Home U.S. Coin Forum

2000 US Mint First Steam Coin Press Medals

ZoinsZoins Posts: 23,835 ✭✭✭✭✭
edited March 7, 2020 4:25PM in U.S. Coin Forum

The U.S. Mint First Steam Coinage press ran into production problems back in 1836 when it was first put into production and again in 2000 when it was transferred to the ANA from the Franklin Institute.

I'm a big fan of the First Steam Coinage Press and have been lucky enough to have acquired some of these later errors. Here's one that's known as "The Train Wreck" which fused two planchets and pretty much destroyed the first die. An article from Numismatic News describing the situation is below.

Numismatic News wrote:
According to Joe Rust of the Gallery Mint Museum in Eureka Springs, Ark., who according to Baker "put in a Herculean effort working on this press," the problem was a capped top die. A struck planchet stuck on the top die as another blank was fed into the press. The die then came down and struck the two planchets. Simultaneously, the bottom die was moving faster than top die. The jam caused two bolts to detatch.


  • lkeigwinlkeigwin Posts: 16,070 ✭✭✭✭✭

    That's pretty damn cool!

  • SonorandesertratSonorandesertrat Posts: 5,516 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I second that!

    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]
  • I remember when that happened! It was first decided to stop the press run but Brad Karoleff suggested letting it run and selling the errors produced.

  • 1940coupe1940coupe Posts: 661 ✭✭✭✭

    interesting ! do you have page 16 of the article would like to continue reading it

  • rickoricko Posts: 77,735 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Wow...that is unique ... and documented besides... Cheers, RickO

  • gonzergonzer Posts: 2,544 ✭✭✭✭


  • Insider2Insider2 Posts: 14,457 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited June 26, 2017 4:06PM

    @bjh98a said: I remember when that happened! It was first decided to stop the press run but Brad Karoleff suggested letting it run and selling the errors produced.

    I was also there and brought my girlfriend. As you said, no tokens given out and they were mailed. Lucky me, she never got her's and I have two!

  • MrHalfDimeMrHalfDime Posts: 3,440 ✭✭✭✭
    edited June 26, 2017 4:15PM

    Like many others, I was also in the crowd surrounding the coinage press, only just rebuilt and refurbished by Rod and Joe of the Gallery Mint Museum prior to the 2000 ANA Summer Convention, watching it strike the 2000 Philadelphia ANA medals. It was an amazing exhibit at the 2000 ANA Summer Convention, and something that one would likely never see again. The press was running smoothly, spitting out beautiful medals .... when suddenly the coin press faltered, and began to produce some of the most amazing errors I had ever seen - right before my eyes. As bjh98a stated:

    "I remember when that happened! It was first decided to stop the press run but Brad Karoleff suggested letting it run and selling the errors produced."

    It was amusing to see the crowd immediately divide itself into two distinct (and very vocal) groups. The 'historians' in the crowd wanted the coin press shut down immediately, to preserve it, but the error coin enthusiasts wanted to let it go; after all, who ever gets to actually see errors being produced right before their eyes?! Brad Karoleff, the current president of the John Reich Collectors Society (JRCS) was in the group of bystanders, and immediately seized the opportunity. He suggested that the coin press be allowed to continue, under the watchful eye of Joe Rust (GMM), and any errors that it produced were catalogued, put on display, and readied for an auction the next day, to benefit the Gallery Mint Museum. I was able to come away from that auction with three spectacular error medals, including a 'chain strike' consisting of three struck medals fused together by the force of the press, and an amazing die cap. I have displayed these, along with a few examples of the 'perfectly struck' medal, plus some examples of the original 1836 Steam Press Medal. Combined, it makes a very interesting display, and I felt fortunate to have witnessed, in person, the striking of the errors.

    They that can give up essential Liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither Liberty nor safety. Benjamin Franklin
  • CoinosaurusCoinosaurus Posts: 9,325 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I have one set of the dies used by the ANA. They've been lightly cancelled, there will no confusing restrikes if made. I have no plan to make restrikes.

    Bill Shamhart showed me an original 1836 piece (can't recall if Feb. 22 or Mar. 23) which was struck, rotated, and struck again. Traces of the undertype were quite visible. Wicked cool.

  • Insider2Insider2 Posts: 14,457 ✭✭✭✭✭

    This reminds me. At several Summer Seminars the students got to make their own errors. I have not been recently but I'll bet that "learning exhibition" still goes on.

  • ZoinsZoins Posts: 23,835 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited June 26, 2017 7:55PM

    @MrHalfDime and @Coinosaurus: Great info and history!

    I have a more of these errors, the first 6 strikes (from Joe Rust's collection), and some perfect pieces as well. Have to get more pics.

    @Insider2 A lot of manufactured errors have been made. In this area, it's interesting that there's a big distinction between a "true error" and a manufactured error.

  • RogerBRogerB Posts: 8,881 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Franklin Peale's steam powered toggle press had only the usual difficulties that would be expected of a completely new machine. Once it was ready for routine operation, it likely produced no more error coins than any of its successors. George Soley completely rebuilt the press when he acquired it, and it has been rebuild several more times. Whatever it was in 2000 or is today is probably very little like Peale's original work.

    You can learn much more about Franklin Peale's technological innovations for the US Mint in the Journal of Numismatic Research (JNR), Issue #2, available from many coin book sellers.

  • Insider2Insider2 Posts: 14,457 ✭✭✭✭✭

    The "manufactured errors" at the Summer Seminar are "true" errors. The only difference is the dies that are used. For example, if I strike a piece and then strike it again off center on purpose, it will look exactly as it would have if the press was set up to strike the same tokens and one did not eject completely. These are made to show students what a specific error looks like and how it happened. I have made a collection from blank to fold-over double struck and capped dies. Very interesting. It's sort of like striking a coin on a piece of hardware for fun.

    BTW, If you and I were on the mint floor and were allowed to play around making neat things with U.S. coining dies, we could make Mr. Weinberg so jealous because every one of our "manufactured errors" would be 100% genuine. That's the distinction I see. :wink:

  • ZoinsZoins Posts: 23,835 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited June 26, 2017 8:00PM

    Others I've talked to that work at the ANA Summer Seminar seem to have a different view of true errors. My understanding is that an off center error is one of the easier ones to create. I'll need get into this more myself to understand the differences more.

  • CaptHenwayCaptHenway Posts: 28,528 ✭✭✭✭✭

    On a tangential note, I was at that press conference in Chicago mentioned in the lower right corner of that Coin World cover. Harlan Berk was with me, and after the press conference was over we went up to the Mayor and introduced ourselves, and I presented him with a copy of the Coin World Encyclopedia that I helped write. He seemed a bit nonplussed by this.

    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.
  • rickoricko Posts: 77,735 ✭✭✭✭✭

    That would have been interesting and entertaining to have witnessed the machine malfunction. Then to get some of the pieces... great. Cheers, RickO

  • Insider2Insider2 Posts: 14,457 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited June 27, 2017 2:23PM

    @Zoins said: "A lot of manufactured errors have been made. In this area, it's interesting that there's a big distinction between a "true error" and a manufactured error."

    The lines have become blurred over the decades. At one time, any U.S. mint error that Treasury Dept. authenticators considered impossible to be made "without the help of man" was not considered to be genuine. :wink:

  • ZoinsZoins Posts: 23,835 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited March 7, 2020 4:22PM

    I finally got some pics of my set of first strikes. These were from Joe Rust's collection.

    1. Early Test - Screw Strike - No Collar - Unique Dies!! - Low "2" in "2000" - Ugly Hat - Edge Lettering To Cent
    2. Capped Die - Silver - First Try
    3. Silver - Second Try
    4. Silver - Third Try + Off-Center
    5. Steam Press - Copper - First Try - Not Fully Struck See Edge
    6. Copper - Second Try - Not Fully Struck - See Edge
    7. Copper - Third Try - Full Strike

Sign In or Register to comment.