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ACCent: The Monthly Newsletter of the Anchorage Coin Club

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Volume 7, Number 1

January 1994

January Membership Meeting
Wed., January 5th, 1994 Central Lutheran Church

7:30 PM Meeting


 

Potluck Report

Fifty-plus folks showed up to our annual Christmas dinner December 9th. Once again the ACC faithful outdid themselves in assembling a fine feast for the enjoyment of all. The affair was so well attended that the tables were filled to overflowing; those at the rear of the chow line pushed aside the auction lots to make room at the head meeting table.

The last of the raffle tickets were sold shortly before dinner. Among them was one purchased by my sweetheart1 who attended her first ACC potluck. More on the raffle later.

DOOR PRIZES

The meeting started out with door prizes, the first being Ken Bressett's fine book Collectible American Coins. This book was among those passed out at the last ACC sponsored coin seminar in 1992. So, when seminar supporter Bill D'Atri was named the winner he said, "Let's do it again". Another ticket, that belonging to Ann Brown, was drawn. Ann graciously accepted. Those wondering about this book, which is loaded with gorgeous photos and insightful commentary, are likely to find it at Roy's Coins.

The second door prize was a book entitled The Money Makers which was won by a newcomer to the club whose name I failed to learn. I apologize for and hope to correct this oversight.

YN PRIZE

Next was a prize given for the best performance given by the YN's at the North way Mall coin show.

President Larry Nakata sent four young ACC members a-shoppin' with ten dollars each to see what they could finagle out of the exhibitors. Results were published in the December ACCent. To present the prize was none other than famed (to us, anyway} ACC orator, and erstwhile Santa Claus, Neal Lydick. He gave an eloquent introduction and presented a trophy to Nathaniel Grabman who assembled an impressive start on a Twentieth Century Type Set with the help of the exhibitors at the aforementioned show. Nathaniel approached the front table to applause and calls of "speech, speech". When he realized what "speech, speech" meant, the bashful young man shook his head and hurried back to his chair, trophy in hand.

NUMISMATIST OF THE YEAR

Neal's duties were not yet over. He commenced to give a brief synopsis of the founding of our club and the good work of Bill Caring who was our first President and a tireless contributor to our club.2 Neal then proceeded to recollect the first time he and Benita met Rod Meade3 saying they had purchased a "holed Liberty Nickel" at the time. After a heartfelt reminiscence, Neal posthumously4 presented the Bill Garing Award to Rod. The award was accepted by Mrs. Meade.

OVERDUE MEMBERS CITED PUBLICLY

Treasurer Paul Wheeler made his monthly plea to recalcitrant ACC members to pay up. He did so in a somewhat anonymous way reciting the member numbers of those whose dues are due. Lucky for us latepayers; soon he'll be calling names. I (as should others) will make a point to show up early to the next meeting to set the books right for my account.

EDITOR WINS CHRISTMAS RAFFLE

Next on the agenda was the drawing for the Christmas Raffle. Nathaniel Grabman was nominated to draw the winning ticket. Once again he made his way to the meeting table. He peered into the bucket of tickets and noted (to general laughter and amusement)5 that many of the tickets had the same name on them. Nathaniel reached in, drew a ticket, and called out in a loud and clear voice, "J. W. Susky"!!! Sure enough, Yours Truly was the proud winner of a 1907 "No Periods" Ten-Dollar gold piece. I can't help but think that my sweetie's ticket nudged one of mine into Nathaniel's hand. I will now consider myself forgiven for getting his name wrong in issues past.

DAVE WILSON WINS 1887 MORGAN

Finally, we had a drawing for the Membership Interest Prize for which all members are eligible. The only requirement is that they be present. The first number drawn was #92. No response. The next number: #4. Again, nothing. Finally #58, Dave Wilson's number, was drawn. He won an "MS-60" 1887 Morgan Dollar. I put the grade in quotes, because this so-called "sixty" was an MS-63++ if I ever saw one. It seems Paul is doing his cherry pi eking best to provide excellent prizes for the club's (and our) benefit.

 

1 I gently prodded her to buy one (even giving her a fiver) saying "buy one for Good Karma."

2 He is also the namesake of our annual "Numismatist of the Year" award,

3 The first time I met Rod was at his shop in Fall 1990 (it doesn't seem like three years). Rod patiently showed me all of his Morgan Dollars (which I still collect) and gave me some advice which, he said, "You'll probably ignore. You should buy one two-hundred-dollar coin instead of ten twenty-dollar coins." He was right - anybody want to buy some twenty-dollar coins? I got plenty.

4Which is a euphemism for "too damn late".

5Not to mention a grinning Larry Nakata.

 

D'Atri Shows Us How
(to run an auction)

Bill D'Atri ran the finest auction the Anchorage Coin Club has held in the three years I've been a member.

This is not to say it had the best material (it didn't), nor that it had the greatest bargains (prices were mostly the same as usual). What it was, however, was more entertaining and quickly paced than our other auctions.

"Pace" was the key attribute here. Lots which elicited no particular interest were "passed" by the Auctioneer the result being that one-hundred-and-five lots were dispatched in less than an hour.6

The cadence was typical of the following:

"Lot number 5 is an 1835 dime Extra Fine condition. Trends is forty dollars, bidding will start at twenty dollars."

In the event this intro was greeted by a silent roar, the auctioneer would break the silence with:

"No interest? One, two, pass." or simply: "Pass it."

After about a half dozen lots had gone by to open the auction bidders got the hang of it and started jumping in7. Soon there was lively bidding on a nice assortment of affordable coins.

Early in the race bidding was hot for an attractively toned Proof '72 Canada Silver Dollar. This coin, which trends for $8, was hammered down at $18 with Mike Orr emerging triumphant. The Auctioneer was also a Humorist on this one as he tried to get Mike to bump his own high bid to Twenty dollars. Humor was also occasionally in evidence as AG material was announced (more than once) as "Awful Good".

The auctioneer also showed off his astute cherrypicker's eye by describing one uncleaned two-cent-piece as a "nice original coin".8 I for one, appreciate editorializing such as this.

When a 1927-D Buffalo Nickel was announced someone started the following dialog to the amusement of all:

"How many legs?"

"Five."

"Five legs? What's that, a new "Droop Horn" variety?"

And so it went.

Generally, after participating in this excellent auction, I came to several conclusions as to proper auction conduct .

One is, "Keep It Moving", don't mess around dragging out the auction and boring literally EVERYBODY on coins no one wants. It's frustrating to be interested in one coin, Lot #87, and have to wait more than an hour to get to it. Much better to wait 40 or 45 minutes a have a lively pace getting there.

Two, I think it's a good idea to announce Trends prices, as encouragement for bidders. Announcing the retail price for coins (and lots! allows a basis for snap decisions on coins which might otherwise escape ones attention.

Three, start the bidding at around 40%-50% (as Bill did) for original coins without problems. For "problem" coins and lots containing multiple common and circulated coins starting a little lower would seem to be in order.

Have at least one brief (or longer if a lot of interest is shown by coin examiners) intermission.

Have fun.

Finally, I nominate Bill D'Atri as ACC Auctioneer For Life (or until Bill gets sick of it.)

 

6 Including an intermission.

7 Or not. the number of buybacks was probably not that unusual but at least we didn't have to wait around for the buybacks to get bought back.

8 The other two had been, to my eye anyway, "improved" a bit.

 

How Many Steps d'Ya Want?

This was one of the classic Rod Meade Tales which I heard front those who knew him. I couldn't, for the life of me, recall this story when I wrote last month's obit. Hal Wilson, who witnessed this Tale, retold it to me when I mentioned the punch line to him. Many thanks to Hal for the story.

One day, Rod and Hal were exhibiting at a "Bizarre" (it could hardly be ordinary with those around). Since it was basically not busy, they were shootin' the bull, passin' the time, and generally trying to stay awake.

By and by a customer came around and stated he was a collector of Jefferson Nickels and did Rod have any nice uncirculated examples?

Rod reached into his case, pulled out a blazer, and passed it over to the collector. The collector whipped out his loupe and gave the piece thorough scrutiny. After a short period he handed the piece back to Rod and asked if he had any other uncirculated Jeffersons. Another was produced and again it was given a close look. And again it was passed back. "Any others?", asked the collector. Rod passed over yet another and back it came.

This continued until finally, after the last piece was passed back, Rod asked "These are the best I can do. What are you looking for?"

The reply was "these nickels are all pretty nice, but they don't have enough "steps" on them," whereupon Rod tossed the piece on the floor (in its holder, mind you) stepped on it sharply and said, "HOW MANY STEPS WOULD YOU LIKE?" And he stepped on it again: "IS THAT ENOUGH STEPS?" asked Rod (none too demurely, I would imagine). The collector was rendered speechless and walked away with no steps at all. And no nickels.

 

 

Fivaz Reveals New Jefferson Varieties

Bill Fivaz9 is known to most of us for the fine seminar he conducted in October 1991. Bill also deserves credit for inventing the name of our newsletter. If you ever saved an issue of ACCent , then save this one, for it contains the survey reprinted below of known and hitherto unknown Jefferson Nickel Varieties. As such, it provides an excellent reference for present and prospective Jefferson Nickel collectors and cherrypickers. The survey first appeared in a four-installment series in Coin World, July 1993.

Photos which accompany the text may be found in the original Coin World issues.

Past President and sometime Auctioneer Bill D'Atri was most kind with his efforts to "broker" the text you see below:

9Pronounced "FEE va"

WHEN DOES 10 EQUAL 25?
by Bill Fivaz, Numismatic Literary Guild

 

When list of best varieties grows by 15 as Jefferson popularity keeps increasing

Those of us who have been actively collecting Jefferson 5-cent coins for more than 10 years are familiar with the acronym "PAK," the initials of the first names of the three men who founded the club devoted to this series back in the 1970s.

With the disappearance from the hobby of the club's driving force, Adolf Weiss, several years ago, interest has abated somewhat, but there is still a Jefferson 5-cent coin Club-Within-a-Club in the national error/variety organization, the Combined Organizations of Numismatic Error Collectors of America, which actively promotes this very popular series. Husband and wife team Rich and Sue Sisti conduct periodic auctions, publish a newsletter and keep members up to speed on things happening within the series.

For information about CONECA and the club, you may write to them at P.O. Box 363, Newfoundland, NJ 07435.

When PAK was in full bloom in the late 1970s and early 1980s, prices were strong on "full step" issues and (even more so) on varieties. There were then 10 different varieties that comprised the "Top 10" in the series, and they were eagerly sought by Jefferson enthusiasts. This is still true today.

However, in the intervening years, several more major varieties have been discovered and documented, most having appeared here in the Collectors' Clearinghouse. Many of these are every bit as dramatic as the first 10, and they offer the collector a wide array of cherrypicking opportunities for his/her collection.

These new additions now bring the total to 25, and presented on these pages for the first10 time anywhere are brief descriptions of the original 10 and the 15 "newcomers." The 25 are discussed chronologically, not necessarily in the order of desire.

Please note that the rarity I have suggested for each is for Mint State specimens, which is what the vast majority of the enthusiasts of this series collect.

1. 1939 Proof (Reverse of 1940):

The first "rookie" to the list is a Proof, the 1939 with the strong, well-defined step type of 1940 and later. Most of the Proofs of this year had the wavy, indistinct type of steps, the same as was used during the first year of issue, 1938. The 1940 style is typified by the short vertical lines on each side of the steps and the clear, straight step lines. It is logical that some of each type of steps would appear on the Proof coins of this second year of issue as business strikes from all three Mints -Philadelphia, Denver and San Francisco - are found with both the "wavy" and "straight" step types. This variety should be considered rare.

2.1939 Doubled Die, reverse die

No. 1: One of the original 10, this dramatic doubled die may still be cherished (sic) in rolls and sets. The area on the reverse to zero in on for quick identification (the "PUP" or "pick-up-point") is the last "O" in MONTICELLO. A good portion of the reverse is strongly doubled and in Mint State this variety is very rare.

3.1939 Doubled Die, reverse die

No. 2: Similar to die No. 1, but the doubling is somewhat less noticeable. Again, the "PUP" is the last "0" in MONTICELLO. Although not as strong as the previous, this variety is considered by many specialists to be rarer than die No. 1. Very rare.

4. 1940 Proof (Reverse of 1938):

The kissing cousin to the 1939 Proof listed above with the straight, well-defined steps, this variety has the wavy, ill-defined steps without the short vertical lines at each end.

The mintage of this variety was much smaller than that of the 1939 reverse of 1940, probably only one die being used. The 1940 reverse of 1938 is very rare, but may still be cherished (sic) by the astute collector- Unlike the 1939 Proof, it is not logical to find both types of steps on the Proofs as all the business strikes from the three Mints have only the straight, clear type of 1940 steps.

5. 1942 Proof Doubled Die Reverse:

This third early Proof variety has a nice doubled die reverse, most visible on the bottoms of the letters on the lower left of the reverse (United States, etc.) It may be found without too much effort and is probably only scarce at best. This is the Type 1 copper-nickel Proof.

6.1942 Proof Doubled Die, obverse die No. 1:

The doubling is most evident on this copper-nickel Philadelphia variety on Jefferson's nose. Caution is advised when looking for this one, however, as most 1942 copper-nickel (corrected per the July 19 column) coins have what appears to be slight doubling in this area, but is not. The variety to look for should appear as in the illustration. I've found this one to be very difficult to find, and I consider it very rare.

7. 1942 Copper-nickel alloy, Doubled Die, obverse die No. 2:

The second doubled die obverse for this date is stronger and easier to find than the previous one. The doubling may be picked up beneath the nose (my pick-up-point, or PUP), the chin, the hair below the ear, the eyebrow and on WE TRUST. I consider this variety scarce.

8. 1942-D/Horizontal D:

This dramatic repunched Mint mark variety is the rarest of the Top 25 (except for the Proof 1971-S Jefferson, No S) in Mint State condition. The Mint mark was initially punched into the die in a horizontal position and then overpunched in the correct attitude without any effort whatsoever to efface or polish off the first "D". I consider it extremely rare in Mint State.

9. 1943/2 overdate:

Discovered by Del Romines several years ago and the recipient of major publicity. Believe it or not, these are still being cherrypicked, both in original rolls and in sets.

Caution is also advised when looking for this one, as there is at least one die scratch leading upward from the ball of the 3 that looks like the diagonal of a 2. The legitimate overdate must appear as in the accompanying photo, with almost a solid bar diagonally through the lower opening of the 3, and (most importantly) the lower tip of the 2 below the 3 on the left.

Readers should be aware that as the grade of this variety decreases from Mint State it becomes less and less saleable. Specimens grading EF and below virtually go begging in most cases, primarily because it is a relatively late discovery and available in Mint State to those who want one. I judge this overdate variety to be very scarce.

10. 1943-P "Doubled Eye" Doubled Die, obverse:

Another eye catching (pun intended!) doubled die, this PUP is Jefferson's eye which is strongly doubled to the south as in the photo. Again, this is "cherry-able" if you look at enough 1943-Ps. I consider this a very scarce variety.

11. 1945-P Doubled Die reverse die No. 1:

This is the strongest of the three 1945-P Doubled Die reverses on the list, and as in the 1939, the PUP is the last O in MONTICELLO. Check the 11-piece Wartime Alloy sets being offered; chances are that you may be able to cherry one. Incidentally, don't forget to look for the two 1943-Ps listed above and the following four Wartime Alloy varieties in the same set. This variety has a small spur-like die gouge at the lower left on the P Mint mark. It's scarce.

12. 1945-P Doubled Die reverse die No. 3:

This is the second strongest of the 1945-P Doubled Die reverses and has the appearance of the above Die No. 1 combined with the 1939 die No. 1, typified by the thicker letters. This No. 3 die is at least scarce.

13. 1945-P Doubled Die reverse die No. 4:

This variety is misattributed in the second edition of The Cherrypickers' Guide as '3-R-III'. It will be corrected to '4-R-1II' in the third edition, due out later this year.

On this variety the doubling is actually quadrupling, confirmed by some early die states which recently were examined by Del Romines. This one is very scarce. The P Mint mark is heavily doubled on this one.

14. 1945-D/D RPM No. 14:

This widely repunched Mint mark has the vertical of another "D" smack dab in the middle of the prime D. There are more than a hundred repunched Mint marks in the 11 Wartime Alloy issues (which are fun to look for because of the size of the Mint mark), but precious few are as widely separated as this one. Very scarce.

15. 1945-S/S RPM No. 1:

Hello! Here's the other dramatic repunched Mint mark in the Wartime Alloy 5-cent series, and it happens to be on one of the San Francisco dies of 1945. The repunched S on this one may be seen above and to the right of the main S, and like the previous repunched Mint Mark, it should be considered very scarce.

16. 1946-D/Inverted D:

This is the second rarest business strike variety {next to the 1942-D/Horizontal D), and seldom found in any grade. While this variety has always been described as a 1946 "D/Inverted D" or "D/Upside down D," I am not fully convinced that this is an accurate assessment. While it could be a die chip, it does have what I refer to as "character" - it looks like something. Exactly what, I'm not certain, and I feel further study is needed on this one. In any event, it's very rare to extremely rare.

17. 1946-S Doubled Die obverse:

Quite a recent discovery, or if not, having received more publicity in the past year or two. This is an easy variety to spot with a good 7X loupe, the criteria generally accepted to determine collectability of any die variety. Doubling can be seen on the right side of the obverse, on LIBERTY, and the date. Although new, I have a sneaking suspicion that this is going to be a tough one to find. Let's call it rare for now.

18. 1949 D/S over Mint mark:

The first of the three over Mint marks in the Top 25, the 1949 D/S has been found in original Mint sets as well as in original rolls and in sets.

The previously punched S Mint mark (remember, all Mint marks are applied to the dies in Philadelphia and then shipped out to the branch Mints) can be seen over to the left and, on early die states, within the D. Two short die scratches at the lower right base of the building leading upward to the northeast are diagnostics on this variety. It is uncertain if the D was punched into this die over the S in error or in the effort of die economy. This variety should be considered very scarce to rare.

19. 1951 Proof Doubled Die obverse:

The first of the two Proof doubled die obverses in the Top 25, the 1951 has a nicely doubled obverse with the pickup point being the eyelid. Other doubling is apparent on the upper lip, jaw, and TRUST. Let's tag this one as very scarce.

20. 1953 Proof Doubled Die obverse:

This is the second Proof doubled die obverse on the list. Note doubling on the left side of the coin in the motto IN GOD WE TRUST. I've found this one a bit more available than the 1951, so let's call this one scarce.

21. 1954 S/D over Mint mark:

No. 2 in the over Mint mark series (one letter over a different one), this is the last year of mintage for the 5-cent coin at the San Francisco Mint for several years. In this case, the overpunch was probably an error by a Mint employee

General comments about all 1954-S 5-cent coins: I suspect that the lines of communication between San Francisco and Philadelphia were somewhat lacking in 1954, as it is quite obvious that the San Francisco Mint did not request enough reverse dies for the number of 5-cent coins struck at that facility during the year. A very large percentage of the 5-cent coins produced were of inferior quality, the result of either worn dies or low pressure strikes. Philadelphia had S Mint reverse dies on hand, as evidenced by the many D/S varieties known for 1955, but evidently San Francisco decided to use what they had in house, work with them well beyond their effective die life, and cut back on the striking pressure to get through the year.

Strangely, there are a few "normal" 1954-S specimens which are dreadfully mushy (struck by worn dies), yet have three, four and even five steps showing on the Monticello! How is this possible?

We should remember that "full" anything on a coin - bands, head, bell lines, steps - is the function of strike. The more pressure applied on the planchet at the time of strike, the more fully struck up these features will be. I suspect that in order to compensate for the terrible strikings that were coming off the worn dies, the Mint increased the pressure, thereby bringing up the step count, but at the same time eroding the dies at a faster rate.

Those 1954-S and 1954-S/D specimens that have strong detail on the design rarely have any steps at all showing. However, Jefferson 5-cent collectors who are "in the know" much prefer the well-struck pieces with lesser step count over the mushy, high steppers. This is true on both the regular issue for this year and the over Mint mark. I consider the "normal" S/D you will find (mushy strike with little or no step count) scarce. Fresh die pieces with no steps showing are as rare in my opinion, and those with good detail (fresh dies) with two or more steps are extremely rare.

22. 1955 Proof Tripled Die reverse:

A relatively new discovery, the pickup point on this issue is again the last O in MONTICELLO. Be advised that there is also a doubled die reverse on some 1955 Proofs, so you may need a 10X loupe to see the three images on the O and at the base of several of the letters near the rim on this one. I judge this one to be very scarce.

23.1955 D/S over Mint mark Die No. 1:

There are at least 10 different D/S reverse dies that have been identified for the year 1955. Obviously, Philadelphia had many "S" Mint dies left on the shelf at the end of 1954 (San Francisco probably didn't ask for them in 1954, remember), so in the effort of die economy they punched a "D" over the already placed "S" on several. Die No. 1, the one illustrated, is the clearest and the most sought after. Let's label this one scarce.

24. 1960 Proof Tripled Die reverse:

Reread the description of the 1955 Proof Tripled Die Reverse 5-cent coin and apply it to the 1960. The PUP is still the same - the last 0 in MONTICELLO, but you'll need to look close to see the tripling on that and the bases of the letters near the rim. As on the 1955, don't be confused by a doubled die reverse on some Proofs. Like the 1955, I consider this variety very scarce.

25. 1971-S No S Proof:

The final variety on the Top 25 list is the extremely rare Proof 1971-S Jefferson, No S 5-eent coin. Somehow one die was not punched with the S Mint mark, escaped detection and a small number of coins were released in Proof sets for this year. I feel certain not all are accounted for despite the publicity, so check all 1971-S Proof sets carefully - you may just get lucky!

These are the Top 25 major varieties, in my opinion, in the Jefferson 5-cent series. If you're tired of trying to plug holes in your regular collection, you might want to consider looking for these pieces.

I hope you find lots of 'em!

Bill Fivaz is co-author of "The Cherrypicker's Guide to Rare Die Varieties" and a longtime researcher in the field of error-variety coins.

10 Now second time, of course.

 


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