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Origins of the 1964 "SMS" Coins (Post Deleted for Errored Info)

FlyingAlFlyingAl Posts: 2,759 ✭✭✭✭✭
edited February 12, 2024 10:22AM in U.S. Coin Forum

Edited (deleted).

My post was mostly incorrect based on new info that came to light.

«1

Comments

  • DCWDCW Posts: 6,890 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Great article. I'm looking forward to reading Part 2

    Dead Cat Waltz Exonumia
    "Coin collecting for outcasts..."

  • 2windy2fish2windy2fish Posts: 779 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Thank you!
    Excellent read as usual…looking forward to the next update

  • RichieURichRichieURich Posts: 8,347 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Great research! It would be interesting to know what those sets sold for at Stack's in the 1990's.

    An authorized PCGS dealer, and a contributor to the Red Book.

  • FlyingAlFlyingAl Posts: 2,759 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @RichieURich said:
    Great research! It would be interesting to know what those sets sold for at Stack's in the 1990's.

    I did ask Stacks for the sale price of the set. Unfortunately, that page is the exact one that is missing from the records. :expressionless:

  • VasantiVasanti Posts: 431 ✭✭✭✭

    Tag. Interesting stuff!

  • MFeldMFeld Posts: 11,736 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited August 8, 2023 4:10PM

    @FlyingAl,

    Your post is most intriguing! And if your assertions are accurate, they dispel much of what’s been said about the 1964 SMS coins over a long period of time.

    Now, I have a few questions for you and please feel free to consider this as my giving you a hard time.😉
    1) Referring to the “broken rays reverse” seen on the half dollars, you stated that “This reverse is a transitional variety found only on half dollars struck early in 1964”. How do you know that the SMS coins weren’t struck from the same die sometime after 1964?

    2) You wrote “Lester Merkin’s estate was sold on November 30th, 1994 by Stacks…” How do you know that other coins belonging to Lester Merkin weren’t auctioned by Stack’s prior to that sale?

    3) In your subsequent post, you wrote “I did ask Stacks for the sale price of the set. Unfortunately, that page is the exact one that is missing from the records”. Did you ask them for the sale price of one of the sets or all of the sets? If the former, why not the latter?

    Keep up the excellent work and hopefully that potential lead we discussed will help clear up some of the mystery.

    Mark Feld* of Heritage Auctions*Unless otherwise noted, my posts here represent my personal opinions.

  • PhillyJoePhillyJoe Posts: 2,677 ✭✭✭✭

    Amazing to see correspondence three weeks after the fateful day with plans well underway to honor JFK.
    Makes you think that the 1964 Franklins were ready to go as in past years.
    Great research.

    The Philadelphia Mint: making coins since 1792. We make money by making money. Now in our 225th year thanks to no competition. image
  • Manifest_DestinyManifest_Destiny Posts: 3,047 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Great reading! Thanks for the informative post!

  • WinLoseWinWinLoseWin Posts: 1,464 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @FlyingAl said:

    @RichieURich said:
    Great research! It would be interesting to know what those sets sold for at Stack's in the 1990's.

    I did ask Stacks for the sale price of the set. Unfortunately, that page is the exact one that is missing from the records. :expressionless:

    .
    .
    Some of the catalogs on the Newman Numismatic Portal do have the prices realized, at least for 3 of the 5 I checked. If available they are usually scanned just inside the front cover. I have most or all of these prices realized and catalogs, though not handy at the moment. Perhaps some others do or can check the rest of the listings on NNP.

    Here were some prices of the ones I checked:

    5/2/1990 - Lot 1352 - - hammer price of $715.00 for a total of $786.50

    PR page:

    https://archive.org/details/unitedstatesgold1990stac/page/n9/mode/2up

    6/19/1991 - Lot 591 - - No PR on NNP

    1/19/1994 - Lot 526 - - hammer price of $475.00 for a total of $522.50

    PR page:

    https://archive.org/details/januarysaleunite1994stac/page/n5/mode/2up

    3/22/1994 - Lot 956 - - hammer price of $230.00 for a total of $253.00

    PR page:

    https://archive.org/details/unitedstatescoin1994stac_q0k1/page/n7/mode/2up

    5/2/1995 - Lot 430 - - No PR on NNP

    "To Be Esteemed Be Useful" - 1792 Birch Cent --- "I personally think we developed language because of our deep need to complain." - Lily Tomlin

  • derrybderryb Posts: 36,025 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Maybe Omega man is the source.

    Nice writeup. I always considered understanding these coins to be similar to Quantum Theory. You have simplified it greatly.

    The decline from democracy to tyranny is both a natural and inevitable one.

  • ifthevamzarockinifthevamzarockin Posts: 8,498 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Great post! :)

  • lilolmelilolme Posts: 2,399 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I was also looking at NNP..

    12/2/1992 - Lot 1345
    https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/auctionlots?AucCoId=3&AuctionId=516674
    $160 hammer + 10% = $176
    But this set was identified to have a 1960 proof nickel with it (missing the nickel).


    .
    This one does not have a price realized but identified the lot 430 to be from the Chesapeake Collection
    (seems like I saw one other set identified but if so I lost it)
    5/2/1995 - Lot 430
    https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/auctionlots?AucCoId=3&AuctionId=516697
    .

    .
    .
    Did not check descriptions but wondered if any of these were a second time around for auction.
    This description identified finger spotting on some cents.
    6/16/1993 - 5 cents, 1 dime, 2 halves - Lot 1232

    https://youtube.com/watch?v=2YNufnS_kf4 - Mama I'm coming home ...................................................................................................................................................................... RLJ 1958 - 2023

  • FlyingAlFlyingAl Posts: 2,759 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Yes, this is all really good research. I suspect that the Chesapeake set may be one of the earlier sets reauctioned (or it was perhaps thrown into that auction so they could finish off the group of sets).

    @MFeld - here are my answers.

    1) I checked a large chunk of 1965 and 1966 coins to verify this possibility. I came up empty, and I find it hard to believe that the mint would not use several dies for halves in 1964, when they were desperate to churn out as many as possible. Variety vista has not reported a single example with this reverse not paired with a 1964 obverse (which makes sense for my working theory). Essentially, I believe it is not logical that the mint would make more working dies early in the year so they could save some for 1965 when they were under a time crunch.

    2) When going through the lots, each 1964 set was generally in a generic US Coins auction. While it is possible that Lester Merkin may have bought a few sets, they certainly weren’t sold in his estate sale like it is commonly claimed. I also have found more info today that guarantees Merkin was not the buyer (and this stems from our PM conversation).

    3) I asked for all records available. They had info for only the 1990 set (and the lot of interest was missing for whatever reason). One of the posts above listed a few sales prices, but that is ultimately not of interest to me (although it is a cool tidbit).

  • MFeldMFeld Posts: 11,736 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @FlyingAl said:
    Yes, this is all really good research. I suspect that the Chesapeake set may be one of the earlier sets reauctioned (or it was perhaps thrown into that auction so they could finish off the group of sets).

    @MFeld - here are my answers.

    1) I checked a large chunk of 1965 and 1966 coins to verify this possibility. I came up empty, and I find it hard to believe that the mint would not use several dies for halves in 1964, when they were desperate to churn out as many as possible. Variety vista has not reported a single example with this reverse not paired with a 1964 obverse (which makes sense for my working theory). Essentially, I believe it is not logical that the mint would make more working dies early in the year so they could save some for 1965 when they were under a time crunch.

    2) When going through the lots, each 1964 set was generally in a generic US Coins auction. While it is possible that Lester Merkin may have bought a few sets, they certainly weren’t sold in his estate sale like it is commonly claimed. I also have found more info today that guarantees Merkin was not the buyer (and this stems from our PM conversation).

    3) I asked for all records available. They had info for only the 1990 set (and the lot of interest was missing for whatever reason). One of the posts above listed a few sales prices, but that is ultimately not of interest to me (although it is a cool tidbit).

    Thank you, @FlyingAl and I’m very much looking forward to any additional information you uncover.

    Mark Feld* of Heritage Auctions*Unless otherwise noted, my posts here represent my personal opinions.

  • MaywoodMaywood Posts: 1,835 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited August 9, 2023 3:33AM

    This is an area of Modern Numismatics that needs some serious investigation. Most information, as evidenced by the OP, is the same line of thought traced back to Adams/Merkin and an early 1990's Stack's auction. Judging only from the timeline, that has been inaccurate. It makes me think of the term "confirmation bias" wherein the answer is accepted and the proof is then plucked from any evidence in an attempt to prove that answer. Lazy cataloguers have followed that path. I'd suggest that @FlyingAl dismiss that thought-line and just do honest research to "follow the bullet" wherever it goes.

  • MFeldMFeld Posts: 11,736 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Maywood said:
    This is an area of Modern Numismatics that needs some serious investigation. Most information, as evidenced by the OP, is the same line of thought traced back to Adams/Merkin and an early 1990's Stack's auction. Judging only from the timeline, that has been inaccurate. It makes me think of the term "confirmation bias" wherein the answer is accepted and the proof is then plucked from any evidence in an attempt to prove that answer. Lazy cataloguers have followed that path. I'd suggest that @FlyingAl dismiss that though-line and just do honest research to "follow the bullet" wherever it goes.

    It looks as if that’s precisely what @FlyingAl is doing and has already made some good progress.

    Mark Feld* of Heritage Auctions*Unless otherwise noted, my posts here represent my personal opinions.

  • JFK_CollectorJFK_Collector Posts: 110 ✭✭✭

    @FlyingAl said:
    Yes, this is all really good research. I suspect that the Chesapeake set may be one of the earlier sets reauctioned (or it was perhaps thrown into that auction so they could finish off the group of sets).

    @MFeld - here are my answers.

    1) I checked a large chunk of 1965 and 1966 coins to verify this possibility. I came up empty, and I find it hard to believe that the mint would not use several dies for halves in 1964, when they were desperate to churn out as many as possible. Variety vista has not reported a single example with this reverse not paired with a 1964 obverse (which makes sense for my working theory). Essentially, I believe it is not logical that the mint would make more working dies early in the year so they could save some for 1965 when they were under a time crunch.

    2) When going through the lots, each 1964 set was generally in a generic US Coins auction. While it is possible that Lester Merkin may have bought a few sets, they certainly weren’t sold in his estate sale like it is commonly claimed. I also have found more info today that guarantees Merkin was not the buyer (and this stems from our PM conversation).

    3) I asked for all records available. They had info for only the 1990 set (and the lot of interest was missing for whatever reason). One of the posts above listed a few sales prices, but that is ultimately not of interest to me (although it is a cool tidbit).

    The 1964 circulation strike Kennedy half dollars from both Philadelphia and Denver ODV-002 (Obverse Design Variety) was paired with both the RDV-001 (Straight G) and the RDV-002 (Flared G) (Reverse Design Variety). Both RDV for the 1964 circulation strikes are fairly common and the RDV-002 (Flared G) carried over for the years, 1965 – 1968 with also the 1969-D and 1970-D.

    The 1968-S, 1969-D, and 1970-D also saw the RDV-003 (Straight G) along with the 1969-S and 1970-S.

  • MJDMJD Posts: 87 ✭✭✭

    I know this is highly unlikely, but hypothetically, if a mint document surfaced which unequivocally established there were no 64 SMS strikes, would PCGS continue to guarantee the existing SP grades or would it reclassify these as MS grades?

  • MFeldMFeld Posts: 11,736 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @MJD said:
    I know this is highly unlikely, but hypothetically, if a mint document surfaced which unequivocally established there were no 64 SMS strikes, would PCGS continue to guarantee the existing SP grades or would it reclassify these as MS grades?

    I think that scenario is well beyond “highly unlikely”. I don’t recall seeing or hearing about Mint documents unequivocally disproving something of that nature. But even if there were such a document, how would anyone know that there wasn’t any unofficial experimentation for such coins?

    Mark Feld* of Heritage Auctions*Unless otherwise noted, my posts here represent my personal opinions.

  • FlyingAlFlyingAl Posts: 2,759 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @MJD said:
    I know this is highly unlikely, but hypothetically, if a mint document surfaced which unequivocally established there were no 64 SMS strikes, would PCGS continue to guarantee the existing SP grades or would it reclassify these as MS grades?

    Many have searched the mint archives, and nothing exists regarding anything relating to the 1964 “SMS” coins.

    There are, however, documents that state how tightly trial strikes were regulated by Eva Adams in 1964. I believe she wouldn’t let any true trial strikes outside the mint, period. The “SMS” theory said she let 20+ complete sets out.

    The goal of my research is to present everything in a factual manner and let the reader draw their own conclusions. One conclusion we can all see is there are some large gaps in the “SMS” theory.

  • MaywoodMaywood Posts: 1,835 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Kudos, @FlyingAl, I think you have sort of relegated all future catalogue descriptions to read "There is no evidence to show exactly where these sets came from or how Lester Merkin obtained them" due to the timeline, unless other documentation can be found. And to think, Walter Breen is routinely criticized because he "made stuff up" in some of his writings.

  • FlyingAlFlyingAl Posts: 2,759 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Maywood said:
    Kudos, @FlyingAl, I think you have sort of relegated all future catalogue descriptions to read "There is no evidence to show exactly where these sets came from or how Lester Merkin obtained them" due to the timeline, unless other documentation can be found. And to think, Walter Breen is routinely criticized because he "made stuff up" in some of his writings.

    Thanks!

    I’m actually fairly confident that Lester Merkin never bought a set. I’m working on confirming that.

  • GoldminersGoldminers Posts: 3,563 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited August 9, 2023 1:52PM

    You show above documentation of about a dozen lots sold, containing full "sets", from 1990-1995, and none before that, even though these were dated 1964. Were these "sets" in any kind of set holders, or all coins individually loose in paper or cardboard sleeves?

    If they were struck sometime around 1964-1965 is VERY strange than none showed up for 25, not 15, lol, years and then magically a person or several people decide to sell a few complete sets of coins, they happen to have stashed or found starting in 1990, over a period of 5 years?

    Is there any information about the estate sales of the Mint Superintendent or the Mint Assayer that were specifically mentioned by the Mint Director Adams as being responsible for additional striking of coins with experimental dies and their subsequent destruction?

    Were all 1964 dated dies or die hubs 100% documented to have been destroyed? I assume the answer is yes, but it is one thing to prepare a "certificate of destruction", and another to actually destroy all test coin examples ever struck.

    The 2000 Sacagawea quarter mule comes to mind where all examples were supposed to be destroyed (a few were not found and legitimately entered circulation), yet a couple of Mint employees were eventually found guilty of theft and selling a few they kept.

    I really think you @FlyingAl have reopened Pandora's box and I can't wait to hear "The Rest of the Story".

  • VasantiVasanti Posts: 431 ✭✭✭✭

    One of the things that I’ve often wondered is whether there was a political vector for these. Could this have ended up with a senator or congressman? The president? The Kennedy family as special gifts? If they all went to one place, then it may make sense that they were buried for 15 years. The Nixon presentation Ikes that recently surfaced come to mind as an example.

  • lilolmelilolme Posts: 2,399 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Since in the OP it states contacting the Smithsonian, is this to follow up on the possibility of them coming from there as noted in the NGC information on the half dollar specimen strike.

    Link
    https://www.ngccoin.com/coin-explorer/united-states/half-dollars/kennedy-half-dollars-1964-date/76045/1964-50c-sp/?des=sp

    And screen shot of:

    https://youtube.com/watch?v=2YNufnS_kf4 - Mama I'm coming home ...................................................................................................................................................................... RLJ 1958 - 2023

  • MFeldMFeld Posts: 11,736 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Vasanti said:
    One of the things that I’ve often wondered is whether there was a political vector for these. Could this have ended up with a senator or congressman? The president? The Kennedy family as special gifts? If they all went to one place, then it may make sense that they were buried for 15 years. The Nixon presentation Ikes that recently surfaced come to mind as an example.

    It appears that the coins didn’t start surfacing until 1990, which would mean they were “buried” for 25+ years.

    Mark Feld* of Heritage Auctions*Unless otherwise noted, my posts here represent my personal opinions.

  • GoldminersGoldminers Posts: 3,563 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited August 12, 2023 2:49AM

    Yes, Mark, my math skills needed improvement, 25 years is a long time for sure. Thanks.

  • CaptHenwayCaptHenway Posts: 31,442 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I know no facts regarding the alleged 1964 Special Mint Set coins. I might offer a few observations and opinions.

    First of all, I agree with the opinion expressed above that there is absolutely no connection between the alleged 1964 Special Mint Set coins and the 1964-D Peace dollars struck in May of 1965. The Treasury Dept. did everything it could to sabotage the reintroduction of the Standard Silver Dollar, and (IMHO) only struck the roughly 316,000 "trial strike" 1964-D Peace Dollars to cover LBJ's tuccus and/or promise to a certain Western Senator whose vote and support he needed to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964. They showed that he "tried."

    On Feb. 8, 1966, Eva Adams testified before Congress that the Mint had no plans to resume making sets of coins for collectors:

    On March 8, 1966, the Mint began accepting orders for collector sets:

    This would not be the first time, nor the last, that the right hand and the left hand at the Mint were in different time zones. That said, if the Mint did make 1964-dated Special Mint Set coins, this would be a plausible time frame.

    Now note the comment in the Press Release about the coins in the 1965 collector set being in higher relief. Does this mean that they were made from hubs that were literally in higher relief than the regular issue coins? Or, were they just struck up better?

    If there is a device that can accurately measure the relief of a coin, then I would suggest that all five coins in a 1965 Special Mint Set be measured against regular coins of all five denominations. If THEY show a difference in relief, then repeat the test with 1964 "SMS" and regular coins.

    TD

    Numismatist. 50 year member ANA. Winner of four ANA Heath Literary Awards; three Wayte and Olga Raymond Literary Awards; Numismatist of the Year Award 2009, and Lifetime Achievement Award 2020. Winner numerous NLG Literary Awards.
  • DCWDCW Posts: 6,890 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I owned a 1964 "SMS" dime once.
    I studied it.
    I tried to believe it was special.
    In the end, it looked like a regular dime to me with alot of die polish.

    Dead Cat Waltz Exonumia
    "Coin collecting for outcasts..."

  • MaywoodMaywood Posts: 1,835 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @DCW said: In the end, it looked like a regular dime to me with alot of die polish.

    This seems to describe the single characteristic which differentiates these coins from others. For all denominations the only diagnostic I recall seeing described is the the serif on the "4" of the Half-Dollar date.

  • jmlanzafjmlanzaf Posts: 31,312 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @MFeld said:

    @MJD said:
    I know this is highly unlikely, but hypothetically, if a mint document surfaced which unequivocally established there were no 64 SMS strikes, would PCGS continue to guarantee the existing SP grades or would it reclassify these as MS grades?

    I think that scenario is well beyond “highly unlikely”. I don’t recall seeing or hearing about Mint documents unequivocally disproving something of that nature. But even if there were such a document, how would anyone know that there wasn’t any unofficial experimentation for such coins?

    How could any such document exist? As phrased, it's a negative assertion.

    What you would need is documentation specific to those coins that specify then as something else. The problem is that no such document surfaces with those coins so there is a chain of custody problem if such a document surfaced: how would you know it was referring to those specific coins?

  • jmlanzafjmlanzaf Posts: 31,312 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited August 9, 2023 8:38PM

    I don't know about the Merkin piece. However, it is not unusual to sell a collection (estate) while someone is still alive.

    But if the whole Adams/Merwin connection is only the result of sloppy cataloging later, the only people who would know the answer are at Stack's.

    Given Q David Bowers penchant for writing, has he ever weighed in on these?

  • element159element159 Posts: 493 ✭✭✭

    @lilolme said:
    And screen shot of:

    If this is the case, where are the 'Sharper than SMS' coins for all the other years besides 1964?

    image
  • CaptHenwayCaptHenway Posts: 31,442 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @element159 said:

    @lilolme said:
    And screen shot of:

    If this is the case, where are the 'Sharper than SMS' coins for all the other years besides 1964?

    Logically, in the Smithsonian.
    I would love to see a sharply struck Franklin half.

    Numismatist. 50 year member ANA. Winner of four ANA Heath Literary Awards; three Wayte and Olga Raymond Literary Awards; Numismatist of the Year Award 2009, and Lifetime Achievement Award 2020. Winner numerous NLG Literary Awards.
  • FlyingAlFlyingAl Posts: 2,759 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @element159 said:

    @lilolme said:
    And screen shot of:

    If this is the case, where are the 'Sharper than SMS' coins for all the other years besides 1964?

    The Smithsonian. There have been accounts of such coins existing.

  • cladkingcladking Posts: 28,251 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited August 10, 2023 8:29AM

    The mint made special specimens of coins all through this era that are now in the Smithsonian. I've not seen enough good pictures of any of these to know how they compare with the '64 issues.

    Based on the fact that photos suggest the '64 issues are struck once under high pressure like the SMS coins of the era I would guess these were struck on the same presses. Whether they can really be called "SMS" would seem to depend on the intention of the coiner. Certainly the fact that each denomination was struck and they are specially made implies that "SMS" is "appropriate" terminology whether they are directly related to the later SMS's or not.

    Tempus fugit.
  • JFK_CollectorJFK_Collector Posts: 110 ✭✭✭

    @cladking said:
    The mint made special specimens of coins all through this era that are now in the Smithsonian. I've not seen enough good pictures of any of these to know how they compare with the '64 issues.

    Based on the fact that photos suggest the '64 issues are struck once under high pressure like the SMS coins of the era I would guess these were struck on the same presses. Whether they can really be called "SMS" would seem to depend on the intention of the coiner. Certainly the fact that each denomination was struck and they are specially that "SMS" is "appropriate" terminology whether they are directly related to the later SMS's or not.

    I believe the ANAs monthly magazine had an article on some of the modern coins found in the Smithsonian with some photos sometime between 2011 - 2015. NGC looked at them when they were holdering some of the coins in the collection and called them specimens.

  • NeophyteNumismatistNeophyteNumismatist Posts: 853 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Second time I read this today, and as good as the first. Thanks @FlyingAl for being such a great student of numismatics, and sharing your findings in the most thoughtful, humble ways. I really do appreciate you on the boards!

    I am a newer collector (started April 2020), and I primarily focus on U.S. Half Cents and Type Coins. Early copper is my favorite.

  • CaptHenwayCaptHenway Posts: 31,442 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @CaptHenway said:
    I know no facts regarding the alleged 1964 Special Mint Set coins. I might offer a few observations and opinions.

    First of all, I agree with the opinion expressed above that there is absolutely no connection between the alleged 1964 Special Mint Set coins and the 1964-D Peace dollars struck in May of 1965. The Treasury Dept. did everything it could to sabotage the reintroduction of the Standard Silver Dollar, and (IMHO) only struck the roughly 316,000 "trial strike" 1964-D Peace Dollars to cover LBJ's tuccus and/or promise to a certain Western Senator whose vote and support he needed to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964. They showed that he "tried."

    On Feb. 8, 1966, Eva Adams testified before Congress that the Mint had no plans to resume making sets of coins for collectors:

    On March 8, 1966, the Mint began accepting orders for collector sets:

    This would not be the first time, nor the last, that the right hand and the left hand at the Mint were in different time zones. That said, if the Mint did make 1964-dated Special Mint Set coins, this would be a plausible time frame.

    Now note the comment in the Press Release about the coins in the 1965 collector set being in higher relief. Does this mean that they were made from hubs that were literally in higher relief than the regular issue coins? Or, were they just struck up better?

    If there is a device that can accurately measure the relief of a coin, then I would suggest that all five coins in a 1965 Special Mint Set be measured against regular coins of all five denominations. If THEY show a difference in relief, then repeat the test with 1964 "SMS" and regular coins.

    TD

    Roger B. informs me that this device

    https://www.keyence.com/landing/microscope/lp_video_vhx7000.jsp?ad_local=cta_428_01

    could detect any difference in relief between the 1965 SMS coins and the 1965 regular issue coins, which the Treasury Dept. press release stated was going to occur, and logically any difference in relief between the alleged 1964 SMS coins and the regular 1964 coins.

    Personally I like the suggestions above that the coins bound for the Smithsonian were simply well struck from brand new but ordinary dies and handled carefully. The so-called 1964 SMS coins may simply be excess such coins that somebody saved. After all, if you are making coins for a favored client you make a few of each and then send them the best one of each denomination.

    TD

    Numismatist. 50 year member ANA. Winner of four ANA Heath Literary Awards; three Wayte and Olga Raymond Literary Awards; Numismatist of the Year Award 2009, and Lifetime Achievement Award 2020. Winner numerous NLG Literary Awards.
  • WAYNEASWAYNEAS Posts: 6,268 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @JFK_Collector said:

    @FlyingAl said:
    Yes, this is all really good research. I suspect that the Chesapeake set may be one of the earlier sets reauctioned (or it was perhaps thrown into that auction so they could finish off the group of sets).

    @MFeld - here are my answers.

    1) I checked a large chunk of 1965 and 1966 coins to verify this possibility. I came up empty, and I find it hard to believe that the mint would not use several dies for halves in 1964, when they were desperate to churn out as many as possible. Variety vista has not reported a single example with this reverse not paired with a 1964 obverse (which makes sense for my working theory). Essentially, I believe it is not logical that the mint would make more working dies early in the year so they could save some for 1965 when they were under a time crunch.

    2) When going through the lots, each 1964 set was generally in a generic US Coins auction. While it is possible that Lester Merkin may have bought a few sets, they certainly weren’t sold in his estate sale like it is commonly claimed. I also have found more info today that guarantees Merkin was not the buyer (and this stems from our PM conversation).

    3) I asked for all records available. They had info for only the 1990 set (and the lot of interest was missing for whatever reason). One of the posts above listed a few sales prices, but that is ultimately not of interest to me (although it is a cool tidbit).

    The 1964 circulation strike Kennedy half dollars from both Philadelphia and Denver ODV-002 (Obverse Design Variety) was paired with both the RDV-001 (Straight G) and the RDV-002 (Flared G) (Reverse Design Variety). Both RDV for the 1964 circulation strikes are fairly common and the RDV-002 (Flared G) carried over for the years, 1965 – 1968 with also the 1969-D and 1970-D.

    The 1968-S, 1969-D, and 1970-D also saw the RDV-003 (Straight G) along with the 1969-S and 1970-S.

    I read your posts and was wondering why I knew so much of the information contained in them.
    It finally dawned on me that we had discussed this very topic both in text and over the phone. It was back in Oct of ‘22.
    Glad to see that you are continuing your research.
    I am still pursuing the Kennedys and still slowly adding the varieties.
    Wayne

    Kennedys are my quest...

  • WAYNEASWAYNEAS Posts: 6,268 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @FlyingAl
    Thanks for sharing your research. It is truly a labor of love and much appreciated.
    I hope that someday, we will finally be able to trace the origins of these
    “special coins”.
    Wayne

    Kennedys are my quest...

  • Interesting thread. This is the reason I'm here for these kind of discussions

  • GoldFinger1969GoldFinger1969 Posts: 1,167 ✭✭✭✭

    Wow, looks like they were preparing the memorial new Half Dollars only 2-3 weeks after the JFK assasination.

    A bit surprising, IMO. :o

  • cmerlo1cmerlo1 Posts: 7,890 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Fantastic thread- thanks, everyone!

    You Suck! Awarded 6/2008- 1901-O Micro O Morgan, 8/2008- 1878 VAM-123 Morgan, 9/2022 1888-O VAM-1B3 H8 Morgan | Senior Regional Representative- ANACS Coin Grading. Posted opinions on coins are my own, and are not an official ANACS opinion.
  • FlyingAlFlyingAl Posts: 2,759 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited August 31, 2023 2:10PM

    I must note - there are a few things in my OP that are factually incorrect based on subsequent research.

    My OP was factually correct based on the info I had at the time, but the errors in it will be corrected in my final research.

  • CaptHenwayCaptHenway Posts: 31,442 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I take it that nobody is interested in checking the alleged "higher relief" that was mentioned in the clipping I posted?

    Numismatist. 50 year member ANA. Winner of four ANA Heath Literary Awards; three Wayte and Olga Raymond Literary Awards; Numismatist of the Year Award 2009, and Lifetime Achievement Award 2020. Winner numerous NLG Literary Awards.
  • GoldminersGoldminers Posts: 3,563 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @FlyingAl said:
    I must note - there are a few things in my OP that are factually incorrect based on subsequent research.

    My OP was factually correct based on the info I had at the time, but the errors in it will be corrected in my final research.

    I really hope you can update some of your recent preliminary findings as you work your way through this complex history, before a final result. I think nothing in history is really final, so don't keep us all in suspense for too long. :)

  • FlyingAlFlyingAl Posts: 2,759 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Goldminers said:

    @FlyingAl said:
    I must note - there are a few things in my OP that are factually incorrect based on subsequent research.

    My OP was factually correct based on the info I had at the time, but the errors in it will be corrected in my final research.

    I really hope you can update some of your recent preliminary findings as you work your way through this complex history, before a final result. I think nothing in history is really final, so don't keep us all in suspense for too long. :)

    I plan to publish an article in The Numismatist - which requires the findings aren't repeated anywhere else first.

    Unfortunately, the last article I sent took over a year to be accepted for publication. It still hasn't been printed, and I sent it in June of 2022.

  • IkesTIkesT Posts: 2,367 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited August 31, 2023 4:21PM

    @CaptHenway said:
    I take it that nobody is interested in checking the alleged "higher relief" that was mentioned in the clipping I posted?

    I think it's a great idea.

    Here is the citation for a study where this was actually done:

    McCarthy, David. 2019. "1942 High-Relief Cent Pattern." The Numismatist (January): 53-56.

    For this study, Ray Parkhurst created three-dimensional micrographs of 1942 1c Judd-2081, 1942 1c business strike and 1942 1c proof coins; relief measurements from these were used to prove that the pattern cent is higher in relief than the regular issue cents. The specific methods for making the micrographs were not described in the article, however. It requires an electron microscope, so if you are working with that kind of a facility, presumably the operator would know how to do it.

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