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Die Rust vs. Spalling

Cladking -- interesting question on die rust vs. spalling. After the early 19th century I'm a little out of my element, but generally improvements in steel technology (particularly die steel) helped to eliminate spalling.

That stated, I'm still not sure everything that is called die rust after, say, the 1830s is.

This is definitely die rust:

image



This is definitely spalling, at LI of LIBERTY:

image


Generally, I think we can say with certainty that spalling gets WORSE as a die state progresses, i.e. the die face gets more and more chipped as the internal impurities flake out, while die rust SHOULD become less visible since the surface becomes worn and work-hardened. If you have a rusty hammer, and you keep using it and using it, the hammer end will become less rusty, not more rusty. Of course, if a die is lapped (filed), the die rust should disappear -- spalling, since it comes from the inside of the steel, will not.

Dies were typically covered in beeswax to seal them from moisture and handled with kid gloves since they were the most precious and difficult part of a coining operation. I actually just saw some dies that are still covered in beeswax from the 19th century in the vaults of the Massachusetts Historical Society. Melt the wax off and they'll look like new. I tend to think it would be difficult for a die to get rusty in a short period of time, particularly if it's being actively used for coining. It also seems that if part of a die got rusty, most or a lot of it would. I've never seen a piece of steel with one tiny little rust pit on it.

I should state here that I am not a metallurgist, I'm an historian. My dad is a retired blacksmith, welder, and metal worker though, so I did grow up around worked metal and have a pretty good understanding of what happens to steel after being subjected to things like force, heat, and moisture. I also have an understanding of what my arm smells like when I lean on steel that is still blue from an acetylene torch -- like a barbecue, basically.

Most of what I know about spalling comes from Craig Sholley, aka Rittenhouse here on the boards.

Comments

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    BearBear Posts: 18,954 ✭✭
    Thanks for finally clearing this matter up for me.

    The pictures really make the matter crystal clear.image
    There once was a place called
    Camelotimage
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    This is great to know. Thanks
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    cladkingcladking Posts: 28,339 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I see. Thanks a million.
    Tempus fugit.
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    LongacreLongacre Posts: 16,717 ✭✭✭
    Wow. Great post. I learned a lot.

    Now let's get back to discussions about flipping 10th anniversary platinum coins. image
    Always took candy from strangers
    Didn't wanna get me no trade
    Never want to be like papa
    Working for the boss every night and day
    --"Happy", by the Rolling Stones (1972)
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    ebaytraderebaytrader Posts: 3,312 ✭✭✭
    A difference without a distiction. Die rust falls under the guise of spalling if I'm not mistaken.
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    Pistareen ask me to post this from our PM...

    From your post on Die Rust vs. Spalling
    Quoting you,"...Of course, if a die is lapped (filed)"

    Lapping was done with small abrasive hand stones, as files like we have now were not invented until the machine cut files of the 1860's.
    Early files were hand-cut, the teeth are like little triangles (like a rasp) and leave coarse marks as found in the planchet adjustment marks.
    Further, the flat file could not be used on a dies concave surface!
    These small hand stones were used like an eraser to remove die clash from the dies. Evidence of this comes in the form of the fine lines left around the main features and in the fields, in a case in point the ones found on Lettered Edge Capped Bust Half Dollars for example.
    Sometimes the burrs in the dies would transfer and leave small lines in the stones and these would then be transferred to the die by moving them back and forth across the surface when lapping (stones are softer than the steel) looking like fine raised lines on the coin.
    Also they shouldn't be confused with the engraver touching-up the die with a slip.
    Just to elaborate on your information.

    Mike ...image
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    MrEurekaMrEureka Posts: 23,945 ✭✭✭✭✭
    So if the fields of a coin exhibit what we typically call "die striations" running in one direction, across the entire side of the coin, is that the result of lapping or something else?
    Andy Lustig

    Doggedly collecting coins of the Central American Republic.

    Visit the Society of US Pattern Collectors at USPatterns.com.
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    BarndogBarndog Posts: 20,458 ✭✭✭✭✭
    this thread rocks...where can I read more about die metallurgy?
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    IGWTIGWT Posts: 4,975
    I have what I believe to be a good example of spalling on an 1869 5c Tall Date, but Picturetrail is down for maintenance. image I'll try to remember to post it later.
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    BarndogBarndog Posts: 20,458 ✭✭✭✭✭


    << <i>I have what I believe to be a good example of spalling on an 1869 5c Tall Date, but Picturetrail is down for maintenance. image I'll try to remember to post it later. >>



    it is later...
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    As a point of information, it appears that the first US Mint used lard to protect the dies and punches from rusting.

    On July 17, 1793, Henry Voigt purchased 10 pounds of it for a dollar.

    Most of the rust seen on old re-used coinage dies comes from being unprotected after several decades. The various restrikes in the American issues, such as the Dickeson pieces (often times attributed to Mickley) and the 1827/3/2 Bust Quarter restrikes, display dramatic evidence of rust pitting.

    PM me if you are looking for U.S. auction catalogs
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    IGWTIGWT Posts: 4,975


    << <i>

    << <i>I have what I believe to be a good example of spalling on an 1869 5c Tall Date, but Picturetrail is down for maintenance. image I'll try to remember to post it later. >>



    it is later... >>



    I missed Barndog's reminder and clearly forgot! image I took a close-up to show the spalling more clearly:

    image
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    pontiacinfpontiacinf Posts: 8,915 ✭✭
    Happy Holidays John


    Thanks for the informative post, I can see why my grandfather always spoke so highly of youimage
    image

    Go BIG or GO HOME. ©Bill
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    ldhairldhair Posts: 7,123 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Great thread. I learned something newimage
    Larry

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    Wow, those pictures really make a big differance. You can see the distinction pretty clearly.
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    lkeigwinlkeigwin Posts: 16,887 ✭✭✭✭✭

    ALERT: OLD THREAD RESSURECTED

    I noticed, when comparing 1815 bust half dollars, that all examples have some measure of surface disturbance under eagle's left wing. I was convinced this was rust -- not uncommon among bust halves, and maybe to be expected when a three year old die is reused like the 1812 for the 1815/2.

    My coin has a lot of surface imperfections under the left wing.

    One I owned earlier shows little disturbance.

    A good friend and fellow bust nut recently asserted this was spalling, not rust, and that instead of an early die state it was just the opposite. The die was rotting from the inside out.

    A search turned up this thread which I thought was fascinating. Below are some other 15/2's from Coinfacts.
    Lance.

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    LanceNewmanOCCLanceNewmanOCC Posts: 19,999 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @lkeigwin said:

    ok. not sure if you opened a can of worms here or not.

    can you look at the overlay and see what is wrong? (wrong in the sense it was much more difficult for me to do the overlay than usual)

    <--- look what's behind the mask! - cool link 1/NO ~ 2/NNP ~ 3/NNC ~ 4/CF ~ 5/PG ~ 6/Cert ~ 7/NGC 7a/NGC pop~ 8/NGCF ~ 9/HA archives ~ 10/PM ~ 11/NM ~ 12/ANACS cert ~ 13/ANACS pop - report fakes 1/ACEF ~ report fakes/thefts 1/NCIS - Numi-Classes SS ~ Bass ~ Transcribed Docs NNP - clashed coins - error training - V V mm styles -

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    BustDMsBustDMs Posts: 1,573 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I have an “eye” as to wha t you’re looking at…..

    Q: When does a collector become a numismatist?



    A: The year they spend more on their library than their coin collection.



    A numismatist is judged more on the content of their library than the content of their cabinet.
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    LanceNewmanOCCLanceNewmanOCC Posts: 19,999 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @BustDMs said:
    I have an “eye” as to wha t you’re looking at…..

    .
    hehe. that's part of it but this one ventures a little deeper into the numismatic curiosity pool with more than just meets the "eye." B)

    <--- look what's behind the mask! - cool link 1/NO ~ 2/NNP ~ 3/NNC ~ 4/CF ~ 5/PG ~ 6/Cert ~ 7/NGC 7a/NGC pop~ 8/NGCF ~ 9/HA archives ~ 10/PM ~ 11/NM ~ 12/ANACS cert ~ 13/ANACS pop - report fakes 1/ACEF ~ report fakes/thefts 1/NCIS - Numi-Classes SS ~ Bass ~ Transcribed Docs NNP - clashed coins - error training - V V mm styles -

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    CaptHenwayCaptHenway Posts: 31,557 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited August 24, 2022 4:24PM

    On the overlay, I think you need to rotate the obverse image a few degrees clockwise relative to the reverse image to bring the headband up a skoonch.

    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.
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    LanceNewmanOCCLanceNewmanOCC Posts: 19,999 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @CaptHenway said:
    On the overly, I think you need to rotate the obverse image a few degrees clockwise relative to the reverse image to bring the headband up a skoonch.

    .
    ya. i didn't put forth an A effort into lining up the overlay, in lieu of the amazing fact, no one has mentioned yet!

    <--- look what's behind the mask! - cool link 1/NO ~ 2/NNP ~ 3/NNC ~ 4/CF ~ 5/PG ~ 6/Cert ~ 7/NGC 7a/NGC pop~ 8/NGCF ~ 9/HA archives ~ 10/PM ~ 11/NM ~ 12/ANACS cert ~ 13/ANACS pop - report fakes 1/ACEF ~ report fakes/thefts 1/NCIS - Numi-Classes SS ~ Bass ~ Transcribed Docs NNP - clashed coins - error training - V V mm styles -

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    BustDMsBustDMs Posts: 1,573 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I can’t quite make out whether it is a rotated die clash or an off center die clash.

    Q: When does a collector become a numismatist?



    A: The year they spend more on their library than their coin collection.



    A numismatist is judged more on the content of their library than the content of their cabinet.
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    CaptHenwayCaptHenway Posts: 31,557 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I would say just rotated.

    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.
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    LanceNewmanOCCLanceNewmanOCC Posts: 19,999 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited August 24, 2022 7:16PM

    nevermind. i think i got myself confused with all the overlays.

    <--- look what's behind the mask! - cool link 1/NO ~ 2/NNP ~ 3/NNC ~ 4/CF ~ 5/PG ~ 6/Cert ~ 7/NGC 7a/NGC pop~ 8/NGCF ~ 9/HA archives ~ 10/PM ~ 11/NM ~ 12/ANACS cert ~ 13/ANACS pop - report fakes 1/ACEF ~ report fakes/thefts 1/NCIS - Numi-Classes SS ~ Bass ~ Transcribed Docs NNP - clashed coins - error training - V V mm styles -

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    LanceNewmanOCCLanceNewmanOCC Posts: 19,999 ✭✭✭✭✭

    ok i'm looking at some more overlays and i swear something is amiss here, well on a lot of the overlays i'm looking at.

    if this(ese) coins are coin orientation in the press, not medal, then this is their position in the dies relative to each other. anvil vs hammer. you simply rotate one of the 180 degrees and you get coin alignment. so the bust is facing right when the reverse is up and facing left when the reverse is down which is the position you see when holding the obv facing up as you look at it.


    in order to match the clashing on the 1815 above (not this post) i had to rotate horizontally making the bust face the wrong direction. which isn't is coin alignment still but reversed horizontally. this really messed me up earlier because i never (so i thought) rotate coins horizontally unless there is something weird going on. ie counter-clashing or some type of clashing that happened before the coins went into the presses.

    SO, this is the overlay from the post i made earlier in this thread. so as to have it close to the images above.

    now if i rotate the obv 180 degrees it is facing the wrong direction, to the right, and of course all the legend is backwards.

    like this.

    then rotate it 180 degrees to match the clash.

    so i (some of us) may have been doing overlays incorrectly for a while now. (this may not have been the first time we've been through this) so which is the proper way to do overlays. a. rotate 180 degrees or rotate 180 degrees AND flip horizontally?

    <--- look what's behind the mask! - cool link 1/NO ~ 2/NNP ~ 3/NNC ~ 4/CF ~ 5/PG ~ 6/Cert ~ 7/NGC 7a/NGC pop~ 8/NGCF ~ 9/HA archives ~ 10/PM ~ 11/NM ~ 12/ANACS cert ~ 13/ANACS pop - report fakes 1/ACEF ~ report fakes/thefts 1/NCIS - Numi-Classes SS ~ Bass ~ Transcribed Docs NNP - clashed coins - error training - V V mm styles -

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    LanceNewmanOCCLanceNewmanOCC Posts: 19,999 ✭✭✭✭✭

    would it make a difference if the obv were the anvil vs the hammer? it should, shouldn't it? so long as the dies are just rotated 180 degrees from each other?

    <--- look what's behind the mask! - cool link 1/NO ~ 2/NNP ~ 3/NNC ~ 4/CF ~ 5/PG ~ 6/Cert ~ 7/NGC 7a/NGC pop~ 8/NGCF ~ 9/HA archives ~ 10/PM ~ 11/NM ~ 12/ANACS cert ~ 13/ANACS pop - report fakes 1/ACEF ~ report fakes/thefts 1/NCIS - Numi-Classes SS ~ Bass ~ Transcribed Docs NNP - clashed coins - error training - V V mm styles -

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    lkeigwinlkeigwin Posts: 16,887 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I've studied overlays of my own, looking for a clash explanation. There is no possibility at all that the disturbed area is from clashing.

    Below is the proper orientation for a reverse clash, FWIW.
    Lance.

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    LanceNewmanOCCLanceNewmanOCC Posts: 19,999 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited August 25, 2022 12:03PM

    @lkeigwin said:
    I've studied overlays of my own, looking for a clash explanation. There is no possibility at all that the disturbed area is from clashing.

    Below is the proper orientation for a reverse clash, FWIW.
    Lance.

    .
    imo, these dies were clashed multiple times and also different rotation orientations and perhaps even a die swap between though i'm not focusing on the die swap.

    your clash alignment above is good but for only some of the clashes and i all but guarantee with this much clashing, counter-clashing is inevitable. no wonder this one nearly melted my brain.

    but it doesn't match these set of clashes which also shows a letter(s) to the right of the two leaves.


    .
    .
    .
    edited to add:

    do you remember that thread where they are trying/tried to untangle that manged last digit listed as like a 8/4/6/9. once you get to a certain point, it is nearly impossible to figure out the order of what happened without enough different die states in situations like these. also i didn't mention above, any effacing attempt between clashing events.

    <--- look what's behind the mask! - cool link 1/NO ~ 2/NNP ~ 3/NNC ~ 4/CF ~ 5/PG ~ 6/Cert ~ 7/NGC 7a/NGC pop~ 8/NGCF ~ 9/HA archives ~ 10/PM ~ 11/NM ~ 12/ANACS cert ~ 13/ANACS pop - report fakes 1/ACEF ~ report fakes/thefts 1/NCIS - Numi-Classes SS ~ Bass ~ Transcribed Docs NNP - clashed coins - error training - V V mm styles -

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    lkeigwinlkeigwin Posts: 16,887 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Trust me, Lance...I spent many hours moving very high resolution images around. Position, rotation. It is not clashing. Doesn't resemble clashing, doesn't match clashed devices. Not even a small chance.

    It is die deterioration. Spalling.
    Lance.

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    yosclimberyosclimber Posts: 4,596 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited August 25, 2022 3:30PM


    Here is a labelled comparison of @lkeigwin's 1st and 4th photos.

    I believe feature 1 is a headband clash, as @LanceNewmanOCC stated.

    The others are not obvious clash features, but could be the impact of something else on the high field surface of the die.

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    yosclimberyosclimber Posts: 4,596 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited August 25, 2022 3:33PM

    The spalling example I am most familiar with is the 1838 V-10 half dime.
    On the 1838 V-10, large pieces of the reverse die near MERICA die fell off over time, leaving a progression of at least 10 die states.

    Here is die state e.
    This is the somewhat infamous PR-67 Pittman coin,
    which sold for $129,250 in the 2014-10 Gardner sale.

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    BustDMsBustDMs Posts: 1,573 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @lkeigwin said:
    Trust me, Lance...I spent many hours moving very high resolution images around. Position, rotation. It is not clashing. Doesn't resemble clashing, doesn't match clashed devices. Not even a small chance.

    It is die deterioration. Spalling.
    Lance.

    Lance, I must disagree. The surface of the die as indicated through the surface of the coin in the field does not show the same texture as the half dime. If it was Spalling the field would have a more unfinished look of almost a crystalline feature. The field on the 1815 half is more “textured” than “crystalline”.

    I still believe we are seeing the results of multiple clashing that MAY not be all in the same die alignment. That is why it doesn’t exactly match up with an overlay. I spent hours with an overlay to determine all the series of clashes on the 1812 O107. They rotated and were also misaligned.

    Q: When does a collector become a numismatist?



    A: The year they spend more on their library than their coin collection.



    A numismatist is judged more on the content of their library than the content of their cabinet.
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    lilolmelilolme Posts: 2,462 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I think it looks like a combination of both.

    In this photo one can see the multiple clashes fairly well. Under the eagles left wing / viewer right there are 3 distance clashes (maybe a fourth) and you can see the spacing and rotation of them.

    Under the eagles right wing / viewers left the outer two most vertical lines you can see clash lines that are spaced what appears to be the same amount as those on the opposite side. This appears to be the nose and then turns and is the hair line. The horizontal line below it from the leaves would appear to the LIBERTY band. There appears to be additional clashing in the middle which I didn't try to identify.



    .
    .
    In this picture it appears that the noted clash lines are getting thicker and/or the die is coming apart. Similarly in the middle.



    .
    There are various degrees of this in the coinfacts photos.

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

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    yosclimberyosclimber Posts: 4,596 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited August 25, 2022 5:31PM

    It always helps to find a better example with great photos!
    So I see:
    1. Headband and hair clashes above it on the left side.
    2. The curved LIBERTY headband clash extends from the left side into the shield.
    3. On the right side, curved and pointed clashes, apparently from hair or headband ends right of the main headband.

    So these are all clash features with a combination of various rotations or offsets.
    I don't see a combination of clashing and spalling here.

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    yosclimberyosclimber Posts: 4,596 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited August 25, 2022 6:54PM

    Below are a series of clash overlays for the left side with varying opacity in the obverse upper layer.
    They show what @lilolme described on PCGS Cert #36514301 -
    headband, hair, nose and eye features showing up on the reverse.

    1. Flipped and rotated obverse obverse section

    2. 0% opacity (original reverse, left side)

    3. 10% opacity

    4. 20% opacity

    5. 30% opacity

    6. 40% opacity

    7. 50% opacity

    8. 60% opacity

    Do we see these same features on @lkeigwin's first coin?
    Yes, some of them: 1, 4, 5.
    We also see the eye and big oval hair curl (above B of LIBERTY), which we did not label on the photo below.
    The others may be from a later die state clash.

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    yosclimberyosclimber Posts: 4,596 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited August 25, 2022 9:03PM

    Same display for the right side, although this side is not in dispute:

    1. Flipped and rotated (same 23 degrees) obverse section.
    You can see the reverse wing clash line at the 2 pointed headband elements.

    2. 0% opacity (original reverse, left side)

    3. 40% opacity

    4. 60% opacity

    In case anyone wants to know how to make these using free software,
    here is what I did to make the left side photo overlays on Windows:
    1. Image/Vertical Flip of left side obverse photo in IrvanView.
    1. Edit/Show Paint Dialog/F12 Rotate image in IrfanView.
    For the left side, I could see the nose edge was about vertical, so I drew a line along the nose edge,
    and when I released the mouse, IrvanView rotated the image to make that line vertical.
    2. Open left side reverse cropped photo in GIMP
    3. Open flipped/rotated obverse photo in GIMP, using File/Open as Layers. This makes it the top layer.
    4. The Opacity control is at the top of the Layer window; use up or down control to change opacity to around 50%.
    At 0%, the upper (Obverse) layer is fully transparent, so we only see the reverse.
    At 50% the obverse layer has most of its darker parts visible, so they block those areas of the reverse.
    At 100% opacity, we would only see the obverse, and none of the reverse.
    5. Use Move tool to move the obverse photo layer until the foot of L and nose edge line up with reverse clash marks.

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    LanceNewmanOCCLanceNewmanOCC Posts: 19,999 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited August 25, 2022 7:21PM

    @yosclimber said:

    .
    lovely presentations!

    don't underestimate how much counter-clashing may play a role here and in many other situations. i really cut my teeth a bit on the subject with vams as those can have some pretty hairy situations as well.

    how in the world do we NOT see major die cracks/breaks/chips MORE on this CBH dies? they MUST have had those dies integrity REALLY dialed in as it doesn't appear there were a shortage of any of these clashed dies from 13-15 years and probably others as well.

    if you guys wanna see a REAL eyeball clash, check out this vam:

    http://ec2-13-58-222-16.us-east-2.compute.amazonaws.com/wiki/1891-O_VAM-1A3

    edited to add:

    what would i give for me/us to see some of the dies that led to coins like these. W O W

    <--- look what's behind the mask! - cool link 1/NO ~ 2/NNP ~ 3/NNC ~ 4/CF ~ 5/PG ~ 6/Cert ~ 7/NGC 7a/NGC pop~ 8/NGCF ~ 9/HA archives ~ 10/PM ~ 11/NM ~ 12/ANACS cert ~ 13/ANACS pop - report fakes 1/ACEF ~ report fakes/thefts 1/NCIS - Numi-Classes SS ~ Bass ~ Transcribed Docs NNP - clashed coins - error training - V V mm styles -

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    LanceNewmanOCCLanceNewmanOCC Posts: 19,999 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @lkeigwin said:
    ALERT: OLD THREAD RESSURECTED

    .
    my goodness. i went back through the original posts and i gotta say, just wow. this is the kinda stuff i'm talking about that lies within the archives by the scores and i'm super glad you brought it back up from the dust chasm from whence it laid.

    just look at whom posted to this thread originally!

    if someone wanted to rip open the other cans of worms about die files as we know them and their uses at the mints (or whatever form of a file they used or the comments about the various stones and concave dies. presentations could be made just from short thread like this.

    <--- look what's behind the mask! - cool link 1/NO ~ 2/NNP ~ 3/NNC ~ 4/CF ~ 5/PG ~ 6/Cert ~ 7/NGC 7a/NGC pop~ 8/NGCF ~ 9/HA archives ~ 10/PM ~ 11/NM ~ 12/ANACS cert ~ 13/ANACS pop - report fakes 1/ACEF ~ report fakes/thefts 1/NCIS - Numi-Classes SS ~ Bass ~ Transcribed Docs NNP - clashed coins - error training - V V mm styles -

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    LanceNewmanOCCLanceNewmanOCC Posts: 19,999 ✭✭✭✭✭

    ttt

    <--- look what's behind the mask! - cool link 1/NO ~ 2/NNP ~ 3/NNC ~ 4/CF ~ 5/PG ~ 6/Cert ~ 7/NGC 7a/NGC pop~ 8/NGCF ~ 9/HA archives ~ 10/PM ~ 11/NM ~ 12/ANACS cert ~ 13/ANACS pop - report fakes 1/ACEF ~ report fakes/thefts 1/NCIS - Numi-Classes SS ~ Bass ~ Transcribed Docs NNP - clashed coins - error training - V V mm styles -

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