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Walter Breen Letter with 1846/46 quarter

TPRCTPRC Posts: 2,964 ✭✭✭✭
I bought this piece last year because it is an interesting piece of history in that it came in a custom Lucite holder with a Breen authentication letter from 1988. I am told that Breen did this with some frequency and often for the price of a lunch. The quarter, I believe, was considered quite scarce back then, but is now quite common. It is a very early die state, and is semi-PL, though that doesn't show on the pics. I thought they were a bit tough on the grade at 53 (I thought it would 55 or 58) but it does have a fair amount of handling marks, exacerbated by the PL finish and some obverse hairlines, so I'm happy it graded. I did ask PCGS if they could authenticate it with the letter but they said they could not. I'm also told that the letter is unusual in that Breen signed in purple or some other color but not normally in red.
In any event, I think it is modestly cool, even considering Breen's history.
I hope the letter is readable.

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Tom

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Comments

  • ebaybuyerebaybuyer Posts: 2,982 ✭✭
    I wouldn't want anything that he ever touched, pedophiles have no place in society, but theres always room in the ground
    regardless of how many posts I have, I don't consider myself an "expert" at anything
  • roadrunnerroadrunner Posts: 28,235 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I can see the semi-pl in the pics and maybe that's why the last owner graded it 53. I'd agree with the 55/58 grade with 58 details. Nice specimen.
    Barbarous Relic No More, LSCC -GoldSeek--shadow stats--SafeHaven--321gold
  • CaptHenwayCaptHenway Posts: 29,369 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Nice coin.
    Winner of the ANA's 2020 Heath Literary Award, Wayte and Olga Raymond Literary Award, and Lifetime Achievement Award. Winner NLG 2020 Best Numismatic Feature Article, U.S.
  • Wabbit2313Wabbit2313 Posts: 7,268 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Nice coin. I just read about Breen on Wikipedia and what a total pig.
  • mariner67mariner67 Posts: 2,746 ✭✭✭
    Originally posted by: ebaybuyer
    I wouldn't want anything that he ever touched, pedophiles have no place in society, but theres always room in the ground


    Wow, I just read his biography on Wikipedia.....had no idea. Multiple convictions for pedophilia and a drug user!
    Successful trades/buys/sells with gdavis70, adriana, wondercoin, Weiss, nibanny, IrishMike, commoncents05, pf70collector, kyleknap, barefootjuan, coindeuce, WhiteTornado, Nefprollc, ajw, JamesM, PCcoins, slinc, coindudeonebay,beernuts, and many more
  • TPRCTPRC Posts: 2,964 ✭✭✭✭

    Well, it is not possible to justify his conduct. Even more troubling, as I understand it, is that he appeared to believe there was nothing wrong with it.

    To appreciate something like this, you've got to be able to separate his criminal conduct from his numismatic acumen. To some extent, we do it all the time with other offenses with athletes, politicians, etc. However, pedophilia is quite a different level of offense.

    Certainly an odd genius. I suspect he could have made a fortune with his knowledge, but instead wrote these letters for a few dollars, or a hundred dollars, or lunch.

    Tom

  • kevinjkevinj Posts: 945 ✭✭✭
    I did not know Breen was convicted for child molestation in 1954, nor did I know that he was under the employment of his wife for the last 10 years. I always wondered how he made money writing books. Having written 51 books myself, I know its not about the money.

    I spoke to several dealers who said in the 1980s the cost was $300 for a letter from Breen. I have seen some, such as a 1917 Linc that Breen claimed was a matte proof. When I scoped it, it had tooling marks around the inside rim to sharpen it. It was not a matte, and not a proof.....

    In the 1990s, while at a Long Beach show, I was sitting with a dealer and another person, I mentioned Breen, the gentleman's head went down in an angry, disgusted, guilt ridden face. He said it was his son who Breen molested last. That he had Breen over to his house, he did not know of Breen's ways, he ran to a coin show, leaving his son with Breen (believing Breen would mentor him), he told a dealer at the show, who said to get home quickly, and when he got home...... You could tell the guilt in the guys voice and expression. If I was him, Breen would have died right there. Most people are not violent, but when it comes to the protection of their child.......

    Kevin

    PS - real nice coin
    Kevin J Flynn
  • Dave99BDave99B Posts: 7,332 ✭✭✭✭✭
    That is an amazing piece of history. Thanks for sharing.

    Dave
    Always looking for original, better date VF20-VF35 Barber quarters and halves, and a quality beer.
  • AnalystAnalyst Posts: 1,436 ✭✭✭
    1) Officials at PCGS should vaporize this thread. Posts about Breen's sex crimes discourage people from learning about coins and coin collecting. The people who mention the matter now are not accomplishing anything. Of course, pedophiles should be severely punished. Since an article by Charles Morgan was published on CoinWeek last year, almost all those interested are aware of the extent of Breen's misconduct. There is no longer a point in mentioning the matter. Moreover, the matter is unrelated to coins and to Breen's accomplishments. It is illogical and counter-productive to ignore or discredit someone's accomplishments because he engaged in misconduct in other areas of his life.

    2) It has been proven that Martin Luther King, Jr. plagiarized his Ph.D. dissertation. It was not really his at all. Furthermore, there are strong allegations that he plagiarized material for other purposes. Moreover, there is documentation of countless extramarital affairs, some of which were in extremely inappropriate settings. The point here is that all this is not relevant King's accomplishments. More so than anyone else, MLK brought attention to discrimination against black people and influenced changes in laws and attitudes. The focus should be on the importance of MLK's accomplishments, not the wrongdoing in his life. People who are interested in learning about civil rights and U.S. history, regardless of their political or sociological views, should focus on King's role in effecting change and in influencing U.S. history.

    http://www.snopes.com/history/american/mlking.asp

    "Self-Indulgent Examination of Character"

    3) Thomas Edison invented the functioning light bulb and the movie camera, among many other things. There has been considerable debate regarding the ethics, business practices and personal life of Thomas Edison. Some researchers allege that Edison talked children into selling their pets and then publicly electrocuted the pets, to argue that Tesla's alternate vision for electricity was dangerous. It is known that Edison publicly electrocuted an elephant. Moreover, there are endless allegations regarding unethical or even criminal business practices by Edison, ranging from anti-trust violations to mob-type collection practices. My guess is that many of the allegations are exaggerated, without merit or relate to incidents taken out of context. Suppose, hypothetically, that Edison really was cruel and really did commit many felonies. Would some contributors to this thread think that we should not use light bulbs or watch movies?

    http://www.dailyfinance.com/2014/06/13/biggest-*****s-business-history/#!fullscreen&slide=2702608

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Edison

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/alexknapp/2012/05/18/nikola-tesla-wasnt-god-and-thomas-edison-wasnt-the-devil/#78709b681dbd

    http://hermitjim.blogspot.com/2012/06/evil-thomas-edison.html


    "In order to understand the scarce coins that you own or see, you must learn about coins that you cannot afford." -Me
  • SonorandesertratSonorandesertrat Posts: 5,696 ✭✭✭✭✭
    "Posts about Breen's sex crimes discourage people from learning about coins and coin collecting."

    Nonsense. About fifty years ago, I went to my first ANA convention with my grandmother (who was a coin collector). She kept a close eye on me precisely because someone warned her about Breen.

    Breen's life has spiraled out of control to the point that he had difficulty maintaining a job; it is well known that he had difficulties with most of his employers. He did add an element of rigor to numismatic research, especially in the 1950s and early 1960s. His Encyclopedia is an amazing effort as well.

    However, letters like the one shown above, as well as other signed attribution/grading opinions, are of modest historical interest and should not be taken too seriously. They reflect his chronic need for money (especially in the 1980's) more than anything else.
    Member: EAC, NBS, C4, CWTS, ANA

    RMR: 'Wer, wenn ich schriee, hörte mich denn aus der Engel Ordnungen?'

    CJ: 'No one!' [Ain't no angels in the coin biz]
  • epcjimi1epcjimi1 Posts: 3,491 ✭✭✭
    Tough to justify Breen; regardless of his numismatic excellence, the pedophilia, eh, I'm out. MHO
  • AnalystAnalyst Posts: 1,436 ✭✭✭

    Now, it is counter-productive to focus on Breen's crimes. I realize, of course, that it would have made sense to warn people, including law-enforcement authorities, while Breen was alive. One of Charles' points in his article on CoinWeek may have been that coin people who were familiar with Breen's terrible behavior did nothing about it while Breen was active. The situation is different now, as Breen has been dead for more than twenty years.

    DesertRat: "He did add an element of rigor to numismatic research, especially in the 1950s and early 1960s. His Encyclopedia is an amazing effort as well."

    I assume that DesertRat is referring to Breen's Encyclopedia of 1988. His Proof Coin Encyclopedia, 1977, should be mentioned as well. I think that DesertRat ignored my point. Now, there are no other general encyclopedias of U.S. and colonial coins, and there is no other book on Proof coins. These books remain important, as do many of the articles that Breen wrote in the 1950s and 1960s. Indeed, the encyclopedias are monopolies in a sense. There are not current alternatives. So, talking about Breen's sexual misconduct discourages people from reading those works and learning about coins, and becoming involved in the hobby. Such talk reduces enthusiasm to say the least. I am puzzled as to why SonoranDesertRat is disagreeing.

    epcjimi1: "Tough to justify Breen; regardless of his numismatic excellence, the pedophilia, eh, I'm out. MHO"

    Obviously, I was NOT justifying Breen as a person. I was saying that it is educational to read much of the material that he wrote about coins. I am also saying that it is harmful to the hobby now to keep talking about his sex crimes. I hope that EPC reads my post above. Suppose, hypothetically, that Thomas Edison committed many felonies, would EPC then not use light bulbs and refrain from watching movies?

    It is often alleged that Thomas Jefferson engaged in sexual misconduct. Suppose, hypothetically, that all such allegations were true, would EPC then say that all of Thomas Jefferson's writings and achievements should be ignored to discredited?


    "In order to understand the scarce coins that you own or see, you must learn about coins that you cannot afford." -Me
  • kevinjkevinj Posts: 945 ✭✭✭
    Greg,

    If you consider these Breen "authentication" letters, which have been proven in many cases wrong, then you consider his Encyclopedia and also his proof book, which has proven to be wrong on many subjects.
    Yeah he covered a lot, but he used as a basis invalid assumptions and hearsay, and stated opinions as facts, and IMO he believed he was beyond reproach, these elements are also important to consider when reflecting
    what he contributed to the hobby.

    Kevin
    Kevin J Flynn
  • DavideoDavideo Posts: 1,317 ✭✭✭✭
    Analyst, I understand your point that many who accomplished great things in history did unsavory things. However, affairs and plagiarism is different than molesting children. Also, I don't think it serves the interest of the coin community to be hush-hush about his actions. There is a lot of discussion about Thomas Jefferson's likely sexual misconduct and individuals can can decide if that impacts their view on him. To suppress discussion of Jefferson's character or unsavory actions would not be right.

    Whether someone wants to read Breen's books or not based on his actions is their personal decision. There is a lot of other information and resources out there. Personally, I would be disgusted if I read his books and viewed him as a pillar in the coin community and then found out the truth.
  • epcjimi1epcjimi1 Posts: 3,491 ✭✭✭

    It is often alleged that Thomas Jefferson engaged in sexual misconduct. Suppose, hypothetically, that all such allegations were true, would EPC then say that all of Thomas Jefferson's writings and achievements should be ignored to discredited?


    From convicted Breen to your proposed hypothetical question / possibly true allegations of Jefferson makes my head hurt.

    I get it. Breens numismatics should be separated from all the other stuff.

    Especially after reading other posts in this thread about Breen. /sarc

    I'm sympathetic to those who posted.

    BTW, OP, nice coin, best of luck with your letter.
  • Wabbit2313Wabbit2313 Posts: 7,268 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Molesting Young Boys. This guy was one sick puppy and I can't see past that. Sorry. I wonder why so many of these predators go after boys? Actually, no I don't, I don't want to know.
  • lcoopielcoopie Posts: 8,563 ✭✭✭✭
    nice coin
    LCoopie = Les
  • hammer1hammer1 Posts: 3,117 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Originally posted by: Analyst

    1) Officials at PCGS should vaporize this thread. Posts about Breen's sex crimes discourage people from learning about coins and coin collecting. The people who mention the matter now are not accomplishing anything. Of course, pedophiles should be severely punished. Since an article by Charles Morgan was published on CoinWeek last year, almost all those interested are aware of the extent of Breen's misconduct. There is no longer a point in mentioning the matter. Moreover, the matter is unrelated to coins and to Breen's accomplishments. It is illogical and counter-productive to ignore or discredit someone's accomplishments because he engaged in misconduct in other areas of his life.



    2) It has been proven that Martin Luther King, Jr. plagiarized his Ph.D. dissertation. It was not really his at all. Furthermore, there are strong allegations that he plagiarized material for other purposes. Moreover, there is documentation of countless extramarital affairs, some of which were in extremely inappropriate settings. The point here is that all this is not relevant King's accomplishments. More so than anyone else, MLK brought attention to discrimination against black people and influenced changes in laws and attitudes. The focus should be on the importance of MLK's accomplishments, not the wrongdoing in his life. People who are interested in learning about civil rights and U.S. history, regardless of their political or sociological views, should focus on King's role in effecting change and in influencing U.S. history.



    http://www.snopes.com/history/american/mlking.asp



    https://www.washingtonpost.com...734c461eab6_story.html">"Self-Indulgent Examination of Character"



    3) Thomas Edison invented the functioning light bulb and the movie camera, among many other things. There has been considerable debate regarding the ethics, business practices and personal life of Thomas Edison. Some researchers allege that Edison talked children into selling their pets and then publicly electrocuted the pets, to argue that Tesla's alternate vision for electricity was dangerous. It is known that Edison publicly electrocuted an elephant. Moreover, there are endless allegations regarding unethical or even criminal business practices by Edison, ranging from anti-trust violations to mob-type collection practices. My guess is that many of the allegations are exaggerated, without merit or relate to incidents taken out of context. Suppose, hypothetically, that Edison really was cruel and really did commit many felonies. Would some contributors to this thread think that we should not use light bulbs or watch movies?



    http://www.dailyfinance.com/2014/06/13/biggest-*****s-business-history/#!fullscreen&slide=2702608



    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Edison



    http://www.forbes.com/sites/al...he-devil/#78709b681dbd



    http://hermitjim.blogspot.com/...vil-thomas-edison.html









    Wrong.



    The total sum of the person is always relevant.



    That you want not to discuss the hideous things done by this man, so that coin collecting is advanced, speaks volumes about you.
  • DIMEMANDIMEMAN Posts: 22,403 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Very neat coin and variety.
  • kevinjkevinj Posts: 945 ✭✭✭
    The other consideration in stating that Breen was a child molestor is the importance of not permitting such to happen to any child by following the rules and guidelines of safety, such as no adult should be one on one with a child that is not there own, background checks for those adults who are assigned or volunteer to help kids.

    It is the same type of reasoning of stating that Dr. Sheldon switched out ANS coins for his own over many years, and in his estate sale had these coins. The ANS now has strict guidelines for photographing all coins that are viewed, but when they leave the vault and when the come back, plus there is a person from the ANS who sits with you.

    I question if people knew about it, why did they not do anything about it. Almost sounds like the Catholic Church, which knew some priests were pedophiles, but just moved them around to different parishes, rather than removing them.

    If the information from the first conviction was published so everyone knew, I doubt the second incident would have happened. If the individual whose son was molested knew of what Breen was, IMO, he would not have had him in his house or left him with his son.

    Its sad, but sometimes we learn the hard way from individuals who take advantage.

    Kevin
    Kevin J Flynn
  • bronco2078bronco2078 Posts: 9,508 ✭✭✭✭✭



    I always liked to read fiction that his wife wrote . I never knew that she was married to him or that the two were linked in any way actually until recently .

    She passed away a while back and some things started to come out about her that weren't too flattering either. Supposedly she was enabling his pedophilia the whole time.

    It seems like a lot of people knew about what he was doing and didn't do anything for many years.



  • AnalystAnalyst Posts: 1,436 ✭✭✭
    Davideo: " Also, I don't think it serves the interest of the coin community to be hush-hush about his actions."

    Davideo mis-interpreted my posts. I did not say that we should all be quiet. I said, 'Now, it is counter-productive to focus on Breen's crimes.' In a forum about psychology or criminal justice, it might be appropriate to focus on his sex crimes. In a forum about coins and coin collecting, the focus should be on numismatic topics. Read Don Willis' rules.

    Hammer1: "That you want not to discuss the hideous things done by this man, so that coin collecting is advanced, speaks volumes about you."

    This is a slanderous remark, to say the least, and is ridiculous. Repeated mentions of Breen's sex crimes on this forum are not helping anyone and are harming coin collecting.

    I am not trying to cover up anything. Breen was thoroughly exposed in an article that Charles Morgan wrote last year. People who wish to know about Breen's crimes and terrible attitude can and should read Charles' article, which will remain posted for a long time. Information about Breen's crimes is readily available. It is counter-productive to keep mentioning Breen's pedophilia over and over again in this forum. We should be able to discuss some of Breen's research and viewpoints regarding coins without the subject being oddly mentioned by those members of this forum who seem pre-occupied with Breen's wrongdoing.

    DesertRat: However, letters like the one shown above, as well as other signed attribution/grading opinions, are of modest historical interest and should not be taken too seriously. They reflect his chronic need for money (especially in the 1980's) more than anything else.

    Yes, later in his life, Breen was in desperate need of money. It is also true that there are many fake letters, ones that Breen did not write. Some of the letters in which Breen purportedly authenticates Proof coins, in particular, are forgeries.



    "In order to understand the scarce coins that you own or see, you must learn about coins that you cannot afford." -Me
  • DavideoDavideo Posts: 1,317 ✭✭✭✭
    Originally posted by: Analyst
    1) ... Since an article by Charles Morgan was published on CoinWeek last year, almost all those interested are aware of the extent of Breen's misconduct. There is no longer a point in mentioning the matter. ...
    (emphasis added)

    Not wanting to mention it is in my view, wanting it to be hush-hush.


  • MarkMark Posts: 3,426 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Analyst:



    One of my pleasures of coin collecting is learning about the history of numismatics and famous numismatists. For example, I purchased and read the fabulous book about Ford and the Franklin Hoard, as well QDB's books about the Norwebs and other collectors. I already knew about Breen's unsavory past history but others did not. Perhaps, they, too enjoy learning about past numismatists. I see no reason that discussions related to numismatics and numismatists should be censored. And now, I thank you because I am off to read the article you linked. Given I like reading abut past numismatists, I expect it to be interesting, though simultaneously and very deeply horrifying.
    Mark


  • AnalystAnalyst Posts: 1,436 ✭✭✭
    Davideo: "Not wanting to mention it is in my view, wanting it to be hush-hush."

    It is apparent from my posts to this thread that the above post by Davideo is unfair and misleading

    I am not trying to cover up anything. Breen was thoroughly exposed in an article that Charles Morgan wrote last year. People who wish to know about Breen's crimes and terrible attitude can and should read Charles' article, which will remain posted for a long time. Information about Breen's crimes is readily available. It is counter-productive to keep mentioning Breen's pedophilia over and over again in this forum. We should be able to discuss some of Breen's research and viewpoints regarding coins without the subject being oddly mentioned by those members of this forum who seem pre-occupied with Breen's wrongdoing.

    Read Don Willis's rules. This is a forum about coins and coin collecting. We should be having fun, not talkng about sex crimes.

    Mark: " And now, I thank you because I am off to read the article you linked. Given I like reading abut past numismatists, I expect it to be interesting, though simultaneously and very deeply horrifying."

    I am glad that you like Charles' article. He put a lot of time and effort into it. I, too, was shocked. Breen's misconduct and attitude were much worse than I had thought them to be before I read Charles' article, which people may click here to read.

    Mark: "I see no reason that discussions related to numismatics and numismatists should be censored"

    Don Willis has made it clear that there is censorship and that Don is a censor.

    Discussions on this forum are to about U.S. coins and coin collecting. In a thread about an 1846 quarter, it is inappropriate and counter-productive to mention Breen's sex crimes, which have nothing to do with an 1846 quarter.

    Davideo: "Whether someone wants to read Breen's books or not based on his actions is their personal decision. There is a lot of other information and resources out there."

    This would be a good point if it was true. The reality is that Breen wrote the only good comprehensive encyclopedia about U.S. and American Colonial coins. Until someone writes one in the same league, it is the only such encyclopedia for people to read. This is especially true of his book on Proof coins. Despite its faults, his book on Proof coins, which was published in 1977, is an excellent book and there are not equivalent sources, in one volume yet.

    Of course, Breen deserved to be severely punished and he should have been imprisoned earlier in his life. Even so, we should be able to have discussions in this forum about Breen's research and writing, especially about specific topics, without anyone mentioning his sex crimes.

    If I started at thread in history forum about Thomas Jefferson's accomplishments as president, or a thread in a philosophy forum about Jefferson's political views, it would be inappropriate and counter-productive for other participants to keep mentioning sexual misconduct.


    "In order to understand the scarce coins that you own or see, you must learn about coins that you cannot afford." -Me
  • kevinjkevinj Posts: 945 ✭✭✭
    The discussion started with a coin and a letter from Breen, and progressed to the credibility of Breen, that was the subject matter of this discussion.

    When discussing credibility of someone, it is important to understand who the person was, were they are reliable resource, was the information credible.
    The fact that Breen was a criminal is relevant to this discussion, and anyone considering this subject.
    The fact that I have talked to countless witnesses who stated Breen would state anything for a price is relevant on credibility
    The fact that the article you mentioned and other articles, such as Wikipedia show that Breen had lied about many of the statements about himself, his history, schooling and other things is relevant.
    The fact that many of his assertions in his Encyclopedia and Proof book have proven to be false, is extremely relevant to anyone in coins referencing his books
    So its not just that he was a destroyed the lives of families through his actions, it was that Breen was not credible in many of his numismatic works.

    All of these factors are important in determining his credibility.

    IMO, if you want to censor Breen, censor every mention about him. IMO it is wrong to only mention one side of a person, especially when there are severe credibility issues for that person. This is also an important lesson to let your child be one-on-one with another adult.

    IMO we treat Breen the same way we treat Sheldon, he did a lot of work in coins, but as he switched his coins with the ANS, IMO he was a thief. This is an important consideration when understand who he was and his credibility. It is also an important lesson when sending your coins to anyone, leaving them with someone, that you document your coins, and also photograph them.

    I get the impression you are attempting to protect Breen's reputation, and somehow that translates to protecting Breen?
    I understand that you use and reference Breen in many of your articles, herein and otherwise. For example, you referenced him in your discussion of the 1894-S dime.
    Do you believe that if people have a bad impression of Breen, that will hurt the credibility of your articles and use and reference of Breen's works?

    I believe people will read everything, and figure it out for themselves, but it does not mean we should hide that which affects someones credibility, and that which is a clear lesson, which we cannot let be repeated.

    Kevin
    Kevin J Flynn
  • hammer1hammer1 Posts: 3,117 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Originally posted by: Analyst

    . Besides, is it really normal for Hammer1 and others on this forum to want to continually talk about pedophilia, and to feel compelled to mention the topic every time Breen's name is mentioned in a numismatic context?









    This is libel. I have never mentioned pedophilia.



    I strongly suggest you apologize and retract this untrue statement.
  • hchcoinhchcoin Posts: 4,723 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I have rarely heard anyone talk or write about Richard Nixon, Pete Rose, Darryl Strawberry, Mark Chmura or Tonya Harding without discussing their transgressions as well.
  • AnalystAnalyst Posts: 1,436 ✭✭✭
    Hammer1, I edited the post in question. Please edit your posts to this thread regarding me, and we can try to communicate more effectively in the future.

    RealOne: "Encyclopedia of US & Colonial Proof Coins" if these two aren't proofs then how can you trust anything he wrote in the book. "

    If a TPG mistakenly grades two doctored coins, it would not make sense to then avoid all coins graded by that TPG. In the provision of any complex good or service, there will be an error rate.

    While knowledge of Proof coins has advanced since Breen wrote that book, it is important to read the worthwhile material in the book, until better material is written. If better encyclopedias are written, which cover most all of the same subject matter, then Breen's encyclopedias should then be forgotten.

    Kevin: "The fact that Breen was a criminal is relevant to this discussion, and anyone considering this subject."

    Obviously, I was NOT justifying Breen as a person. I was saying that it is educational to read much, not all, of the material that he wrote about coins. I am also saying that it is harmful to the hobby now to keep talking about his sex crimes. I hope that Kevin reads my posts above.

    Suppose, hypothetically, that Thomas Edison committed many felonies, as is believed by some competent historians, would Kevin then not use light bulbs and refrain from watching movies? Should scientists and engineers then stop relying upon Edison's inventions for further research and new applications?

    It is often alleged that Thomas Jefferson engaged in sexual misconduct. Suppose, hypothetically, that all such allegations were true, would Kevin then say that all of Thomas Jefferson's writings and achievements should be ignored or discredited? Would RealOne favor torchIng the papers of Thomas Jefferson in the Library of Congress?

    Kevin: "I get the impression you are attempting to protect Breen's reputation, and somehow that translates to protecting Breen?"

    This is false and ridiculous. I have made it clear in this thread that I am not protecting Breen. Now, for a third time, I am drawing attention to the article that Charles Morgan wrote last year. People who wish to know about Breen's crimes and terrible attitude can and should read Charles' article. Hubert Walker is a co-author.

    It is counter-productive to keep mentioning Breen's pedophilia over and over again in this forum. We should be able to discuss some of Breen's research and viewpoints regarding coins without the subject being oddly mentioned by those members of this forum who seem pre-occupied with Breen's wrongdoing.

    Coin collecting should be fun. This forum should be educational and fun.

    Kevin: "I understand that you use and reference Breen in many of your articles, herein and otherwise."

    Your understanding is wrong. I mention Breen in an article once in a while, probably zero times since Charles' article was published.

    Kevin: "For example, you referenced him in your discussion of the 1894-S dime."

    An accurate point by Breen was very much pertinent to a point raised in that discussion. Also, despite its faults, his book on Proof coins, which was published in 1977, is an excellent book and there are not equivalent sources, in one volume yet.

    RealOne's points about specific coins are a bit silly. Obviously, it would make more sense to buy coins that are PCGS certified as Proofs than raw coins that Breen cited as Proofs. Moreover, Breen states in the book that Breen did not actually see a lot of the coins that are specifically mentioned. It is a book that should be read carefully with caution, and a collector who spends substantial sums on Proof coins should consult a living expert. There is no substitute for the advice of an honest and reasonably competent expert.

    Kevin: "Do you believe that if people have a bad impression of Breen, that will hurt the credibility of your articles and use and reference of Breen's works?"

    The answer is no and this question is insulting. I mention Breen once in a while, not often, and Breen did contribute to numismatic knowledge. I do not rely upon Breen at all. I form my own theories and I analyze coins in my own way. I have learned a lot since my first contribution to Numismatic News newspaper more than 20 years ago.

    I just did a search for "Breen" in the auction archives of the new Stack's Bowers web site, which may thoroughly cover just a few years of auctions. There were 1507 hits, most of which in reference to die varieties or die states. A search for "Breen" in the Heritage archives brought 18,690 hits, many of which include Breen's name in the title to an auction lot.

    I hope that a majority of the contributors to this thread do not figure that sex crimes should be mentioned in auction catalogues in every instance that Breen's name is mentioned. After all, on this forum, whenever Breen is cited, there are usually multiple posts relating to his terrible behavior in his personal life. The point has been made ad nauseam. It is time to focus on coins and collecting.

    Rare Gold Coins under $5000 each, Part 9: ‘No Motto’ Liberty Head ($5 Gold) Half Eagles

    "In order to understand the scarce coins that you own or see, you must learn about coins that you cannot afford." -Me
  • CoinZipCoinZip Posts: 3,253 ✭✭✭
    It's easy to look back and point out things that are incorrect.



    When the books were originally written there was very little research published to dispute Breen's numismatic work.

    Coin Club Benefit auctions ..... View the Lots

  • kevinjkevinj Posts: 945 ✭✭✭
    Originally posted by: Realone
    If you go search the Eliasberg Collection Catalog May 1996 and check the capped bust half dimes section you will see many headings for "Breen Proofs" which most of the time mean Bowers and Borckhardt believed Breen was wrong about calling all these capped bust half dime proofs. It isn't just my two examples and is a list that is very long, much longer than you think. And when you visit the Trade Dollar section he discusses rare and extremely rare coins and many of those are neither. And these are just the coins that I collect and the percentages of his errors are amazingly high. Now I wonder what will happen when you start researching ALL types what will the results be.
    My contention is that Breen is so far off the mark he is a black mark against the hobby based on his numismatic writings alone, and i am not including his personal life's crimes here. I am not saying to not read his books at all, in fact I have most of them. But I am aware after reading them and researching his content and trying acquire as many of his coins as I can that he is profoundly mistaken in a great majority of his research/writings and have proven himself inept imho. So maybe we should recognize that his selfish motivations led him down a path of influencing almost everything he wrote to be a bunch of lies and incorrect conjectures. And one only will realize this if they read his works which are apparently are lean on facts/content and big on appearance/form.
    He should not be respected for the depth and breadth of his research especially when his mistakes seem to outnumber his correctness imho based on percentages that I have reviewed regarding the coins that I collect. Yes his encyclopedias look and sound impressive but they are far from the encyclopedias we expect to read. He borrowed the word loosely when he named his books to most likely give them a false sense of grandeur and credibility. They are as far from encyclopedias as one can imagine.


    Alan,

    Great points and I liked your previous analysis regarding the psychoanalysis and parallelism of works, each aspect reflects us and usually runs in parallel.
    Your point here about the proofs being claimed to be proofs and many other aspects of his research being in correct or made up... For example, in 1982, the Red Book blindly adopted many of Breen proof mintage counts. Many of these have been corrected by myself and a few others who have provided Bressett and other archive research to validate the correct coins.

    Kevin
    Kevin J Flynn
  • kevinjkevinj Posts: 945 ✭✭✭
    Greg,

    You state
    "The answer is no and this question is insulting. I mention Breen once in a while, not often, and Breen did contribute to numismatic knowledge. I do not rely upon Breen at all. I form my own theories and I analyze coins in my own way. I have learned a lot since my first contribution to Numismatic News newspaper more than 20 years ago. "

    I have read many of your articles over the years and found you have quoted Breen many times.

    You say you do not quote Breen much lately, lets look at our recent 1894-S dime discussion

    KevinJ: " Five of them were officially assayed by the SF and Phila Mints."
    Breen: "Proof coins were also occasionally given out in lieu of regular business strikes when the latter were unavailable."
    http://www.pcgs.com/books/breen-proofs/Chapter02-001.aspx

    You made this statement, quoting Breen as your supporting argument, and not based upon your knowledge or research.
    In addition, the generalized quote of Breen is incorrect and not reflective of how the Mint worked

    Kevin
    Kevin J Flynn
  • silverpopsilverpop Posts: 5,618 ✭✭✭✭✭
    people



    history is filled with horror, hate, misdeeds and such but to learn about the people who made history we have to understand their dark secrets to get a better idea of the person



    nice coin by the way
  • Insider2Insider2 Posts: 14,457 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I was "in coins" during the later part of Breen's career. Everybody knew his history and joked about his non-manners. No one joked about the other side of him. He was a flower-child on one side and a devil on the other. His contribution to numismatics is unquestioned. Some of his actions may even have been shady.



    Today, the "new" experts find errors in his research and condemn his sins. However, when he was at a show, the guy didn't get a break. There were groups of professionals surrounding him at a bourse table or the middle of the floor holding out for his opinion on this and that coin. On many occasions, I was one of them!



    Let's stick to coins...and to the member who would not touch one of his letters...GOOD! More for the rest of us and the price will be cheaper.



    Nice coin. When auctioned with that letter you should be VERY PLEASED with the result.
  • Wabbit2313Wabbit2313 Posts: 7,268 ✭✭✭✭✭

    So the coin is nothing rare like he says in his letter? PCGS says it's worth 200 bucks!?


    PS: My attention span is far to short to read these full page responses about libel, slander, etc.

  • AnalystAnalyst Posts: 1,436 ✭✭✭

    Kevin: "I have read many of your articles over the years and found you have quoted Breen many times."

    I have had published more than 500 articles. I would guess is that Breen is mentioned in 8% (eight percent) of them, though this is just a guess. I really never counted. In some cases, Breen is mentioned in passing without being quoted. Only on rare occasions, did I quote him. Others cite Breen far more often than I do. See my remarks about the Pogue III catalogue below

    Please consider again what I said above regarding mentions of Breen in auction catalogues. Last night, I searched for "Breen" in the auction archives of the new Stack's Bowers web site, which may thoroughly cover just a few years of auctions. There were 1507 hits, most of which in reference to die varieties or die states. A search for "Breen" in the Heritage archives brought 18,690 hits, many of which include Breen's name in the title to an auction lot.

    Today, I checked the Goldberg's archives. For a search of "Breen," 5911 auction lots are on the resulting list.

    Kevin: "In addition, the generalized quote of Breen is incorrect and not reflective of how the Mint worked"

    Now, we are being asked to believe that Kevin has a better understanding of "how the Mint worked" than Breen did. I am not so sure. Breen was a full-time researcher of coin related material during the 1950s and for part of the 1960s. He spent countless hours in U.S. Mint archives. He wrote many historical articles for the "Numismatic Scrapbook" magazine.

    Breen did a tremendous amount research for Wayte Raymond, publisher of the "Standard Catalogue." He did a lot of research for Art Kagin as well, who was a pioneer in many fields, including pioneer gold. Breen was later to catalogue much of the landmark Kagin's ANA sale of 1977.

    Breen did most of the research for the first edition of the Judd book on patterns. Kosoff was an influential dealer and Judd was a wealthy collector who probably financed the project.

    Breen wrote detailed books, encyclopedias, devoted to half cents and large cents, respectively. Mark Borckardt certainly thought it was worth his time to edit Breen's manuscript for Breen's book on large cents after Breen's death. This large cent encyclopedia was published by Bowers & Merena and has been republished here on pcgs.com for anyone to read for free.

    RealOne: "It is one thing to be the first to document new varieties, and there are many numismatics noted for that. But even these numismatists realized that being the first to document something doesn't also mean it is automatically rare, they are careful not to jump to that conclusion until they sufficiently review 1000's of coins for a long period of time. ... it would be impossible to be an expert in all types , not enough time in the day to study ALL."

    Breen did review thousands of coins of all U.S. and colonial types, from the 1940s to the day of his last arrest in 1992. He was cataloguing the Trompeter Collection for the Goldbergs, when they owned Superior Galleries. (I was then unaware that Breen had ever been arrested before. I was shocked by all the revelations. I really did not know.) In any event, Breen had far more expertise than RealOne and Kevin are indicating.

    Breen did most of the research for the New Netherlands catalogues of the 1950s, which are universally acknowledged as being path breaking in terms of pedigree, historical and die variety research. His pamphlets on die varieties of gold coins were the standard for a long time, and were acknowledged as being brilliant. JD cites Breen's die variety system and 1988 encyclopedia numbers throughout the Bass-Dannreuther book on early gold coins (Whitman, 2006). JD explicitly quotes Breen as well. Heritage cataloguers often put Breen numbers from the 1988 encyclopedia in the titles to auction lot descriptions. Also, Breen's work on die varieties of Liberty Head gold coins has not been superseded.

    Breen is mentioned in the Pogue catalogues. Indeed, Breen is cited, usually favorably, more than 100 times in the Pogue III catalogue (Stack's-Bowers, 2016). Evidently, JK finds much information in both the Proof coin encyclopedia of 1977 and the comprehensive encyclopedia of 1988 to be worthwhile, important and often educational. JK, the primary cataloguer of the Pogue sales, frequently mentions Breen's opinions and interpretations.

    The Marvelous Pogue Family Coin Collection, part 14: Successful Third Auction Given Uncertain Market Conditions
    "In order to understand the scarce coins that you own or see, you must learn about coins that you cannot afford." -Me
  • Insider2Insider2 Posts: 14,457 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Looks like the man's NUMISMATIC LEGACY is secure in spite of his crimes against nature. We can be sure that in the future numismatists with far less accomplishments will continue to bash him and much of his research. I've listened to this for decades as "newly important" professional numismatists like to confirm their importance by claiming Breen was a "fake" whose works are full of errors. I say so what? They are being corrected as we follow in his footsteps.



    PS Out of deference to the authors, I don't wish to point out all the errors in books in our office library. Get over it. Contribute something to our hobby instead of bashing dead perverts.
  • epcjimi1epcjimi1 Posts: 3,491 ✭✭✭
    If I started at thread in history forum about Thomas Jefferson's accomplishments as president, or a thread in a philosophy forum about Jefferson's political views, it would be inappropriate and counter-productive for other participants to keep mentioning sexual misconduct



    Now the ar·gu·ment presented is IF you started in a TJ history thread,

    Those people are more reasonable.

    whatever.
  • MarkMark Posts: 3,426 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Analyst:



    I think the numismatic problem with Breen is that while he did some wonderful, path breaking research, as Realone emphasizes, he was wrong many times. In addition, I recall reading allegations that Breen sometimes simply made up theories (eg, I seem to recall in his Encyclopedia he wrote about a colonial coin with an eagle "thumbing its nose" to indicate the designer's displeasure). In addition, the suggestion that toward the end of his life he was willing to prostitute his signature certifying coins as rarities is definitely another potential black mark. Given these drawbacks, I think it very dangerous to accept anything he said. Who knows if it is true, incorrect, or made up?



    I also agree with Realone that the overwhelming vast majority of Breen cites in auctions are to his "Breen numbers." That hardly supports your argument that Breen's "research" is trustworthy.



    Basically, I believe what RWB writes. I believe what Julian writes. I believe what Flynn writes. I do not believe what Breen writes.
    Mark


  • Insider2Insider2 Posts: 14,457 ✭✭✭✭✭
    You forgot some: I believe what Mark B. writes and Julian, and...
  • MarkMark Posts: 3,426 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Insider2:



    I agree with the two names you mentioned though I think I did mention Julian. There are obviously others, eg, QDB. But I wanted to focus on those who do a lot of original research in archives. If Mark B. (and another Julian?) does so, I apologize for overlooking him. I also apologize for overlooking anyone else.
    Mark


  • AnalystAnalyst Posts: 1,436 ✭✭✭
    RealOne: "The fact hat Breen numbers are still being used just means that he was the first to catalog them and give them numbers which are still being used today but only for identification purposes and not related to the accuracy of info that he went on to write about them. his stuff makes great identifiers until a new book is written but the info related to those identifiers is often faulty."

    I had hoped that I made it clear that this view by RealOne is not true. In the Pogue III catalogue,and in dozens of other relatively recent auction catalogues, Breen's opinions, research and interpretations are cited as well, not just identifiers like the numbers in the encyclopedia of 1988.

    Also, I would not refer to die varieties or die states just as identifiers, in the sense that the 1988 Breen numbers are identifiers. In the description of the very first lot for Pogue III, a gem 1793 half cent, lot 3001, "Considered a middle die state, this is a bit later than Breen’s state II but earlier than his state III." There are many citations of Breen's die state research, pedigree research and condition census "info" in the Pogue III catalogue.

    Although I personally find the citation of one of Breen's analytical finds in the description of the sixth lot, the Winsor-Garrett-Stack 1795 half cent, to be problematic, it is evidence that JK was quoting Breen's research and hypotheses: "There are only two pre-1800 half cents to even earn a mention in Walter Breen’s Encyclopedia of United States and Colonial Proof Coins, the clearinghouse for listings of Proofs, reputed Proofs, and possible Proofs. One is the F.C.C. Boyd 1796 With Pole half cent (“extremely doubtful if even the Boyd coin qualifies at this level”) and this is the other, ..."

    In fairness to JK, as I now read the Pogue III catalogue, I note that JK is often disagreeing with or criticizing Breen. It is important in the context of this thread, however, that JK felt that it was important to mention Breen's views or other remarks about many coins in the sales, a substantial percentage, and then make analytical statements regarding Breen's views, even when JK was saying that Breen was incorrect.

    In the description of lot 3037, an 1830 dime, JK found it important to mention Breen's research regarding the appearances of Proof 1830 dimes in the late 19th century and JK seems to imply that Breen was correct about that point.

    In the description of lot 3040, an 1833 dime, JK cites one of Breen's more controversial pedigree claims and then says "Breen was probably correct."

    There were 158 coins in Pogue III. In many cases, the cataloguer is making clear that Breen's conclusions regarding pedigrees, die states, and rarity are credible and important, even if they turned out to be wrong. In relevant instances where Breen's research was wrong or woefully incomplete, JK often felt a need to mention such research and provide a reason as to why Breen's research was incomplete.

    Although I do not have the BD book with me now, it is clear that JD was viewing Breen's rarity estimates and other conclusions as being important. In at least one case, possibly more, JD explicitly quotes Breen regarding the emission sequence of a particular Proof.

    There is plenty of evidence in major books and recent catalogues for major auctions that researchers take Breen's research very seriously and regard Breen's conclusions as being very important, even when wrong. Breen's views about rarity, pedigrees and historical circumstances were usually (not always) the most sophisticated and solid such views at the times that he put them forth.

    The Marvelous Pogue Family Coin Collection, part 14: Successful Third Auction Given Uncertain Market Conditions



    "In order to understand the scarce coins that you own or see, you must learn about coins that you cannot afford." -Me
  • MarkMark Posts: 3,426 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Analyst:



    We have no problem with the fact that Breen numbers are used for pedigree purposes. But so what? That hardly supports Breen's research.



    We also have no disagreement that at the time, Breen's research was state-of-the-art. But again, so what? That again hardly supports using his research today without thinking carefully about it because so much is wrong.



    For example, I dug out a description of a colonial coin Breen described, the so-called Roman Head cent. Here is what Breen had to say: "When news of Washington's rejection reached Birmingham, John Gregory Han***** (doubtless with Westwood's gleeful consent, possibly at his instigation) undertook an extraordinary piece of revenge. As Washington's spokesmen had compared the idea of presidential portraits on coins to the practices of Nero, Caligula, and Cromwell, so Han*****'s (and/or Westwood's) idea was to portray Washington on a coin as a degenerate, effeminate Roman emperor. Han*****'s satirical masterpieces, the 'Roman Head' cents manage to convey this impression--with a subtle resemblance. ... Beginning as tokens of incredible spite, these cents have become among the most highly coveted of Washington items." (copied from a Heritage auction lot3035, 11-2014.) Not quoted was Breen's further comment in his book that on the reverse the "eagle attempts a '***** a snock' with his nearer wing..."



    Now, where is Breen's research to back up his assertions? I have to guess the answer is no where--he made up--all of it!



    In the same Heritage lot, here is what QDB had to say about the coin: "The Roman Head cent depicts Washington dressed in the style of a Roman official, a popular way of honoring him, at least in memory, but these are dated during his life. The apotheosis of Washington saw many forms, most famously in Horatio Greenough's statue of epic proportions showing Washington as a Roman emperor seated on a throne. For years this was displayed on the U.S. Capitol grounds. There are many versions of similar tributes in the classic style to be found on bank note vignettes."



    So, who is correct? I guess QDB, largely because he has no track record of making up other stories along his career. But, I will definitely agree with you that QDB's thoughts seem also a guess. I, however, happen to find them a bit more likely that Breen's guess.



    So, based on this and other instances where Breen spins a colorful albeit unverified tale (a'la Ford), I think his research is, at best, problematic and needs to be verified by others before it can be trusted.



    One more comment about Breen: In the same Heritage write-up, they point out that according to Breen's assertion in his book, the engraver, Han*****, was born in 1775. Records indicate that Han***** married his wife in 1780 when, according to Breen, he was 5 years old. Breen describes Han***** as an engraving prodigy. Apparently he was also a prodigy with respect to other aspects of his life... image But the point is that to take Breen's statements on face value with checking is to possibly accept error.
    Mark


  • kevinjkevinj Posts: 945 ✭✭✭
    Originally posted by: Insider2
    Looks like the man's NUMISMATIC LEGACY is secure in spite of his crimes against nature. We can be sure that in the future numismatists with far less accomplishments will continue to bash him and much of his research. I've listened to this for decades as "newly important" professional numismatists like to confirm their importance by claiming Breen was a "fake" whose works are full of errors. I say so what? They are being corrected as we follow in his footsteps.
    PS Out of deference to the authors, I don't wish to point out all the errors in books in our office library. Get over it. Contribute something to our hobby instead of bashing dead perverts.


    Insider

    You are wrong about why people write numismatic books, it has nothing to do with confirming importance or bashing his research or the research of another. Bottom line is the truth, that is what is most important. I found when I started writing, and found Breen's claims to be incorrect, when I wrote article, discussed it with others, many stated it is in Breen's book in writing, so therefore must be true. I hated this blind naive following. I was happy to see over the past 10 years that many collectors have read everything, figuring it out for themselves.

    When someone knowingly prints false information just to fill space, it takes a great deal more effort to show it is false, why not take more time and do it right. My goal is to replace Breen Encyclopedia, but first to research and write a book on every series on U.S. coins. This way I will fully understand each series, not just fill it with rumors, and made up statements. I have already done 52 books, it will probably take me another 25 years to finish. I would prefer not to deal with Breen's crap and just research the series and write. And your wrong, we do not follow in his footsteps. If you read Roger, Bowers, my books and others, we validate what we state, for example, I include all archive records in the back of my books so the collector can read these letters also, I analyze all theories and alternatives, and state what is fact and what is a theory, in no way, shape, or form do I follow Breen's numismatic foot steps.

    Have I made mistakes, absolutely, I love when people find something I did wrong, or present a new perspective, in this way I learn.

    Your saying it is ok to knowingly lie and write in an authentication letter whatever the payer wants you to write, this is what happened, for $300, he would write one of his letters for you.

    Perhaps you are right in one perspective, we have learned one important lesson from Breen, as writers, we are more careful in what we print as we do not want to go down that path.

    This discussion is not about bashing Breen, it is looking at the whole picture of someone when determining they are credible, some want that to be off limits.

    Kevin
    Kevin J Flynn
  • DavideoDavideo Posts: 1,317 ✭✭✭✭
    Originally posted by: Analyst
    Davideo: "Not wanting to mention it is in my view, wanting it to be hush-hush."

    It is apparent from my posts to this thread that the above post by Davideo is unfair and misleading

    I am not trying to cover up anything. ...


    I didn't accuse you or anyone else of covering up anything. I posted "I don't think it serves the interest of the coin community to be hush-hush about his actions." According to a top result for hush-hush slang on Google: "something that is 'hush-hush' should not be discussed or exposed in public". This parallels pretty much exactly with your statements of "there is no longer a point in mentioning the matter" and "PCGS should vaporize this thread". Hush-hush does not mean cover up, it means to not disclose/discuss, which appears to be the exact argument you are making.

    Nothing in my posts are unfair or misleading, however, you appear intent on spinning statements. I am officially checking out of this thread.

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