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  1. Writer says in original condition and original case. Case would likely be similar to that used for 1868 aluminum sets - purple velvet.
  2. Heritage Auction = $9,487.50 for silver and minor. Gold = ?
  3. As we think about today's value of an 1868 proof set, in a custom velvet case, 120 years ago it was barely marketable. George E. Voorhes, Hardware and Iron Merchant Morristown, N.J. July 9, 1896 My Dear Sir: Among the effects of my brother who has just dies is a complete set of U.S. coins in a velvet case, of the issue of 1868, from $20 gold down to 1-cent bronze. They are in same condition as when first issued from the mine, in fact they are in the case made especially for them. Will you kindly let me know if they are worth more than their face value, and also will you refer me to some party, if you know of such person, who would be likely to want them? Yours truly, James R. Voorhes, Administrator Reply: A full proof set of the U.S. coins of 1868 is worth about $51.00. We don’t know of any collector that would purchase. Coin dealers would not pay so much as the above value. Mc [Clure, Curator]
  4. Although older proof coins are more expensive than circulation strikes, they offer limited variety since all come from the Philadelphia Mint (until modern proofs beginning in 1969). Coins made for circulation offer a wide variety of mintmarked issues, and include some coins that are exceedingly rare in uncirculated condition. JTNewell's suggestions are excellent and the hobby will be most satisfying to you if you select coins you like or that have interesting back stories and historical context.
  5. "Quelle damage" et quelle dommage. Obviously, the bison moved while his picture was being taken for the nickel.
  6. Visibility of die doubling or tripling depends on the blow during which the doubling occurred, and any rotation between strikes. Assuming at least 5 blows to bring up a new die, anything out of alignment for the first through third strike should be obliterated by the last two. This is particularly true for the central details -- which seem to be the crux of CatBath's observation. But, this is largely a new area of investigation - I suspect the occurrence of die varieties is similar in proportion to Peace dollars. Of course, Ross will be consulted before any updated book edition is prepared. (Years down the road....)
  7. Here is one of H.S. Chapman's "cuter" letters. This was to a fellow coin dealer who had promised to send US halves struck in copper - probably meaning patterns - then sent something else. December 13, 1889 B. H. Collins, Esq. Dear Sir: The bag of trash received. Why it does not come up to your description at all – a most miserable worthless lot and we ask a rebate of $2.50 on it. Or will return if you prefer @ $7 price allowed. How comes it that Steigerwalt bought some 1877 ½-dollars in copper from you – duplicates and different too, from those sold us, and on our buying this lot you agreed to give us the balance and further you said these we bought were all you had or had, had. We await your explanation. Very Respectfully, S.H. & H. Chapman
  8. Well --- I wasn't going to say anything --- but the hidden camera in the eagle's belly button (behind the shield) is an interesting feature. Probably added after the date on the coin. I won't mention the microwave transmitter....
  9. 1786 by Nicolai Kozin, Liberal Economy Society Award Medal.
  10. Lots of tiny scratches and scrapes. The coin has seen a lot of the countryside. A pleasant album coin.
  11. I recall that thin wire nails - similar to modern brads - were only cut from 18 and 20 gauge brass wire in the early 18th century. Steel did not exist and iron was too soft for these small items.
  12. This is an interesting letter from S.H. Chapman about a large cent he purchased in England. The coin's date was likely 1796 since he compares it to another 1796 cent owned by Ten Eyck. Note his comment about how "gems" of American coinage were preserved. October 29, 1889 John G. Mills, Esq. Dear Sir: Yours of 28th received. Glad to hear of successful operation. Yes, it [the cent] has a peculiar color which is difficult to account for, but its history may aid us in determining it, and that is, that it was wrapped in a piece of paper for many years and so far as we known from the time of its mintage, and it may have acquired that beautiful color from some chemical property in the paper. I purchased it in England (after two days of offering, bargaining and finally paying the gentleman his figure) paying nearly the amount asked you (the owner offered me £1 profit the second sold and he regretted exceedingly having let it go at any price; that he had named a price and did not like to back from his word). He said he secured it at private tender from an estate together with a choice collection of English coins – many fine specimens of coppers as if the collector had preferred copper or a specialty of that series and from what he could gather he had been a collector before and about the years 1775 to 1810. That they had evidently lain away untouched for a long time, etc. It is just such circumstances that preserve for us the great and few gems we have of American coins – the 1796 cent @ $50 came from the same source. Without comparing the two coins together we should say this equaled Mr. Ten Eycks, but really that are both great gems, superb – and perfection pieces. It may interest you to know that this was the only specimen I saw or heard of in Europe, the only specimen we have or know of for sale. The price is low and we cannot change it. Very Respectfully, S.H. & H. Chapman
  13. Appears to be a staple and staple pieces post manufacture. Better photos needed.
  14. Impossible to tell if the L was applied officially or not. Your coin might have been at the low end of tolerance, and then lost enough through circulation that a sub-Treasury stamped it. The quantity of these appearing in circulation seems to increase in the mid-1890s. When sub-Treasuries stamped light gold, the coins were supposed to be withdrawn, accumulated and eventually sent to a Mint for recoinage. It is possible that some Treasury officers stamped gold that was presented by banks, then returned it to the bank. The banks then dumped the light coins, which were not really legal tender any more, on consumers and merchants who were stuck with the coins. Letters concerning individuals sending these to the Mint show that the coins were not replaced - the sender was paid only the gold value not the face value.
  15. These details might help a little. My files have only pieces similar to the left photo.