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1859 Large Cent Attribution Help

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Valued Member
United States
302 Posts
 Posted 12/01/2021  01:39 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add JHax to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
We will await more photos. However, in the meantime I'd like to mention that I just can't accept the idea of stopping a press to modify a die for any reason, especially for "giving a digit or letter another whack". The goal was to strike the coins as fast as possible. There was no stopping to clear clogged letters (I have many examples of this), no stopping to polish out clash marks, etc. Also, to give a digit "another whack" in a hardened die would have ruined the digit punch, something clearly unproductive and undesirable. If any changes were to be made in a hardened die, it would have to be softened (annealed) first, worked on, then hardened again. There is evidence of one special incidence of this in the British bronze series, where left over dies were softened and overdated for use in 1865. The overdates are in the catalogs. But this was a very special case and my guess is it was never done for Colonial coinages. There is plenty of evidence for the use of stale-dated dies for the Canadian cents, e.g., for the 1892-dated coins. You might say, "If The Royal Mint policy was to allow the use of stale-dated leftover dies for Colonial coinages, why are there overdates like the 1859/8 cents and the 1892/1 10c"? Does anyone know the answer (or at least what I believe the answer is)?
Edited by JHax
12/01/2021 01:57 am
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Canada
4290 Posts
 Posted 12/01/2021  07:20 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add okiecoiner to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I didn't mean that they stopped the presses to look at or repair the dies. The reverse, because of the intricate design, failed quite rapidly. It makes sense to me that they would check the dies at the start of the day or every 2 days, depending on the routine because so many would be cracked or broken. And, yes, the dies were annealed before any punching or correction was done, sometimes days, weeks or months between the whacks or pressings, as well as the punch being hardened again before using it. When initially doing the 1859's the time between whacks would have been considerable because so many "185" dies were coming down the line. We will never know because it's not written anywhere, but don't think that they said that they were going to complete xxx dies on any given day, from the first whack to the last. First whack needed annealing then whack first time, next die annealed then whacked first time and on and on.
Valued Member
United States
302 Posts
 Posted 12/01/2021  10:59 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add JHax to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
The use of "whack" to refer to pressing the design of the full side punch into the die blank or die in a die press is confusing (at least to me). To me "whack" sounds more like hitting a character punch with a hammer while entering or reentering a digit or letter into a die. By the way, many dies lasted only a day or two in use.
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United States
59 Posts
 Posted 12/01/2021  11:51 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add MaximillianMike to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Gents my camera arrived and when I put it under a higher magnification it has sadly changed what I have always known to be raised metal. I am now doubting that, and I suspect my hunch was correct on the lacquer so the gunk theory seems more sound now. I am still getting comfortable with this camera but it's looking like a perfect match for E7a and no additional metal but perhaps a soak in acetone may reveal what is real and what is not... My last camera must have cast the right shadow to trick the mind because those pictures have always been convincing. I need to find the right balance of zoom and light but that looks a lot like lacquer bubbles to me and it present throughout the date of the coin. See below





Edited by MaximillianMike
12/01/2021 11:53 am
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 Posted 12/01/2021  1:55 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Phil310 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
You've done a good job of analyzing what you've got there. Obverse 5 and Reverse E7a with some gunk in the 9 looks exactly right. Welcome to the fascinating world of 1859's. They can be a lot of fun.
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New Zealand
1620 Posts
 Posted 12/01/2021  3:29 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add fourmack to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
Welcome to the fascinating world of 1859's. They can be a lot of fun.

or headaches as you have 3 gurus answering your questions and it is amazing what a good photo can show
Keep up the collecting
Cheers Don

Vickies cents and GB Farthings nut.
"Old" is a figure of speech and nothing more
Valued Member
United States
59 Posts
 Posted 12/01/2021  7:42 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add MaximillianMike to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Thanks everyone. I gave this one an acetone bath and it's amazing how the coin has transformed. Yall have been so helpful and now I feel I could accurately attribute these coins. When I get the coin to standards I will post some closeups of key features of this variety just for fun and anything interesting I find as well. Least I can do and gotta have some fun with the new camera.
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New Zealand
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 Posted 12/01/2021  8:29 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add fourmack to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
remember simple set up NO flash(daylight light)
60mm macro lens



from this


to this

Cheers Don

Vickies cents and GB Farthings nut.
"Old" is a figure of speech and nothing more
Pillar of the Community
United States
950 Posts
 Posted 12/01/2021  9:00 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Phil310 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I'm looking forward to seeing the photos after the bath.
I expect you will be able to see the re-punching on the inside upper loop of the 9 once the crud is gone.

That die pair is also shown in the large cent variety section in the back of the 2011 Charlton catalog on page 288. That would be a good book to add to your library if you like Victorian cent varieties. Okiecoiner was one of the group members that put that section together.

Hey Don, I still use the flash when I take my photos. The color isn't as accurate, but I get pretty good detail with the flash.
I tried it that way (by accident) not long after I got my macro lens and I liked the results.
Edited by Phil310
12/01/2021 9:08 pm
Valued Member
United States
59 Posts
 Posted 12/01/2021  10:23 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add MaximillianMike to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
remember simple set up NO flash(daylight light)
60mm macro lens


Unfortunately, mine is a microscope with a minimum of 50x zoom so my photos are more of a diagnostic approach.

Everything is quite consistent with Reverse E7a and I am going to highlight a few things unique to this coin not observed on the Haxby attribution. Removing the lacquer exposed quite a few minor scratches not visible to the naked eye but I am glad that stuff is gone. Anyway pictures follow.

Leaf #1


Leaf #2


Leaf #3


Leaf #4


Leaf #5 Also a good view of phantom raised mark at right of T.


Leaf #6 Exhibits a very minor die crack from the tip of the first leaf point at right of top center one and it connects to the vine just under and left of the point where leaf five connects.


Leaf #7


Leaf #8


Leaf #9


Leaf #10


Leaf #11 Theres two distinct layers, die redone?


Leaf #12


Leaf #13


Leaf #14


Leaf #15


Leaf #16


Some kind of raised mark next to the T



Die Chip or Rust Spot, Obverse at Right of Queen


It looks as if the 8 5 and 9 all have been repunched.


Looks like a possible repunched one.


Another View


This has been a learning experience for me and I appreciate all the experts helping me out here. Yeah I am gonna start looking at other 1859's :-)
Valued Member
United States
302 Posts
 Posted 12/02/2021  12:44 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add JHax to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
All this goes to show how important it is to meticulously remove the gunk from a coin before trying to diagnose it. That includes the use of a grease solvent and in some cases physically picking off particularly resistant material.
Valued Member
United States
59 Posts
 Posted 12/02/2021  2:31 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add MaximillianMike to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
All this goes to show how important it is to meticulously remove the gunk from a coin before trying to diagnose it. That includes the use of a grease solvent and in some cases physically picking off particularly resistant material.


Couldn't agree more. I use African porcupine quills to get into the tighter spots. They do not scratch unless one gets really careless. I am finding the lacquer particularly difficult to remove in certain areas of the coin.
Edited by MaximillianMike
12/02/2021 7:10 pm
Valued Member
United States
302 Posts
 Posted 12/04/2021  4:28 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add JHax to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Lacquer thinner works very well for removing lacquer, though it is very toxic and must only be used with plenty of ventilation (I go outdoors).
Valued Member
United States
59 Posts
 Posted 12/05/2021  11:22 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add MaximillianMike to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I saw it next to the acetone but wasn't sure if it would interact with the coin in a negative way so I stuck with what I knew. Thanks for the tip and all the great help.
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