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1838 V-10a Half Dime

One date that got me started into obsessive pursuit of Seated half dime varieties and die states is 1838. Valentine lists 14 die marriages, one of which with two separate state listings. I wanted to get all of them. It turns out that some Valentine varieties are the same marriage, e.g., V-5 and V-4, and V-9 and V-13, in notably different die states. But one marriage in particular presents a large number of distinctive die states. That is the V-10, whose reverse is described by Valentine as "Similar to die of 1837 No. 2, but die badly broken between AMERICA and wreath." Coins from this die span the range from none of the described damage to a large area of die erosion, punctuated at the end by a spectacular clash of the entire obverse design, date, and stars. (See Gobrecht Journal #145 for an article about the one known specimen in that latest known state.)

In an exchange with @yosclimber, who is creating a much needed modern guide to the series, I suggested breaking V-10 into several states: V-10 (no damage), and V-10a through V-10i (for various stages, broken down by how many letters the damage touches and where, ending with the final clashed state). I had never seen a coin in state a, with damage touching only one letter (either R or I). Until today.

The damage begins at the bottom of the I. Here's the TrueView of the coin I found (and bought) on the internet today.

Alan

and what the heck, here's a later state of the reverse, just before the clash:

Collector of Liberty Seated Half Dimes, including die pairs and die states

Comments

  • yosclimberyosclimber Posts: 4,541 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited January 22, 2024 4:32PM

    Wow, a very nice find!
    The 1838 has been such a great date choice for collectible die varieties!

  • RobertScotLoverRobertScotLover Posts: 503 ✭✭✭✭

    Could you help pinpoint the clash on the first ex, the bright and shiny non original example so that I can compare tot he darkly toned one please

  • yosclimberyosclimber Posts: 4,541 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited January 22, 2024 5:30PM

    @RobertScotLover said:
    Could you help pinpoint the clash on the first ex, the bright and shiny non original example so that I can compare tot he darkly toned one please

    The deep extreme clash has not yet occurred on the darkly toned example which has what we call extensive "crumbling".


    @epc has identified about 10 distinct die states as the crumbling progresses from this newly discovered
    starting point at the base of I in AMERICA.

    Steve Crain @MrHalfDime had what he called a "mini-hoard" of the 1838 V-10 displaying several die states in the progression.


    About midway in the progression, the mint folks stopped to polish up the dies to make a proof striking!
    You can see the crumbling has reached the bases of MERIC but not yet A3.
    This is quite an unusual coin.

  • yosclimberyosclimber Posts: 4,541 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited January 22, 2024 5:51PM

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8t1VPgeGAuc
    Incidentally, the Cherrypickers' Guide incorrectly calls the 1838 V-10 (FS-901) a "rusted die",
    and the above video by PCGScoin uses this terminology.
    This is incorrect, because rust creates an area of die pits which create raised bumps on the coin,
    and the area does not widen in later strikes.

    Here, die "crumbling" (aka "spalling") is likely due to substandard metal or die heating,
    which resulted in small flakes falling off the die in a progression as the affected area increased.

    A couple of correct examples of die rust on half dimes are:

    1838 V-1, V-2, aka "small stars", which I call "rusty arm". (Note: above coin is incorrectly attributed as "Large Stars").


    1871 V-1, especially visible on the V-1 proofs, with their scattering of tiny raised bumps in the upper fields,
    and all over Liberty's skirt, especially on her thigh.

  • epcepc Posts: 90 ✭✭✭

    "@epc has identified about 10 distinct die states..."

    There are many more than 10 identifiable states. What I sought to do was group them into a manageable scheme that would not have an excessive number of categories and would not be subject to constantly finding "in-between" states that would need new "in-between" designations.

    Collector of Liberty Seated Half Dimes, including die pairs and die states

  • RobertScotLoverRobertScotLover Posts: 503 ✭✭✭✭

    Great write up as well as fascinating, thanks

  • epcepc Posts: 90 ✭✭✭
    edited January 22, 2024 6:15PM

    "the bright and shiny non original example"

    Yeah, it certainly doesn't look original in the TV, but apparently good enough to be straight graded by PCGS. I'll see how it looks in hand before too long. Going after every variety I see (that fits in my budget and that seems reasonably priced for what it is) does require that I get some cleaned, damaged, and unattractive coins. I do try to avoid really "ugly" stuff, and wait for better to come along. But even some "problem" coins can be cool coins.

    Collector of Liberty Seated Half Dimes, including die pairs and die states

  • yosclimberyosclimber Posts: 4,541 ✭✭✭✭✭

    It's certainly got a lot of original surfaces, i.e. no wear.
    And a very big advantage of an untoned coin is that nothing is obscured by toning, so they are great for spotting die features in a high resolution photo like a TrueView.
    An untoned coin is always my first choice for a plate coin, for this reason.

  • epcepc Posts: 90 ✭✭✭

    Got the coin in the mail Saturday. Here are my new photos for comparison with the TV.


    Collector of Liberty Seated Half Dimes, including die pairs and die states

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