Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

The Significance and Attribution of Lafayette Medallions and Medalets

John F. Conour and Ronald B. Gammill

This presentation will establish the significance of the long-overlooked Oval Gold and Silver Lafayette Medallions of 1824 issued in celebration of Lafayette’s return visit to America. We will also address the confusion surrounding the appearance and attribution of the Washington-Lafayette Medalets and corresponding counterstamps of 1824. A host of other important Lafayette medallics issued around the time of Lafayette’s visit will be presented. Conour and Gammill will then discuss the current misconceptions as to their history and who did or did not sink the dies.

Tags: Charles Cushing Wright, Richard Trested, James Bale, Joseph Lewis, Robert Lovett, James R. Snowden, James D. Stout, Thomas A. Anners, Ash & Mason, Blanding Casts, Asher B. Durand, Cyrus Durand, Peter Maverick, Medals of Washington.

The next NNP Symposium will be on November 17th, 18th and 19th from roughly 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM Eastern time with speakers every hour and a half.

Newman Numismatic Portal

Washington University

St. Louis, Missouri

Oval Gold Lafayette Medallion of 1824
Oval Silver Lafayette Medallion of 1824
Washington-Lafayette Medalet of 1824
Obverse Washington Die Counterstamp on an 1818 Large Cent
Reverse Lafayette Die Counterstamp on an 1818 Large Cent

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1794 Large Cent

A very nice example of the S-64 from the Dr. Ronald B. Gammill Collection of US Large Cents. The S-64 is an R-5 variety and this specimens exhibits sharp detail and pleasing eye appeal given its exceptional state of preservation. This coin was purchased from Tom Deck. Its provenance is: CVM, 10/2011; Shawn Yancy; Jack D. Young, 4/2011; Shawn Yancey, 11/2012; Roger Mills, 12/2012 and finally Dr. Gammill, 2016. The border milling on the left side of the coin is always deep and heavy and protects and strengthens the hair detail as well as the entire left side of the coin. This is true for both obverse and reverse for the S-64 variety. Liberty is well spaced and closer to the hair than the border. The sharpness of the eye captures your attention immediately upon viewing this specimens.

Graded F-12, the obverse and reverse of this S-64 has a pleasing chocolate color with smooth hard surfaces and only minor pitting in front of Liberty’s face and behind the lower curls. Liberty, cap, pole and date are all defined and evenly struck. Except for their absence between 1 – 3 o’clock, the dentils are well defined and the saw tooth features are particularly strong between 7 – 10 o’clock.
The reverse clearly defines a Late Die State (Breen V) with the strong radial die crack through the ‘D’ in UNITED, the swelling inside the wreath and the missing Fraction Bar. The dentils are well defined and overall eye appeal is strong.

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Figure 1.  1804 C-6, Manley Die State 4.5 Half Cent.

Those of you that are members of Early American Coppers (EAC) have seen the listing for both the Half Cent and Large Cent 2020 Happening Varieties at this years EAC Convention (April 30 to May 3, 2020) at the Marriott City Center in Pittsburgh, PA this year.  One of the half cent varieties in the Happening that caught my eye was the 1804 C-6 variety.  I remembered having this variety and thought I would retrieve it to see which die state I had.  I did remember that it was one of several coins from well know New York collector Vincent W. Alones.  Alones was a longtime hobbyist and ANA member.  Vincent W. Alones passed away at the age of 95 in 2012.  He was a World War II Navy veteran from Long Island, NY.  Vincent had his name published in the July 2011 issue of The Numismatist for being a 50 year member of the ANA. He was also an award-winning exhibitor who won an ANA Presidential Award in 1994 and the Medal of Merit in 1995. Vincent Alones attended every ANA Convention from 1952 to 2008!

Vincent Alones won over 200 prizes in numismatic competitions during his lifetime and was a long-time member of the Long Island Coin Club. His estate provided a large portion of Vincent’s amazing coin collection to be sold, in part, to benefit the Virginia Numismatic Association.

Vincent started collecting in 1934 and his collection contained many coins from major auctions such as the Anderson-Dupont Collection (1954), B. Frank Collection (1956), Farish Baldenhofer Collection (1955), B. Max Mehl (1942), and coins obtained from Abe Kosoff, Walter Breen, Empire, T. Weiss, and New Netherlands Coin Company.  What a list of numismatic notables.

The Virginia Numismatic Association sold Alones Collection in conjunction with its 54th annual convention  in September  2012 at the Fredericksburg Expo & Conference Center in Fredericksburg, VA.  Session I included between 250 and 300 lots of mostly copper coins and was especially strong in large cents.  I spend this brief introduction to Vincent W. Alones because if not for collectors of his character and generosity we, the current day collectors, would not be able to reach back in our history to gain further insight and motivation we enjoy assembling our collections and the history they contain and that can be shared with your fellow collectors.

The spiked chin 1804 half cents are a favorite of collectors and has been throughly studied and documented in numerous books and articles.   While the “spiked chins” range in rarity from R-x to R-Y, for the C-6 variety, there are 13 different but distinct die states.  and written about is a plentiful issue carrying a mere R-2 rarity rating.  However, what makes it interesting are the various die states for this issue that Ronald P. Manley has so exquisitely described in his book, “The Half Cent Die State Book 1793-1857”.  Some die states are quite common while others, not so much so. Obverse die 1, as it has been cataloged, was used with different reverse dies in striking several die marriages before something happened to change the face of the die and created the damage that gives the coins their nickname..A raised horizontal projection or “spike” protruding from Liberty’s chin, with a second smaller projection protruding from Liberty’s lips like a tongue. A series of curved parallel lines appear in the field in front of Liberty’s neck, from just below her chin to just above the drapery on her bust.  Various theories have been floated to explain the anomalies, with the most likely being that the die was damaged when a small threaded bolt fell onto it during a striking cycle, according to Walter Breen’s book on half cents.


1804 obv 2

Figure 2.  Obverse view of the C-6 variety obverse.

Obverse is the same as 1804 C-5 and 1804 C-7 but later in the progression.  The “Spiked Chin” is always found with clash marks at the throat and cracked through the tops of LIBERTY with this die pairing.

1804 6

Figure 3.



1804 24

Figure 4.



1804 17

Figure 5.


1804 8

Figure 6.

1804 1

Figure 7.

Each wreath branch has five berries..

Always found with a cracked revere.

All the T’s have missing or defective feet.

1804 13

Figure 8.


A patch of die rust is below the right foot of the first A in AMERICA.

1804 32

Figure 9.

An engravers’ scratch extends from the right stem end midway to the second A in AMERICA.

1804 29

Figure 10.


A die flaw slants right from the top of T in CENT.

1804 31

Figure 11.


A tiny lump is between NI in UNITED.

1804 30

Figure 12.


A short die scratch is found parallel to the right side of A in STATES….which eventually fades.

1804 12

Figure 13.

1804 41

Figure 14


1804 40

Figure 15.



1804 11

Figure 16


1804 9

Figure 17.

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A few more toned Lincoln Cents from our  ‘Battle Creek Collection’ for your perusal.  Interesting study group that we will have more comments on in Part III.


NFS/Study Group ONLY!


1945 obv c1945 rev c

1945 Lincoln Cent


1948 D obv1948 D rev

1948 D Lincoln/MS


1948 S obv1948 S rev

1948 S Lincoln/MS


1949 obv1949 rev

1949 Lincoln/MS


1950 obv1950 rev

1950 Lincoln/Mint State


1950 D obv1950 d rev

1950 D Lincoln/MS


1950 obv1950 rev

1950  Lincoln/MS


1951 d obv 21951 d rev

1951 S Lincoln/MS


1951 obv 11951 rev 1

1951 Lincoln/MS


1951 d obv 21951 d rev

1951 S Lincoln/MS


1953 obv1953 rev

1953 Lincoln/MS


1953 obv b

1953 Lincoln Cent

1953 obv c

1953 Lincoln Cent/Rim


1953 rev b

1953 Lincoln Cent/Wheat Ears


1953 rev c

1953 Lincoln Cent/Wheat Ears


1953 rev d

1953 Lincoln Cent/Wheat Ears & Die Polish


1953 rev e

1953 Lincoln Cent/Wheat Ears & Die Polish


1953 rev f

1953 Lincoln Cent/Wheat Ears & Die Polish


1954 D obv1954 D rev

1954 D Lincoln


1954 D obv 2

1954 D ‘LIBERTY’


1954 D obv 3

1954 D Date


1954 D obv 4

1954 D ‘Bust/Rim’


1954 D obv 5

1954 D ‘GOD WE TRUST’ & Forehead


1954 D obv 6

1954 D ‘IN COD WE TRUST’ & Forehead



1954 D rev 2

1954 D Reverse


1954 D rev 3

1954 D Reverse


1954 D rev 4

1954 D Reverse


1954 D rev 5

1954 D Reverse


1954 D rev 7

1954 D Reverse


1954 D rev 8

1954 D Reverse


1954 D rev 9

1954 D Reverse


1954 D rev 10

1954 D Reverse


1954 D rev 11

1954 D Reverse


1954 S obv 11954 S rev 1

1954 S


1955 obv1955 rev

1955 Lincoln


1955 D obv1955 D rev

1955 D Lincoln


1956 obv1956 rev

1956 Lincoln


1956 D obv1956 D rev

1956 D Lincoln


1957 D obv1957 D rev

1957 D Lincoln


1958 obv1958 rev

1958 Lincoln


1958 D obv1958 D rev

1958 D Lincoln


1959 obv1959 rev

1959 DDR Lincoln

1959 obv 2

1959 ‘LIBERTY’


1959 obv 6

1959 ‘LIBERTY’ & Die Polish Lines

1959 obv 7

1959 Lincoln with Rainbow Toning & Die Polish Lines

1959 obv 3

1959 Lincoln with Rainbow Toning

1959 obv 4

1959 Lincoln with Rainbow Toning

1959 obv 5

1959 Lincoln with Rainbow Toning

1959 obv 8

1959 Lincoln with Rainbow Toning


1959 rev 3

1959 DDR

1959 rev 3 E DDO

1959 DDR

1959 rev 2

1959 DDR


1960 obv 21960 rev

1960 Lincoln


1960 d obv 1a1960 D rev

1960 D Lincoln


1961 D obv1961 D rev

1961 D Lincoln


1961 obv1961 rev

1961 Lincoln






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1948 Mint State Lincoln Cent (Bull’s-Eye Toning)

Some twenty years ago, Martha and I were attending the Michigan State Numismatic Show in Dearborn, MI.  An elderly gentlemen came up to our table, and said several dealers told him that we liked copper.  True.  He then proceeded to tell us that he had a small coin collection that he had amassed over the years, wondered if we were interested in taking a look at it and, if interested, purchase it.  I asked him if had brought anything to show us, and he replied, I have a few Indian Head Cents and some tokens for you.   His coins were all nice and original (original skin, if you will) and many were attractive AU’s and Mint State examples.  None of these coins were toned to any noticable extent.  We talked for some time.  He had been collecting US Coins and Token since the end of World War II, and explained that he had come to the point that it was time to sell his collection.  It was interesting to me that it appeared the coins he presented at the show had been stored away for some time.  Many were wrapped in old tissue paper or in old 2X2 paper envelopes.  However, he was quick to point out that  most of his really nice coins were in old coin albums.  I asked National Albums?  He replied, yeah, I’ve got some of those I believe.  My interest then peaked!  We offered him a price for the coins he had with him, and then told him to shop his coins around the bourse floor, and, if our offer was competitive, come back to see us, and we would make an appointment to view the rest of his collection.  His wife was with him and really didn’t seem very interested in the coins, but was enjoying looking at some of the jewelry on display at several of the tables at the show.

A couple hours passed and the couple came back to our table.  They said they were interested in our offer, but really wanted to sell the entire collection, and encouraged us to visit them at their home in Battle Creek, MI, to view the entire collection.

So, the rest of the story:   After returning from the MSNS show, we arranged a visit with the couple at their home in the Battle Creek countryside .  Now I am speculating, but my best guess was these folks were in their late 70’s at the time of our visit.  They had a very nice comfortable home and were very gracious hosts during our visit.  We learned that the gentlemen had been a life-long farmer in the Battle Creek area, and his wife had been a homemaker.  They had children, but none of the kids were interested in their collection, and it was just time to sell.

They walked us down a hallway to a large bedroom in which an old wooden chest was at the foot of the iron-post bed.  Everything in that room, and their house for that matter, reminded me of my grandparent’s home!  Now the old fellow opened the wooden chest, and it was full of coin albums, boxes of coins carefully labeled and stored in envelopes, sometimes wrapped in old tissue paper as well as related Numismatic Memorabilia (early Max Mehl catalogues, for example).

1946 Mint State Lincoln Cent (Bull’s-Eye Toning).

Of all the coins we saw that afternoon, and eventually purchased, the Lincoln Cents, Proof and Mint Sets, were covered in absolutely spectacular toning.  Both Martha and I had attended Bob Campbell’s course in Colorado Springs at the ANA Summer Seminar Series which was on the characteristics of natural and artificial toning, and we were immediately confident that what we were viewing, was in fact, beautifully undisturbed and original examples of natural toning on copper.

Toning is all about storage techniques, and is the result of a long and slow oxidative process in which chemicals in the environment interact with the surface of the coin.  The Lincoln Cents, Proof and Mint Sets had been stored in that trunk, undisturbed to varying degrees since the late 1940’s and 1950’s.  The old fellow told us that the trunk was what his belongings were shipped home in at the end of his service in WW II.  I wish I could tell you the type of wood that old trunk was made of, but that detail is missing.  The albums ranged from the old National Albums, Library of Coins Albums and various Whitman Albums.  The Lincoln Cents were housed in a “Library of Coins” album.  For the most part they appeared to have been carefully chosen Mint State or near Mint State examples, certainly quality-wise much better than the Indian Head Cents in his collection.  I asked him about the source of his collection over the years.  His reply, as I recall, was that he had gotten them from local banks, friends and occasionally local dealers and coin shows.  I asked him if he had ever sold any of his coins before now.  He said no, never sold a thing.  I’m guessing from our visit that many in the area knew of his collecting interest and frequently offered him small family accumulations.   Sometimes, when dealing with collectors, buying or selling, you learn a lot about their personality.  In this case, we were dealing with very knowledgable and meticulous folks.  Details and organization were a top priorities in every aspect of their life( at least as viewed by us).  They resided in a very comfortable farm home with every thing in its place!  They appeared to be happy and very content in their community, and were enjoying their senior years with great clarity and confidence.   These were people you like to know and call friends.

1959 D Mint State Lincoln Cent (Iridescent Green Toning)

Many of the Lincolns in his collection had not only spectacular ‘Bull’s-Eye’ toning but also beautiful deep intense iridescent green toning, which was incredibly thick, almost to the point of obscuring the underlying mint luster.  However, under direct light the original mint luster was in full beauty.  I am sure a professional photographer could make these coins truly remarkable examples of  natural toning on copper.

1946 D Mint State Lincoln Cent (Iridescent Green & Rose Toning)

How do we grade these raw uncirculated examples?   Well, we just call them Mint State Beauties, free from plastic encapsulation, for the time being.   The coins pictured in this article represent about 10% of the toned wheat cents (30’s,40’s & 50’s) in our Battle Creek Toned Lincoln Collection.  If you think grading is a subjective exercise in establishing value…grading toned mint state examples is really subjective.  Some folks believe toning is surface damage and stay away from buying them.  Others view toning as beauty, adding great value to the coin.  In our present numismatic market, almost all markable and beautifully toned coins are going to be encapsulated by either PCGS or NGC.  Encapsulated/Certified coins are the market makers and are guiding grade and value in almost every aspect of collecting.   We certainly buy and sell in the certified market, but in some cases, as in this example, we prefer to view the originality, free from plastic, at least for the time being!

We purchased this collection raw, not a certified coin in it.  Were we fair?  Did we pay this couple a premium for what was clearly a collection with some unique examples?  You bet we did, and here’s why:  First, it was, and is, the correct thing to do.  Your reputation of fairness in dealing with collectibles of any kind is your bond.  In this case, the toning was unique enough to us that we estimated the value of these coins would certainly increase; and demand would be high going forward.  So yes, we paid a premium that yielded an outcome that both buyer and seller could agree upon and be happy with.

Oh, you want to know how much of a premium?  Don’t be like a long-time customer of ours.  Every time we sold him a coin he insisted on driving us crazy by wanting to know what we had paid for the coin.  He wanted to know, and apparently approve, our profit margin…really not his business!  We sold him coins for 15 years, never divulged that information, and apparently he learned to live without knowing every little detail of our business.  He was a great customer but we always knew that question was coming…how much did you pay for this coin?  He became a very dear friend…but we never divulged our cost.

1947 D Mint State Lincoln Cent (Light Iridescent Green with Soft Rainbow Toning)

One Final Note:  How do we store these toned Lincoln Cents?  Well, we place them in a nice cotton pouch, and then that pouch goes into a 2 X 2 paper coin envelope.  Ideally envelopes of low sulfur content (archival quality, if possible).  The coins are then stored in a low humidity environment with air temperature @70 degrees year round.


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