco, Craig Sholley and Pete Smith, and I had phone conversations with John Dannreuther and Tim Grant.  Tim Grant is Public Affairs Manager for the United States Mint at Philadelphia.


As a result of the tremendous support received from the aforementioned people, there is new information regarding the Mint’s so-called first coining press.  Rather than publishing a revised article, here is the new information I obtained:


1, The Mint believed that they had the original coining press that was first used in 1792.  This belief was passed down from Mint officer to Mint officer, and/or from Mint Public Affairs Manager to Mint Public Affair Manager over the centuries.  This screw press is on display at the Philadelphia Mint.  Here is a link to a slide show tour of the Philadelphia Mint.  The so called original press is on slide 4.  It is the same press that is pictured on page 62 in 1792: Birth of a Nation’s Coinage:


Here is a link to a YouTube Philadelphia Mint Virtual Tour video [I could not get the volume to work].  The so called original press is at the 0:50 mark of the video.


2. In last week’s JRN article, I pictured a screw press from  This was the screw press at the Mint exhibit at the 1904 Louisiana Exposition.  It is now confirmed that this screw press was a replica made in Philadelphia prior to the 1904 Louisiana.  It was transported from the Philadelphia Mint to the Louisiana Exposition, then transported to the Denver Mint after the Exposition ended.  It is currently on display at the Denver Mint as a replica of the first 1792 coining press.  


3. Tim Grant (Public Affairs Manager for the United States Mint at Philadelphia) stated that another replica was made of the so called original coining press.  It is in the auditorium at the Philadelphia Mint.  This replica is accessible to people taking the Philadelphia Mint tour.  [Note: Due to the pandemic, the Mint has stopped providing tours.]


4. The overall consensus of numismatic researchers is that the so called original “coining” press at the Philadelphia Mint may be a “cutting” press.  Due to the small size of the screw press, it may have been used to cut/stamp blank planchets out of roll strip. Further evidence that this press may be a cutting press came to light during my phone conversation with Tim Grant.


5. According to Tim Grant… In 1992, to celebrate the Mint’s bicentennial, the Mint planned on striking a medal in copper using the so called original coining press.  Dies were prepared, and copper blanks were made.  The so called original coining press was unable to generate the force required to impart the design from the dies onto the copper blanks.  The screw press was, however, able to generate enough force to impart the design on lead blanks.


[Note: Copper has a tensile strength of 210 Mpa (megapascals) and a Mohs hardness or 3.0, whereas Lead has a tensile strength of 18 MPa and a Mohs hardness of 1.5.  It does not take a significant amount of force to impart designs on lead blanks.]


6. When tours are resumed at the Philadelphia Mint, Tim Grant will provide special access for a detailed inspection of the so called original coining press. Maybe something can be scheduled prior to a Baltimore coin show once life as we knew it returns somewhat normal?


To be continued sometime in the future …


Sunday, April 4, 2021

JR Newsletter: 4 April 2021 (532)

David Finkelstein wrote:


The following is a start of an article.  It is not complete.  Although some parts are correct, some parts may be incorrect.  I am publishing this in the JRN because I need assistance in solving this puzzle.


While participating in a Facebook group discussion, someone posted the following two links:

-          Inside The Denver Mint: The First Coining Press


-          First coining press used in the United States Mint


Each web page contains a picture of a screw press:

Denver Mint (




The Denver Mint claims that the screw press pictured on their website “is a replica of the first coining press from 1792… This coining press was used to produce trial coins in 1792 and many of the half-cents and cents of 1793”.  Note that this screw press is also imaged on page 62 of 1792: Birth of a Nation’s Coinage. claims that the screw press on their website was displayed by the United States Mint at the 1904 St. Louis Exposition (aka the Louisiana Purchase Exposition or the 1904 World’s Fair) as the “first coining press used in the united states Mint. Over one Hundred Years old”.


Ignoring the tables that the presses are on, the two presses look similar, but are definitely not identical.  Since they are clearly not the same screw press, how can they both be the first coining press?


Per 1792: Birth of a Nation’s Coinage, it is believed that the trial coins of 1792 were struck in John Harper's cellar around July 11-13, 1792.  We do not know when the Mint acquired their first screw press.  We do know that the first expense warrant for a “press” was Warrant 7 and issued on August 29, 1792 to pay John Harper $247.85 "for cutting presses castings".  Note that the Mint paid John Harper for cutting presses, and not simply a cutting press.  Also note that the warrant was for cutting presses and not screw presses, and not cutting and screw presses.  Also, $247.85 was a lot of money for one press, so the Mint most likely acquired multiple presses.


Is the screw press pictured on the Mint’s website one of the cutting presses obtained from John Harper and not a coining press?  It looks like a coining press without a collar to me.  Was the screw press used to strike the 1792 coinage in John Harper’s cellar, then sold to the Mint, paid for on August 29, 1792, and used to strike the copper coins of 1793?  Maybe the screw press on was also John Harper’s?  Maybe both were sold to the Mint by John Harper?  I have not seen any contemporary evidence to verify that either screw press was John Harper’s.  I emailed the Mint for assistance, clarification and documentation regarding their claim that their screw press was the first coining press.  Hopefully, I will receive a response.


Note that there is a flaw with the statement made on the Mint’s website that “this coining press was used to produce trial coins in 1792 and many of the half-cents and cents of 1793”. We know that the second time a “press” was paid for by the Mint was on June 3, 1794.  Expense Warrant 84 paid Hannah Ogden $47.44 “in full of her account for a coining Press for the use of the Mint”.  Is it therefore logical to assume that prior to the arrival of the coining press purchased from Hannah Ogden, the only coining press (or presses) in use by the Mint was the one (or more than one?) purchased from John Harper in 1792?  Since 10,000 half cents and 297,300 cents were delivered from Chief Coiner Henry Voigt to Treasurer of the Mint Tristram Dalton between January 13 and March 28, 1794, they could not have been struck on the coining press purchased from Hannah Ogden.  If, in fact, the screw press imaged on the Mint’s website is a replica of the first coining press purchased from John Harper, then the coining press was used to produce the trial coins in 1792, all of the half cents and cents of 1793, and many of the half cents and cents of 1794.


Note that the press pictured on the Mint’s website does not have a retaining collar that moved up and down as the press was cycled to center the planchet on the anvil die.  I do not claim to be an expert on the minting of half cents and cents.  Were the half cents and cents of 1793 and 1794 struck in an open collar or struck without a collar?  If anyone knows and can enlighten me on this, please contact me at dfinkelstein(at)


Regarding the screw press that is pictured on…  I can see the screw in the picture on the Mint’s website, so I can envision the hammer moving downwards towards the anvil.  I cannot see the screw in the picture on, so it is unclear if it is embedded within the press and not visible.  Also, I cannot tell if the hammer is fully retracted, the hammer has come into contact with the anvil, if the press has a collar, or if the press is a coining press.  The only thing I can tell is that it is not the same press that is pictured on the Mint’s website.

If anyone can provide additional information, references, pictures, or assistance, please contact me at dfinkelstein(at)




Steve Herrman wrote:


Auction & Mail Bid Prices Realized for Bust Half Dollars 1794-1839, Spring 2021 Revision, Number 58 was published and distributed to regular subscribers last month. This issue includes the revised rarity rating estimates from the 2020 study completed by the Bust Half Nut Club Rarity Ratings Committee last December. The information from the study was approved for public release in February.

A dozen printed copies are still available, and the issue is also available in PDF format. 272 pages.



This issue includes auction records for R4 to R8 varieties from all major auctions for a minimum of the last 10 years, and Condition Census specimens for all varieties. Separate sections are included for overdates & other popular varieties, proofs, mint errors & patterns, countermarks, and contemporary counterfeits.


Printed format (softbound):   $34.00 delivered via Media Mail
PDF format (searchable):        $24.00 delivered via Email
Both Printed & PDF formats: $40.00 delivered


To receive a copy, please contact Steve at herrman102(at)


This is a semi-yearly publication. $2.50 is donated to the JRCS for each copy sold.


Steve Herrman, JRCS LM #28


Sunday, March 28, 2021

JR Newsletter: 28 March 2021 (531)

We have contributions today from Winston Zack and Patrick Bain, with a common theme of the JRCS on Facebook between them.


Winston Zack wrote:


JRCS is going digital in the 21st century.  We have a website, a weekly email newsletter, the JRJ, and we're on Facebook; and maybe I'm forgetting other areas too!  All these corners of the internet have different purposes and goals to enhance the participation for members and non-members (who we encourage to join the JRCS), especially during these 'fun' covid times!


Specifically, the JRCS has two Facebook groups; links below.  These are private groups only for JRCS members.  It is not visible to non-JRCS members in order to address member privacy concerns and associated interests.





The main John Reich Collectors Society Facebook group currently has 38 members participating.  We want to grow this to at least 100 JRCS members in the near future.  Starting in April we will be hosting regular themed show-and-tell posts on top of normal posts.


April will be 'weirdest JRCS-related coin in your set', an idea posed by Gawain O'Connor.  Personally, I can't think of what the weirdest JRCS-related coin in my set includes, but I'm sure I'll find something interesting to share.


FINALLY - our next JRCS Zoom meeting is on May 19, 2021.  We are still looking for a featured speaker to give a 30-40 minute presentation on some JRCS related topic.  Please contact me at if you would like to give a talk for this next meeting.  Thanks!




Patrick Bain wrote:


We would like to conduct a survey as to how many members use Facebook.

I need as many members to take the survey as possible.

It's only one question, so will take about 10 seconds of your time!

Here is a link to the survey: 


Also here is a link to our Facebook group.  Membership is growing!




Finally, last week's announcement of an auction of some wonderful capped bust half dollars was not posted in this blog (it went solely to the email version of the JR Newsletter).  If you are interested in half dollars with luster, color, great surfaces, and overall sweet eye appeal, check out the Burrowing Owl Collection on Gerry Fortin's web site (auction ends this week):



Sunday, March 21, 2021

JR Newsletter: 21 March 2021 (530)


Dave Wnuck wrote:


I bought a collection a short while ago, and just noticed this reverse cud from A1 to A2, described as "very rare" in the Bust Dime ID Guide.


It's a low grade coin and my photos are lousy, but it might hold some interest to specialists.


All the best-

Dave Wnuck

Sunday, March 14, 2021

JR Newsletter: 14 March 2021 (529)

Jim Matthews wrote:


I want to share a bit about the state of the coin market lately. Despite not having many shows other than some smaller regional events, the coin market has been extremely active. Most dealers I've talked to have sold off considerable inventory and are looking to replace it, but unable to find many of their usual scarcer dates. Online sales from dealers have been reported to be brisk. I've been buying coins at various actions and had to pay up well ahead of the so called sheet prices or recent auction records to obtain any coins, even for comparatively common issues. So while we've been holding down our respective forts for an entire year now, at least the value and interest in our collections appears to be going up. This is a very good thing, as a few years ago I was beginning to wonder who was going to come along and buy my collection when the time came to sell! Now I'm not so worried about that.


During the pandemic one of my collector friends has spent some of his time creating his own coins via photoshop, using existing coins but swapping the dates and mintmarks around. Needless to say his creativity knows no's one enticing example that could have, dare I say should have existed, but as far as I know, only in digital form! That dastardly Mint Fire took out most of the planned coinage of 1816. Its nice to imagine holding a gem 1869-CC dime for instance, or an 1870-CC! There are no limits to what can be created these days.




Garrett Ziss wrote:

JRCS members Daryl Haynor and Garrett Ziss will be presenting at the upcoming 2021 Newman Numismatic Portal Symposium.  


Daryl’s presentation, United States Classic Gold of 1834-1839, is scheduled for Sunday, March 21st, at 10:00 am.Author Haynor will explore the Numismatic Literary Guild 2020 Book of the Year: United States Classic Gold Coins of 1834-1839. The presentation will focus on the historical section and explore the economic and political context of the 1830’s, reveal historic documents never before published, and debunk many accepted numismatic tales. It is the only book written about the series, and already is the authoritative reference used by PCGS, NGC, Stack’s, Heritage, et al.  


Garrett’s presentation, From the War of 1812 to the Civil War: A Chronology of a Numismatic Marriage, is scheduled for Saturday, March 20th at 11:00 am.  This 50-minute presentation chronicles the presence of both the Bust and Liberty Seated coin images that were selectively displayed on obsolete paper money for much of the 19th century. The discussion time is evenly split between the two coin designs and highlights their coexistence during the Hard Times Period.  The Bust section is entirely new and approaches the subject from a different perspective than Garrett’s 2015 program on this topic at the JRCS Annual Meeting in Chicago. 


To attend either presentation, please register at There is also a wide-range of other numismatic sessions that may be of interest to club members and they are detailed here:  Registration covers attendance at an unlimited number of sessions.

Sunday, March 7, 2021

JR Newsletter: 7 March 2021 (528)

We have contributions this week from Brad Karoleff and Steve Herrman.


Brad wrote:


I am working on the next issue of the John Reich Journal and am almost finished.  I find myself two pages short for the issue.  Does anyone have a short submission ready for publication?








Steve wrote:


Auction Prices Realized for Early Silver Dollars 1794-1803, Winter 2020 Revision, Number 2 was published in December 2020. A handful of printed copies are still available, and it also available in PDF format.




This issue includes auction records from all major auctions from January 2015 through November 2020. Older auction records for Condition Census specimens are included. 76 pages.


Printed format (softbound): $35.00 delivered via Media Mail

PDF format (searchable): $25.00 delivered via Email    

Both Printed & PDF formats: $40.00 delivered


To receive a copy, please contact Steve at herrman102(at)

This is a yearly publication. $3.00 is donated to the JRCS for each copy sold. 


Steve Herrman JRCS LM #28


A reminder from the editor:  When no contributions come in, we will see no blog post or email that week for the JR Newsletter

Sunday, February 14, 2021

JR Newsletter: 14 February 2021 (527)

Winston Zack wrote:

As a reminder we are having our next JRCS Zoom meeting Wednesday, February 17, starting at 7 PM Eastern Time. 

Winston Zack is presenting on his research on Contemporary Counterfeit Capped Bust Half Dollars.

If you are not already on the email distribution list for the Zoom link, please contact Steve Herrman to be added to the list: jrcsweb2(at)

See you then! Winston

Sunday, February 7, 2021

JR Newsletter: 7 February 2021 (526)


Lot 114:  Original Photos and Negatives Commissioned and Used by Don Parsley
 in the 3rd, 4th and 5th Revisions of Overton's Standard Reference Work

Sheridan Downey wrote:


Readers with an interest in the history of bust half collecting will enjoy the descriptions that accompany offerings in Part 2 of my upcoming President's Day Sale, Mail Bid No. 51.  


Notable items (found in Lots 101 through 114 of the sale) include Al Overton's invoice to Louis Eliasberg for the sale of the finest known 1817/4 (and Eliasberg's reply, with payment), an autographed copy of Overton's 1967 1st Edition, John Cobb's manuscript on Capped Bust die varieties and the unique, original set of photographs and negatives for the coins plated in Don Parsley's 3rd, 4th and 5th revisions of Overton's standard reference.  The last item is a numismatic treasure of the first order.  


I should add that the first 100 lots in the sale encompass a nearly unrivaled panoply of rare and high grade bust half-dollars.  The Sale closes Monday evening, February 15, 2021.  Lot preview by mail continues through tomorrow.  Descriptions, photos and more information on the Sale are available here:  The catalog may be downloaded via a link in the "Latest News" section of my web site.


All the best,


Sunday, January 31, 2021

JR Newsletter: 31 January 2021 (525)

 We received no contributions this week.  Please note:  for future weeks when we receive no contributions,  nothing will be published and no group email will be sent out.  

Sunday, January 24, 2021

Sunday, January 17, 2021

Sunday, January 10, 2021

JR Newsletter: 10 January 2021 (532)

We have a couple of contributions this week


Winston Zack wrote:


The February 17, 2021 JRCS Zoom Meeting will be presented by Winston Zack.  It will be on the topic of JRCS-related contemporary counterfeit U.S. coins.  The exact topic and presentation is still being finalized.


We still need speakers for future JRCS Zoom meetings for the following dates.  If you would be interested in giving a presentation please contact me, Winston Zack, at winston.s.zack(at)


• May 19, 2021
• July 21, 2021
• November 17, 2021



Steve Herrman wrote:




Census information is now being solicited for inclusion in the first issue of the John Reich Journal in 2021.


Please email a complete inventory listing (including all duplicates and die states) of your Pre-Turban half dollars to:


   Steve Herrman at herrman102(at)


Please respond by January 30 to ensure inclusion of your collection in this Census.


Sunday, January 3, 2021

JR Newsletter: 3 January 2021 (531)

 We received no new contributions this week.