Long shot - 1878 7/8tf Morgan

This is a tremendous long shot that goes back three decades or so..

Back in the 70's, my brother-in-law and I dabbled as small time coin dealers. We were inexperienced, well read but still very clueless about many things. I'm still clueless about many things, but never mind that.

We often set up at a smallish coin show in Brockton MA. I think it might have been at the Holiday Inn but I trust very little in my memory that far back.

Anyway, I had an 1978 7/8 TF Morgan - maybe XF to AU, I don't remember. It was a coin I got from my bank back in the days when you could actually walk into a bank and ask for silver dollars - sigh :-(

So one day at the show this tallish skinny guy asks to look at the Morgan and spends a long time squinting at it with his glass and finally says "This is a variety I don't recognize".

Not knowing anything about Morgan varieties, I shrugged my shoulders and sold it to him.

Now yes, the thought did cross my mind at the time that it might be valuable. However, I'm cursed with a strong streak of justice and figured that I knew NOTHING about Morgan varieties and this guy plainly had a deep interest and could have just bought the coin without saying a word, so it seemed right to me to let him have it. Still seems right today (feel free to call me an idiot) but curiosity has nagged me all these years: was it a unknown variety at the time?

So, if by some strange twist of fate the person who bought that remembers it, I'd love to know. I realize that the chances of that person happening to read this all these years later is slim to none, but no harm in posting, right?

Comments

  • rickoricko Posts: 61,661 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I would say that it goes beyond a long shot, but sometimes strange things happen..... good luck with your quest, will be watching. Cheers, RickO
  • Yeah, it is a long shot. But maybe the guy is still alive, maybe still collecting, and maybe some other Morgan expert knows somebody who might have been at those shows in the mid 70's..
  • FredWeinbergFredWeinberg Posts: 3,937 ✭✭✭✭✭
    The odds are good that you are describing
    Pete Bishal, the "1878 Nut".

    He was an error coin dealer, but he specialized
    in die varieties of the 1878 Morgan Dollars.

    He was tall, skinny, outgoing, (had a scraggly
    beard most of the time I knew him), and was
    a bit of a 'nut' for coins.

    He passed away about 20 years ago, as I recall.
    Collector & Dealer in Major Mint Error Coins & Currency since the 1960's.Co-Author of Whitman's "100 Greatest U.S. Mint Error Coins", and the Error Coin Encyclopedia, Vols., III & IV.
    Authenticator for Major Mint Errors
    for PCGS. A 42 +-Year PNG Member, and an ICTA Board Member.A full time coin dealer since 1972.
  • messydeskmessydesk Posts: 15,339 ✭✭✭✭✭


    << <i>The odds are good that you are describing Pete Bishal, the "1878 Nut".

    He was an error coin dealer, but he specialized in die varieties of the 1878 Morgan Dollars. He was tall, skinny, outgoing, (had a scraggly beard most of the time I knew him), and was a bit of a 'nut' for coins.

    He passed away about 20 years ago, as I recall. >>


    2003

    This picture was taken in 1980
    image


  • << <i>The odds are good that you are describing
    Pete Bishal, the "1878 Nut".

    He was an error coin dealer, but he specialized
    in die varieties of the 1878 Morgan Dollars.

    He was tall, skinny, outgoing, (had a scraggly
    beard most of the time I knew him), and was
    a bit of a 'nut' for coins.

    He passed away about 20 years ago, as I recall. >>



    That does sound like him. I liked him - if it was him, sorry he has passed.
  • FredWeinbergFredWeinberg Posts: 3,937 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I was off by 8-9 years....

    Pete was a charactor, that's for sure!
    Collector & Dealer in Major Mint Error Coins & Currency since the 1960's.Co-Author of Whitman's "100 Greatest U.S. Mint Error Coins", and the Error Coin Encyclopedia, Vols., III & IV.
    Authenticator for Major Mint Errors
    for PCGS. A 42 +-Year PNG Member, and an ICTA Board Member.A full time coin dealer since 1972.
  • SoCalBigMarkSoCalBigMark Posts: 2,153 ✭✭✭
    Things like this is why this forum rocks, WOW!
  • coindeucecoindeuce Posts: 13,210 ✭✭✭✭


    << <i>I was off by 8-9 years....

    Pete was a charactor, that's for sure! >>



    Pete was a Viet Nam veteran who sustained a major head injury while deployed. He suffered many chronic physiological hardships as a resullt of that, but he did not suffer from lack of desire to enrich himself with knowledge. I miss "DaNutt". image

    "Everything is on its way to somewhere. Everything." - George Malley, Phenomenon
    http://www.americanlegacycoins.com

  • messydeskmessydesk Posts: 15,339 ✭✭✭✭✭


    << <i>Pete was a charactor, that's for sure! >>


    Understatement of the day. He could talk details of 1878 Morgans and Morgan patterns non-stop, all day to anyone who would listen. Once, he tried calling Jeff Oxman to discuss something. Jeff wasn't home, and his son answered the phone. Pete talked to his son for a couple hours even though his son had no idea what he was talking about.

    The picture above was taken at the Hayes museum in Fremont, OH. At the 1980 ANA in Cincinnati, Pete suggested to Leroy Van Allen that they take a short drive to Fremont to go see the first Morgan dollar struck, which was at the Hayes museum. Pete had predicted the VAM 9 die pair correctly without having seen the coin. Leroy agreed to go with him. The short drive was over 3 hours each way, which is enough for a short chat with Pete. The coin and paperwork weren't on exhibit at the time, but the curator was able to find it and another specimen for them to examine up close. Pete is shown holding the coin, its case, and letter to President Hayes from Oliver Bosbyshell certifying it as first struck.
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