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Apr 04 2021

NNP Symposium Video Posted

Video from the Fall 2021 Symposium (October 15-17) is now posted.

Videos from the recently concluded NNP Symposium (October 15-17) are now posted on Newman Portal. Produced by Lianna Spurrier of Numismatic Marketing, this event featured a total of 27 speakers presenting on a wide variety of numismatic topics. Among the most viewed presentations were Ellen Feingold and Jennifer Gloede speaking on the National Numismatic Collection. This session included the premier of a 20-minute video, produced by Newman Portal, on the United States coins in the National Numismatic Collection.

Link to NNP Symposium videos, October 15-17: https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/multimediadetail/539070?Year=2021&take=50

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Jan 20 2022

The 1861-O “Confederate” Half Dollars

The 1861-O half dollar is an exceptionally popular issue, with pieces variously struck under Union, Louisiana, and Confederate authority. The recovery of thousands of examples from the SS Republic shipwreck, discovered in 2003, only adds to the lore of the popular issue. Randy Wiley detailed the 1861-O half dollar varieties in the November 2005 and November 2006 editions of the Gobrecht Journal, and these two issues are likely the most referenced in the entire series. Wiley’s first article outlined the emission sequence and the 15 die marriages for this issue and presented a step-by-step attribution guide. 

Wiley’s second article takes the leap from variety attribution toward the discovery of the coining authority for each variety. The 1887 Mint Director’s report indicated the number of pieces struck under each coining authority, and Wiley also had access to SS Republic data, which he analyzed to determine the overall distribution of the 1861-O issue by variety. Wiley notes that his final analysis is somewhat speculative, but in the end he identified two die marriages for the Union issues, seven for the Louisiana issues, and six for the CSA-struck pieces. 

Bill Bugert picked up the thread in 2013 in his A Register of Liberty Seated Half Dollar Varieties, Volume IV, New Orleans Branch Mint 1853-O WA to 1861-O. This source adds easy-to-use photographs for each die pair, with high quality images depicting the various pickup points for each variety. 

Link to the Gobrecht Journal on Newman Portal: https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/publisherdetail/2096
Link to A Register of Liberty Seated Half Dollar Varieties, Volume IV, New Orleans Branch Mint 1853-O WA to 1861-O on Newman Portal: https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/book/529689
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Jan 11 2022

Cracked Dies? No, Cracked Presses

Most collectors, especially of earlier American coinage, are quite familiar with die cracks as evident on many examples. Die cracks are often the key to die attribution and reveal a constant struggle with die preparation and usage in the early days of the U.S. Mint. An 1882 letter, recently transcribed by Newman Portal, indicates that cracks might also be found in the Mint presses.  Philadelphia Mint Coiner O. C. Bosbyshell reported on July 25 to the Director A. Louden Snowden that cracks were present in the arch of press no. 10 in at least two places, and recommended a replacement. Bosbyshell went on to note that the damage to the massive cast iron frame was not repairable. Such simply represented the cost of coining, and there was nothing more to do than scrap the tons of metal that formed the press arch.

Link to Bosbyshell letter regarding cracked presses: https://archive.org/details/press10crackedtwoplaces18820725/mode/2up


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