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  1. Clark, Gruber & Co. owned the building and minting equipment purchased by the US Treasury Department. However, Treasury already knew the equipment was worthless and could not be used to strike US coins. Congress called the facility a "mint" to promote the idea of a Federal Mint in the Kansas/Colorado Territory. There was also hope that "Pikes Peak" or "Kansas" gold deposits would prove more extensive than in reality. Absence of meaningful railway connections until the Denver & Rio Grande Western and unsettled conditions in the area between Denver, Cheyenne and St. Louis (as kbblp notes) made equipping and operating a mint impractical. There is considerable archive material about the Denver Assay Office, but as yet no one has assembled it into a coherent, factual story. This might be a product of it's assay office status and general limited coin collector interest in that period of operation.
  2. PS: The SG DE book was awarded both Book of the Year and Best Specialty Book by the NLG.
  3. I suspect much of the absence of type indication for 1908 comes from the long-held Breen belief that never went beyond the superficial "long ray-short ray." Thus, Breen had no explanation for what the Engraver did or the general improvements made. (Breen was a primary deprecateor of Charles Barber, much to Breen's discredit.) The SG DE book was written with the understanding that it is a beginning description of varieties. It might take a decade or more for collectors and researchers to uncover sufficient new (and incorrect) varieties for another edition to become possible.
  4. Why was the U.S. Mint facility at Denver called the “Denver Mint” even though no coins were struck until 1906? “The Mint at Denver is called a “Mint,” and not an Assay Office, for the reason only that it was so-called by the Act of Congress which established it, although it in no wise differs from the other Assay Offices.” Letter from Mint Director Horatio C. Burchard to Mary E. Bailey, Chattanooga, Tennessee, November 15, 1879. (NARA RG104 E-235 Vol 20, p410.)
  5. Yes, the above illustrated book is far more detailed than the Whitman product. It should answer most questions and provide interesting details within its 550 pages. (Published by Heritage Auctions/Ivy Press.)
  6. Many collector have a 1908 double eagle as a type coin or as part of a short date set of Saint-Gaudens double eagles. However, few realize that there are three design/master hub combinations for the year. The most commonly seen is Type I - Short rays on obverse, fuzzy obverse stars, no motto on reverse. This is nearly identical to the original 1907 low relief coin. Philadelphia and Denver only. Type II - Long rays on obverse, sharp obverse stars, no motto on reverse. This combines a new obverse hub created by Charles Barber with the reverse of Type I. Philadelphia and Denver. Type III - Long rays on obverse, sharp obverse stars, motto on reverse. This type pairs Barber's earlier, improved obverse with a new reverse adding the Congressionally mandated religious motto just above the sun. Philadelphia, Denver and San Francisco. Most "hoard" coins are Type I, which accounts for their somewhat "soft" appearance. There are lost of photos out there. Can members post pictures of the three varieties from their collections? :)
  7. These are less likely to be in certified holders unless the owners recognize the differences. Your article will likely go a long way toward helping others locate these interesting varieties.
  8. The OP seems to have convinced only himself. It's a normal dime that is discolored. A large proportion of new collectors think they have mad a "big find" only to later learn more and understand the range of damage and alteration that occurs in normal usage. Don't give up looking, but be more critical of what you think you see.
  9. Thanks for the tip. I've asked the question on the forum suggested by kbbpll.
  10. Ah, most prescient that Franklin Peale! He wrote the letter is July 1848. Other translations? (Note: Archives contain many examples of shorthand taken during dictation. Some are accompanied by manuscript letters.)
  11. For those interested, here's an independent review of "Girl on the Silver Dollar." (The review says "Charles Barber" but William was the one involved. The Coin Analyst: Girl on the Silver Dollar and the Merging of Greco-Roman and American Visions of Liberty (
  12. This brief shorthand note is part of a letter from Franklin Peale to mint director Patterson. Can anyone out there translate the text? Thanks!
  13. I found no response. The original request, if it still exists, would be in NARA Entry 229 "Letters Received." (PS: This also illustrates one of the major difficulties of researching anything relating to the US Mint. There are no indices, and a letter and it's reply are in separate series of documents. Some of the series are chronological, some are alphabetical and others are "whatever." :)
  14. This will bring a smile to any "Coin Doctors" lurking out there.
  15. RE: " They tried to fix that with the SBA dollar and people rejected them because they were confusing them with quarters. " This was a really foolish decision. It was "imposed" by US vending equipment manufacturers so they did not need to change the gauge slot in their machines. The SBA dimensions were fixed before anything else and changed only once in the entire review process - even then it was a slight enlargement of diameter. My opinion is that if the SBA dollar had been the diameter of the old gold eagle, it might have been successful with consumers. Today, a dollar purchase is as likely to be made with credit or debit cards as cash.