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USA Coin Album: US Coin Makeovers

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United States
1411 Posts
 Posted 10/29/2020  2:12 pm Show Profile   Bookmark this topic Add CCFPress to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
NGC - The arrival of a new year is always the time for self-assessment, and this has been true also for the United States Mint regarding its coins. Whether performed for artistic or technical reasons, many US coin types have been revised or touched up from time to time. Therein lies the theme of this month's column.

During the US Mint's first couple of decades new portraits of Liberty and new eagle figures came and went with some frequency, and this was partly the result of trial and error. Some designs proved to be a bit trite, while others simply did not allow the coins to survive the rigors of wide circulation.

Once things settled down a bit, let's say the 1820s, entirely new designs appeared less often. Instead, the Mint's engravers focused on tweaking the existing dies. A big impetus for this was the conversion from open collars to closed collars, which provided our coins with boldly raised rims and uniform diameters.

Perhaps the best example of such revisions may be seen on the quarter dollar. This denomination underwent a brief suspension after 1828, and when production resumed in 1831 the coin looked quite different while retaining essentially the same design elements.

1828 and 1831 Quarter Dollars

Thereafter, Liberty was trimmer of face and neck and a bit younger, it would appear. The eagle also emerged somewhat more slender, losing its overhead banner in the process. This conversion was less radical for the other denominations, but all were clearly different interpretations of the same devices. It was the cent's bust of Liberty that saw the greatest number of makeovers, with several versions debuting from 1835 through 1843.

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United States
92332 Posts
 Posted 10/29/2020  2:33 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add jbuck to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
A very interesting article. The small differences are impressive.
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United States
1653 Posts
 Posted 10/29/2020  3:09 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add kbbpll to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
"In the 20th Century, however, the Mint made a conscious effort to keep any such changes too subtle for non-numismatists to notice."

The dime, quarter, and half all had subtle changes to both obverse and reverse in 1900 and 1901. Over the past couple years I have become quite interested in all the transition varieties of these, particularly dimes. Good article.
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United States
169 Posts
 Posted 10/29/2020  4:35 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Morgan Nerd to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
The toning on that coin is hideous!
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United States
4558 Posts
 Posted 10/29/2020  7:42 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add scopru to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Good article
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