James V. Dexter proven innocent on 1804 $1 defacement...

As "D" is for William Forrester Dunham!

The Dexter Specimen of the 1804 Silver Dollar

I've always read that Denver banker James V. Dexter bought his 1804 $1 in 1885 then promptly counter stamped a "D" in the clouds above the eagle's head on the coin's reverse.

Below is a 1837 Low-111 / HT-240 hard times token which just came to market that was formally part of the same June 3rd 1941 Max B. Mehl sale of William Forrester Dunham collection as the famed 1804 Dexter specimen. What appealed to me at first was the mint red as this variety unlike it's sibling the Low-110 Centre Market is never seen with even trace red. I did instantly notice the oil paint cataloging number in the field but even with 20/20 vision the counter stamp just looked like a striking flaw. Upon glancing at it with a 5x loupe the tiny D jumped right out which made me smile. Although I'm not fond of Trade $1's that have been counter stamped by some unknown Chinese merchant with a hammer and punch on a anvil I am of this token based on it's numismatic history. So now that we know that "D" is for William Forrester Dunham, I would wager that if he also counter struck his tokens that other coins in the Mehl sale have a miniscule D that was not mentioned in the descriptions.

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Mehl's Description: Lot# 2677 - L. No. 111 Centre Market, N.Y., Uncirculated with nearly full mint red.

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To Err Is Human.... To Collect Err's Is Just Too Much Darn Tootin Fun!

Comments

  • That's VERY cool. Now to get people to start calling the dollar the Dunham example instead of the Dexter.
  • Are there other coins from this sale that can be checked?

    if so, do we know who has them?
    Morgan Everyman Set
    Member, Society of Silver Dollar Collectors.
    Looking for PCGS AU58+ 1901-P, 1896-O, & 1894-O
  • BroadstruckBroadstruck Posts: 27,445 ✭✭✭


    << <i>Are there other coins from this sale that can be checked?

    if so, do we know who has them? >>



    Yes there were plenty of other lower grade tokens formally from the Dunham collection that had the same D counterstrike. These all belonged to collector Donald Miller who's collection was sold to Steven Tannenbaum then resold David Bowers. As I recall Miller actually had 2-3 sets as one went to a Long Island collector after John Ford took what he wanted and another to Charles Litman in Pittsburgh Pa. Although I didn't ask these may have been from the Tannenbaum estate, which would be easy to prove once I have a chance to match Steve's penmanship on the old cardboard flip.
    To Err Is Human.... To Collect Err's Is Just Too Much Darn Tootin Fun!
  • QuarternutQuarternut Posts: 1,478 ✭✭✭
    I don't think I would throw out Dexter as the culprit just yet...

    There is one more famous coin that has the same small D counterstamp in the center of Liberty's cap...on one of the "essay" 1827 B-2 bust quarters.
    This coin was never in Dunham's collection, but the 1804 $ was in both collections.

    Here is an excerpt from my book on bust quarters that was written by Karl Moulton (firstmint):




    << <i>Another rather interesting discovery made by the author in 1999 is the counter-stamp of the letter D on the obverse (in the cap above ER in LIBERTY) on one of the Essay 1827 over-date quarters.
    This coin belonged to James V. Dexter, who had apparently counter-stamped the letter D on a cloud on his other most prized coin - an 1804 Dollar.
    This small letter could easily identify them as belonging to him in case they were ever stolen.
    This obverse counter-stamp on the 1827/3/2 Essay went completely unnoticed for over a century.

    John J. Ford Jr., had suggested the “D” found on the counter-stamped 1804 Dollar may be associated with W.F. Dunham, based on a similar looking D found on a few inexpensive Hard Times Tokens.
    The main problem with this theory is that Dunham never owned an 1827/3/2 quarter; at least none were listed in the catalogue of his collection when Max Mehl offered it in June 1941.
    However, Dunham did own the D counter-stamped 1804 Dollar after James Dexter. As of this writing, nothing has been scientifically conducted regarding these particular counter-stamps.
    Until proper research is done, we are left with only speculation. Since Dexter was highly suspicious and quite paranoid, it is my belief that it was Dexter who counter-stamped his last
    initial on his two most expensive coins.
    He died in 1899.

    When this coin later appeared in B. Max Mehl's 1947 Will Neil sale, a stock photograph was used with no mention of the coin being over-struck or counter-stamped.
    This piece is traceable only by the lot description. It then appeared in Stack's 1975 James Stack sale, where it was properly described as being over-struck.
    Paramount International Coin Co. purchased the coin and eventually sold it to Dan Drykerman. Later, it appeared in Bowers and Merena's 1992 Somerset sale,
    Lot #1173, where it is plated with an enlarged photo.

    Other than the photo included with this text, this is the best place to see the D in the cap and underlying design of the Heraldic Eagle planchet. >>




    Here is a picture of the quarter in question:

    image
    image

    QN

    Go to Early United States Coins - to order the New "Early United States Half Dollar Vol. 1 / 1794-1807" book or the 1st new Bust Quarter book!

  • affordafford Posts: 468 ✭✭✭

    Bringing back a great thread by Broadstruck related to the counterstamped 1804 restive that TDN just bought for $5M or so.

  • ZoinsZoins Posts: 13,773 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited April 8, 2017 7:55PM

    @Broadstruck said:

    @Nickcap said:
    Are there other coins from this sale that can be checked?

    if so, do we know who has them?

    Yes there were plenty of other lower grade tokens formally from the Dunham collection that had the same D counterstrike. These all belonged to collector Donald Miller who's collection was sold to Steven Tannenbaum then resold David Bowers. As I recall Miller actually had 2-3 sets as one went to a Long Island collector after John Ford took what he wanted and another to Charles Litman in Pittsburgh Pa. Although I didn't ask these may have been from the Tannenbaum estate, which would be easy to prove once I have a chance to match Steve's penmanship on the old cardboard flip.

    Could "D" have stood for Donald Miller or David Bowers? ;)

  • affordafford Posts: 468 ✭✭✭

    @Zoins said:

    @Broadstruck said:
    << Are there other coins from this sale that can be checked?

    if so, do we know who has them? >>

    Yes there were plenty of other lower grade tokens formally from the Dunham collection that had the same D counterstrike. These all belonged to collector Donald Miller who's collection was sold to Steven Tannenbaum then resold David Bowers. As I recall Miller actually had 2-3 sets as one went to a Long Island collector after John Ford took what he wanted and another to Charles Litman in Pittsburgh Pa. Although I didn't ask these may have been from the Tannenbaum estate, which would be easy to prove once I have a chance to match Steve's penmanship on the old cardboard flip.

    Could "D" have stood for Donald Miller or David Bowers? ;)

    LOL, the counterfeit " D" in the 1837 HT-24- Token matches the counterstamped ""D" in the 1804 restrike dollar, so they were both done by Dunham, however the counterstamped "D" on the 1827 Half dollar is not a match and should not be considered a Dunham counterstamp.

  • rickoricko Posts: 48,934 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Nice bit of history.... Somehow missed this the first time around (was consulting in WA state). Cheers, RickO

  • 1630Boston1630Boston Posts: 2,099 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Very interesting history, thanks :smile:

    Successful transactions with : MICHAELDIXON, Manorcourtman, Bochiman, bolivarshagnasty, AUandAG

    Bad transactions with : nobody to date

  • affordafford Posts: 468 ✭✭✭
    edited April 21, 2017 6:49PM

    @Zoins said:

    @Broadstruck said:

    @Nickcap said:
    Are there other coins from this sale that can be checked?

    if so, do we know who has them?

    Yes there were plenty of other lower grade tokens formally from the Dunham collection that had the same D counterstrike. These all belonged to collector Donald Miller who's collection was sold to Steven Tannenbaum then resold David Bowers. As I recall Miller actually had 2-3 sets as one went to a Long Island collector after John Ford took what he wanted and another to Charles Litman in Pittsburgh Pa. Although I didn't ask these may have been from the Tannenbaum estate, which would be easy to prove once I have a chance to match Steve's penmanship on the old cardboard flip.

    Could "D" have stood for Donald Miller or David Bowers? ;)

    BTW Donald Miller happened to have purchased a number of Dunham coins, and somehad the tiny counterstamped " D".
    Edited to add: Broadstruck already mentioned this fact.

  • BroadstruckBroadstruck Posts: 27,445 ✭✭✭

    Just seeing this thread come back to life...

    @Zoins I own many tokens formally Donald Miller & David Bowers collections none are counter stamped.

    Dunham counter struck his coins as Dexter having done so is purely hearsay.

    To Err Is Human.... To Collect Err's Is Just Too Much Darn Tootin Fun!
  • joebb21joebb21 Posts: 4,036 ✭✭✭

    @afford said:
    Bringing back a great thread by Broadstruck related to the counterstamped 1804 restive that TDN just bought for $5M or so.

    I think the purchase price was much lower than that...

    may the fonz be with you...always...
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