Home U.S. Coin Forum
Options

Survival Rates

WhitWhit Posts: 318 ✭✭✭

Good evening, everyone; Not too long ago, I ran across an 1844 Liberty Seated dime at a local auction. I don't collect the series, but I liked the coin, and so I bought it ... but not before running it through CoinFacts. I was surprised to see an estimate of only 1000 surviving specimens in all grades out a mintage of 72,500. So I have wondered, where did the other 71,500 coins go? I am aware of great melts of silver dollars, but not melts of lesser coinage. Are they scattered in forgotten attic trunks and shoeboxes, or between floorboards, or simply in the dirt? Or have many such coins of that era ended up in a melting pot?
Whit

Whit

Comments

  • Options
    RickMilauskasRickMilauskas Posts: 1,985 ✭✭✭

    It could have met it's demise during the Civil War when many silver coins were hoarded and saved/buried.

  • Options
    lilolmelilolme Posts: 2,466 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Where did they go, I don't have the info.

    I looked in the Resources thread and the book The Complete Guide to Liberty Seated Dimes - Brian Greer (1992) on the NNP.

    This book has a little bit different survival rating. I screenshot that information below and along with the first part of the table of years and scarcity by grade. It appears this is not an uncommon thing with these LS dimes based on this information (the other dates available at the link page 24 or 32 of the viewer).
    Note: I do not know this series or how good this information is today.
    .
    https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/book/555400
    .

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

  • Options
    The_Dinosaur_ManThe_Dinosaur_Man Posts: 839 ✭✭✭✭✭

    You also have to consider this coin was made pre-1853, many of them may have been melted or disappeared across the border when the value of silver increased above the face value of circulating coins.

    Custom album maker and numismatic photographer, see my portfolio here: (http://www.donahuenumismatics.com/).

  • Options
    seatedlib3991seatedlib3991 Posts: 517 ✭✭✭✭

    Life ate them up. They were not made to be collector items. All coins of that era were made to be a financial tool, to be used and used and used again. Also true that many coins were melted. A simple function of economics. If someone could make money off of melting money someone often did.
    I have read a number of authors who have covered 19th century coin usage and most will tell you that a 2 to 5 percent survival rate is common. Take the coin in question. A 2 percent survival rate would put it around 1,450. Nobody can do an actual count but I would also think you have to factor in that the older the coin the fewer to survive. It is interesting to speculate though. James

  • Options
    WhitWhit Posts: 318 ✭✭✭

    Thanks, folks, for the interesting responses, and a particular thanks to lilolme for the screenshot.
    Whit

    Whit
  • Options

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe the CoinFacts survival estimates are only for coins that would receive a straight numerical grade. Any that would be or are labeled as details (cleaned, damaged, bent, etc.) would not be factored into the survival estimate.

    That's obviously not going to account for all of the 71,500 missing coins here, but I wouldn't be surprised if in some cases details coin populations are comparable to those with straight grades.

  • Options
    NysotoNysoto Posts: 3,771 ✭✭✭✭✭

    The recoining through the subtreasuries consumed many of the redeemed worn and mutilated coins "This includes the shipment of silver coin at government expense to any point in the country upon deposits made at any Sub-treasury. The redemption of small coins alone employs twenty persons at the New York office." Hardenbrook Financial New York published 1897.

    Robert Scot: Engraving Liberty - biography of US Mint's first chief engraver
  • Options
    oldabeintxoldabeintx Posts: 1,637 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Nysoto said:
    The recoining through the subtreasuries consumed many of the redeemed worn and mutilated coins "This includes the shipment of silver coin at government expense to any point in the country upon deposits made at any Sub-treasury. The redemption of small coins alone employs twenty persons at the New York office." Hardenbrook Financial New York published 1897.

    This. Routine retirement of worn coins probably accounts for the vast majority of coins that have "disappeared" . There may be records to support this.

  • Options
    MoparmonsterMoparmonster Posts: 135 ✭✭✭✭

    The 1844 dime is a famous coin with a lot of history behind it. Nicknamed the Orphan Annie coin because it’s missing most of its siblings (other 1844 dimes.) There is much speculation about it and you can research it but some believed many were lost in the Great Chicago fire and others say that robbers made off with a loot of mostly 1844 dimes and buried them and went to their graves without giving away the location. Coins with stories are cool! I just recently picked out one as well. Have fun!

  • Options
    NysotoNysoto Posts: 3,771 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited March 16, 2024 2:27PM

    @oldabeintx said:

    This. Routine retirement of worn coins probably accounts for the vast majority of coins that have "disappeared" . There may be records to support this.

    There are records to support this in the Subtreasury records at the National Archives in College Park. However, these records have not been researched in-depth by numismatists or even by general historians that could give answers as to exactly how much of the nation's coinage was melted by the subtreasuries substantial recoining duties. "Minor Coins" was one of the 5 divisions of the Independent Treasury and it's many subtreasuries, with many people employed and weighers and gaugers.

    This coin was stamped "L" by a subtreasury for lightweight, and somehow escaped and eventually landed into my hands:

    Robert Scot: Engraving Liberty - biography of US Mint's first chief engraver
  • Options
    Zach98Zach98 Posts: 60 ✭✭✭

    @seatedlib3991 said:
    Life ate them up. They were not made to be collector items. All coins of that era were made to be a financial tool, to be used and used and used again. Also true that many coins were melted. A simple function of economics. If someone could make money off of melting money someone often did.
    I have read a number of authors who have covered 19th century coin usage and most will tell you that a 2 to 5 percent survival rate is common. Take the coin in question. A 2 percent survival rate would put it around 1,450. Nobody can do an actual count but I would also think you have to factor in that the older the coin the fewer to survive. It is interesting to speculate though. James

    I agree it is a fun exercise think about all the senecios. I think about all the coins I’ve lost in my life. I can’t tell you how many that’s been but I’ve lost modern pocket change swimming and doin other activities. If you can imangine 150+ years of stuff like that happening it’s easy to see why the survival relate of coins from this era being in’s the single digit percents.

  • Options
    BillJonesBillJones Posts: 33,485 ✭✭✭✭✭

    One of the rules of thumb that some numismatists use is "The 1% rule." Unless there is a hoard of coins, usually about 1% of the mintage has survived for much of the 19th century. That number can go up for the first year of issue since those coins are the first of their kind.

    Therefore, if the mintage is 72,000, you might expect 720 survivors.

    A lot of pre-1853 coins when to their graves because they were melted for their silver content.

    Retired dealer and avid collector of U.S. type coins, 19th century presidential campaign medalets and selected medals. In recent years I have been working on a set of British coins - at least one coin from each king or queen who issued pieces that are collectible. I am also collecting at least one coin for each Roman emperor from Julius Caesar to ... ?

Leave a Comment

BoldItalicStrikethroughOrdered listUnordered list
Emoji
Image
Align leftAlign centerAlign rightToggle HTML viewToggle full pageToggle lights
Drop image/file