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Zacatecas 8 reales  
 

 
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 Posted 08/23/2010  01:44 am Show Profile   Bookmark this topic Add jfransch to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
Swamperbob, could you please examine these coins and render your opinion. I am questioning the authenticity of at least 2 of them, but the resplandores series is out of my normal field of expertise. Your opinion and knowledge are greatly appreciated
First up 1830 weight 26.9gr






Second 1832 weight 26.0 gr






Third 1834 weight 26.8 gr






Fourth 1834 weight 28.9 gr






Last 1836 weight 28.8 gr




"Suppose you were an idiot, and suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself."
-Mark Twain
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 Posted 08/23/2010  1:31 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add swamperbob to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
jfransch Nice group of my favorite type.

The era covered by these coins 1830-1836 falls into the period when the mint was operated by local authorities of the State of Zacatecas. The facility under this management reached its high point in QUALITY of production in 1829. Quality steadily deteriorated after that point until 1836 when the central government took over the operation. The mint was HIGH volume and dies were used until they fell apart. Dies in this era were NOT hubbed, but central designs were impressed with King Punches. Variation in small details is significant. There are by most estimates 1000s of die varieties during the 6 year period. You could go bankrupt just by saving every different die combination you could find from these 6 years.

The 1830 Zs OV is real - nicely preserved with significant original surfaces. The state of preservation is great possibly EF. The strike is weak as is typical but the strike is uniform and the coin has good eye appeal at least to me. This is the first year where a loss of quality in the product can be detected.

The 1832 Zs OM is the correct design matrix and appears to be real even though a bit on the low side weight wise. By 1832 the standards had significantly deteriorated at Zacatecas. The production of planchets was one area where there was a growing problem. Your coin shows significant problems in that area and is unfortunately rather typical. The weakness of strike from the 8R clockwise through the rays to about 12 o'clock is matched by the weakness on the eagle side from the A in REPUBLICA through the word Mexicana. This thinning of the planchet occurred in the rolling step where silver ingots are rolled into strips just over one coin wide prior to punching. This coin may have been originally at or near the lower allowable weight limit and then the subsequent wear could account for the final portion of the 1 gram shortfall. This coin was near commercial retirement based on weight. There are period reports that mint workers were paid by the operators in coins that were LOW in weight to prevent melting coins that the banks would not accept. It technically violated the operating standards but was done on occasion. Be sure to check the rim to make sure it was not filed.

The first 1834 Zs Om is another real coin which traces further the deterioration of the blanking mill at Zacatecas. By this point in time the blanking punches were well worn - enough so that a bit of a spur was raised along one margin. This spur was rolled into the edge and curled over the face of the coin. The end result is the seam just above the Gs on the Cap side. The coin here looks a bit out of round - another indication of poor planchet manufacturing methods. The dies used here are showing deterioration and also some deterioration of the King Punch is becoming evident. Look at the lower margin of the Liberty Cap - it was smooth and uniform in 1830 but the hub had deteriorated by 1834 making the bottom margin irregular. In this period the King Punch for the Cap side consisted of the Cap ONLY. The Rays were not on the King Punch during this interval. For proof check the ray tips on the 1832 and 1834 which point to the star before the 8. They are opposite. There was a standard set of ray punches (you can track those as well die to die) but at times the die sinker took the left long ray and used it on the right side. I can't recall which configuration was "correct" but you can drive yourself nuts trying to catalog all of the variants. (I tried.)

The straight line at 7 o'clock on the eagle side - could be part of the rolling step or could be post strike damage - look for any detail compressions in the area to establish priority.

For fun try to determine which parts of the eagle were on the King Punch. I will give you a clue - the toes on the bird's left foot were a finishing touch added die by die. But the feathering on the head was on the punch. By the way I have never reached total agreement with any other "expert" on the exact contents of the eagle punch. There was more than one as well - which complicates matters and I believe that items like the left foot were originally part of the hub but wore or broke off during service life.

The second 1834 is a die pair I am familiar with. There is a chip taken out of the lower left corner of the Liberty Cap. I know it because I own several that I have had great difficulty classifying. Some coins using this worn die pair are DEBASED. That is a certainty. Whether they were made at the mint as part of a conspiracy or not is unproven at this point in time. But the density on many copies is LOW. Personally I believe the debased issues were a mint product in 1834 at least and that the notch in the Cap was a way of identifying the coins so that the people responsible didn't have to take them in payment. I can not prove that contention and there is a good alternative that I have some belief in as well. Riddell made some statements in letters that certain MINTS (notice plural) had disposed of their worn dies WITHOUT effacing the designs. It is possible that it was just the dies - but the notch cap appears on dies with different ray patterns. So I wonder if a worn hub punch was sold too? These worn dies or punches were sold by the scrap metal dealer to forgers who then made the coins. Either description could fit - I prefer the first for 1834 because the planchets were edged using the same dies as full weight coins. In 1835 however, there are edge dies that do not match those used on clearly real 8Rs. I suspect the operation had moved out of the mint by 1835. This is also the date when the "REVERSED RIM" design becomes so common. On most 8Rs the edge pattern ))))))))))) runs all the way around with no change - but in 1835 a LARGE number reverse at the mid point. ((((((())))))). Why? I have been working for years to produce a correlation between the notched cap - reversed edge and debased copies to see of it is a coincidence or was it another way to pick out the debased issues?

I don't know if you noticed it or not but the first 1834 uses the NEW 3 punch introduced in 1834. The second 1834 uses the earlier 3 punch that has the bar connecting the center point with the lower loop. This is the bar that causes so many people to get the 3/2 overdate WRONG. Look at your second 1834 and your 1832 - the 3 punch is the same one that was used to make the die. This was the standard 3 punch used until 1834. So if you have an 1833 you should see the bars in BOTH 3's. The overdate actually has traces of an underlying 2 and it looks like TWO BARS cross near the same area.

Based on the weight - the notch cap and the general deterioration of the eagle die - I suspect you have a debased (possibly mint struck) coin on your hands. NICE ONE!

The 1836 Zs OM is the transitional year from the State of Zacatecas to the federal government of Mexico operating the Zacatecas mint. Weight appears to be a problem - but density will tell in this case. The terms of the government take over are not 100% clear at least to me, but during the time the state of Zacatecas operated the mint THEY GOT THE PROFITS. So there was no profit until the coins were struck - bullion laying around at the date of take over went to the new operator but the coins already struck ? I suspect that the reason you find heavy coins in 1836 was a result of this transition and the haste to coin EVERYTHING. The 3 punch on your coin is correct as is the 6 punch and all design elements appear correct. The recessed areas of the cap look like they should be studied more BUT I could accept the coin as possibly real even with the large lump of metal in the rays PROVIDED the assay was correct. Overweight coins were often kept for sale to "friendly banking interests" these coins USUALLY got melted very quickly but some have survived. You may have one. Definitely check SG and the rim looking for possible anomalies. The forgery ring making debased Zs coins operated until at least 1838 (based on examples in my collection) so some caution is advised.

To complete the story line a bit. The central government of Mexico didn't do a whole lot better operating the mint than the state had. So in 1842 operations at Zacatecas were transferred to Manning and Marshall the Anglo-American corporation that turned the mint around.
My book on Counterfeit Portrait 8Rs is available from Amazon http://ccfgo.com/TheUnrealReales or from me directly if you want it signed.
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 Posted 08/23/2010  2:24 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add jfransch to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Thank you Bob, the last 2 and the 1832 were the ones I was most concerned about. The 32 is heavily worn so the weight didn't bother me, the poor planchet gave me concern, it is noticeably thinner on one side than the other, which as you pinted out accounts for the weakness of strike on that side.
The second 1834 has a nice edge design and looks real but the weight has always concerned me. I have no ability to do SP test (no balance type scale) so I cannot say what that would reveal. Interesting info about the notch/chip in the cap, I wil have to go back in and look at some others specifically for that feature.
The 1836 seems to also have the notch, in addition it also has the reversing edge design. I am emailing you a higher resolution scan of the 36.
"Suppose you were an idiot, and suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself."
-Mark Twain
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 Posted 08/23/2010  3:11 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add norseman012 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Another great informative coin story ...Thanks Swamperbob
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 Posted 08/23/2010  5:03 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add albumcollector to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Those are great looking coins! And swamperbob I enjoyed reading your post, you have a real wealth of knowledge! These coins really interest me, but I won't be buying one anytime soon as I don't know enough about them yet.
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 Posted 08/26/2010  8:39 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add barrogak to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Hello Bob,
That's a wealth of info on this series of coins. I really enjoyed your shared information.
By the way, do you own any Mexico 8R Zs 1870YH counterfeit pieces?
I saw one on eBay last month, and it sure looked real, especially the edge of coin.
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 Posted 08/26/2010  10:06 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add swamperbob to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
barrogak - No I do not own an 1870 Zs 8R counterfeit. I own a counterfeit 1870 Z peso but not an 8R. I must have missed the coin on eBay or if I did see it I must have believed the seller was wrong about the attribution. I check all 8Rs (daily) but I just can't recall that one within the last month. In the past 30 days, there have been 904 8Rs posted on eBay dated 1846 or later and of those I classified 44 as counterfeit.

My book on Counterfeit Portrait 8Rs is available from Amazon http://ccfgo.com/TheUnrealReales or from me directly if you want it signed.
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