-1964D SMS Specimens- Are they a more than likely possible?
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Almost certainly not.  Experimental pieces are done at Philadelphia.  If for some reason they did feel they had to do an SMS experimental piece somewhere else they would have done it in San Francisco as that mint was going to be the one striking the SMS sets in 65-67.  There would be absolutely no reason to do tests in Denver.

Edited by Conder101

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Please do your best to provide pictures. If you have a modern phone, it can usually take decent pictures.

We, as random internet denizens, will not be able to officially confirm your suspicion, but photographs will help us. 

In absence of that, why do you believe that you have an SMS nickel? What about this coin points to SMS? 

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Honestly, even if it was that, how do you prove it? The whole point of the SMS was that they were NOT proofs so that the mint could focus on striking circulation coins to replace those being taken by evil coin collectors (taking the silver out of the coins had nothing to do with every Tom, , Harry and Burton keeping 'real' quarters after 1964...)

 

But all they did for the SMS was to give the dies a little polish and strike them slower, use a little more pressure and not tumble them into big totes. How do you differentiate between a circulation coin that had a decent strike from dies that were slightly polished from use?

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Frankly, all the "1964 SMS" things I've seen look like the early strikes given to the Smithsonian each year back then. These have to be backed up with documentation or they are just "vaporware."

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1964 proofs can be the most beautiful of all modern proof strikes. There were likely leftover proof dies that struck circulation coins that might look like special coins but are common. Maybe this could be substantiated by scholars but we would assume from huge proof mintage numbers and high quality proof coins that large numbers of dies were prepared.

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16 hours ago, RWB said:

 

Frankly, all the "1964 SMS" things I've seen look like the early strikes given to the Smithsonian each year back then. These have to be backed up with documentation or they are just "vaporware."

 

Have to admit I haven't seen any of them in hand, but all the images I've seen of them show heavy, and fairly coarse, die "polishing".  Not like what I would expect to see from early strikes form a new die.

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Roger is correct about the 1964 so-called SMS (NGC labels them as Specimen) coins being similar to the early, sharp strikes sent by the Mint to the Smithsonian's National Numismatic Collection for several years from the 1950s until the '70s. The only thing different about the 1964 coins is that some of them entered the marketplace a little over 20 years ago and are thus collectibles.

Proof dies were indeed used to strike currency pieces after they were no longer fit or needed for proofs. These coins tend to be somewhat prooflike and are seen for several denominations from the late 1950s through 1964. This practice accounts for the flashy look of many P-Mint coins during those years. The most obvious examples of re-purposed proof dies are the Type B reverse quarters, as the hub that produced the proof reverse dies is readily identifiable by the separation of letters ES in STATES. These letters nearly touch on dies taken from the normal currency hub.

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4 hours ago, DWLange said:

The only thing different about the 1964 coins is that some of them entered the marketplace a little over 20 years ago and are thus collectibles.

 

Originally from the Eva Adams estate?

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On 4/21/2017 at 9:44 AM, DWLange said:

The most obvious examples of re-purposed proof dies are the Type B reverse quarters, as the hub that produced the proof reverse dies is readily identifiable by the separation of letters ES in STATES. These letters nearly touch on dies taken from the normal currency hub.

Are they repurposed proof dies, or just dies hubbed with the proof hub that were used for business strike in error?  Same stuation as with the the 98, 99, and 2000 WAM cents or their compliment the 98-S and 99-S CAM cents made using polished and frosted dies hubbed with the busines strike hubs.

Are there known examples of proof and business strike coins from the SAME reverse die?

Edited by Conder101

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They were indeed dies that had been used to strike proofs. When first used for currency strikes, the resulting coins were noticeably prooflike, but this quality was lost after repeated usage. I've seen many Type B quarters that possessed a range of finishes from semi-prooflike to fully frosty.

When the mintages of proof coins were small, before the mid 1950s, it seemingly didn't occur to mint employees to re-use the retired proof dies in striking currency pieces. When mintages of both proofs and currency coins rose dramatically after that time, it made perfect sense to continue using proof dies after their initial purpose had been fulfilled. There are a number of semi-proofilike Philadelphia Mint coins from the late 50s through the early 60s that were likely struck with retired proof dies, and this quality is not seen on the Denver Mint pieces. Evidently, the former proof dies were used in-house and not shipped west.

There are some Franklin Half Dollar currency strikes having the Type 2 reverse intended solely for proofs, and these are known both semi-prooflike and frosty. It's likely that these dies had formerly struck proofs.

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RE: " When the mintages of proof coins were small, before the mid 1950s, it seemingly didn't occur to mint employees to re-use the retired proof dies in striking currency pieces."

During the 1936-42 period most proof dies appear to have been used until they failed or were so frequently repolished that they became useless. Medal Department die notebook annotations often refer to worn out dies or ones missing details.

It is possible that in the mid-1950s better, consistent and automated die polishing was instituted. This might have been paired with tighter quality control and regular replacement for proof dies regardless of their utility.

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25 minutes ago, RWB said:

RE: " When the mintages of proof coins were small, before the mid 1950s, it seemingly didn't occur to mint employees to re-use the retired proof dies in striking currency pieces."

During the 1936-42 period most proof dies appear to have been used until they failed or were so frequently repolished that they became useless. Medal Department die notebook annotations often refer to worn out dies or ones missing details.

It is possible that in the mid-1950s better, consistent and automated die polishing was instituted. This might have been paired with tighter quality control and regular replacement for proof dies regardless of their utility.

Roger, I was just getting ready to ask this very question. I'm not familiar with any proof-like business strikes from Philadelphia during this '36-42 time, but I know that during other eras (Seated Liberty and mid-20th century) this did happen. 

2 hours ago, DWLange said:

There are some Franklin Half Dollar currency strikes having the Type 2 reverse intended solely for proofs, and these are known both semi-prooflike and frosty. It's likely that these dies had formerly struck proofs.

These were struck in 1959. They can be a bit more than "semi-prooflike": there are 10 1959's with the PL designation from NGC. These coins have strong mirrors (I've seen 2 or 3 in hand). At least a couple of these came from the well known DDR of that year as well. 

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Since we're on the subject and I have two pros posting in the thread, I have a question about this dime I own(NGC 1964 D MS67FT).  I lack the photography skills to bring out the minute details, but the devices of this thing, including the letters look frosted as some of those "snake-skin" proofs from the early 2000s with brilliant fields.  The rim is as sharp as it can be and I can even see a very thin wire at the edge of the rim.  You can see the scattered die polish lines too.  I have sent it to NGC a couple of times, hoping for a PL or STAR designation with no luck.  Something is different about it, but I dont know what.  What diagnostics would I need to look for to determine if it was SMS?

 

 

926936_Full_Rev.jpg

926936_Full_Obv.jpg

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I think the D mintmark eliminates it from being one.

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Sad attempt at a close up to show the granular surfaces Im talking about.....

thumbnail_IMAG0308.jpg

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Can't determine anything for the photos -- well, it's a dime.  :)

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20 hours ago, erwindoc said:

Sad attempt at a close up to show the granular surfaces Im talking about.....

thumbnail_IMAG0308.jpg

The granular effect should not be in the fields, right?

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22 hours ago, erwindoc said:

Since we're on the subject and I have two pros posting in the thread, I have a question about this dime I own(NGC 1964 D MS67FT).  I lack the photography skills to bring out the minute details, but the devices of this thing, including the letters look frosted as some of those "snake-skin" proofs from the early 2000s with brilliant fields.  The rim is as sharp as it can be and I can even see a very thin wire at the edge of the rim.  You can see the scattered die polish lines too.  I have sent it to NGC a couple of times, hoping for a PL or STAR designation with no luck.  Something is different about it, but I dont know what.  What diagnostics would I need to look for to determine if it was SMS?

 

 

926936_Full_Rev.jpg

926936_Full_Obv.jpg

Your pictures are not showing up, but I have prooflike coins with cameo contrast. My Franklin, for example, shows the same surface texture as a proof (with the "pickled" texture on the devices). 

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A number of 1964-D silver coins have Prooflike qualities that resemble 1964 SMS coins, to a degree. They are just Prooflikes. They will often have sandblasted appearance over the designs and sometimes parts of  the fields. Also, PL luster quickly turns to satin frost after so many coins are struck and the die starts to wear. This can resemble sandblasted fields sometimes.

1964Do16.54Z.jpg

Edited by coinman1794

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1959 Type 2 Reverse NGC MS65PL

Clearly struck from a Proof die onto a rough, business strike planchet.

1959oPLsized.jpg

Edited by coinman1794

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On 4/24/2017 at 0:56 PM, physics-fan3.14 said:

Roger, I was just getting ready to ask this very question. I'm not familiar with any proof-like business strikes from Philadelphia during this '36-42 time, but I know that during other eras (Seated Liberty and mid-20th century) this did happen. 

These were struck in 1959. They can be a bit more than "semi-prooflike": there are 10 1959's with the PL designation from NGC. These coins have strong mirrors (I've seen 2 or 3 in hand). At least a couple of these came from the well known DDR of that year as well. 

A DDR which, interestingly, is a Type 1 over a Type 2.

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On 4/26/2017 at 2:51 PM, coinman1794 said:

A number of 1964-D silver coins have Prooflike qualities that resemble 1964 SMS coins, to a degree. They are just Prooflikes. They will often have sandblasted appearance over the designs and sometimes parts of  the fields. Also, PL luster quickly turns to satin frost after so many coins are struck and the die starts to wear. This can resemble sandblasted fields sometimes.

1964Do16.54Z.jpg

Getting back to the topic of the 1964 SMS/Specimen coins, I think I have bought, sold, and handled more of these than any other dealer in recent years (2008-present). I track their movements and know where most of them are. The public auction market has almost completely dried up because they are just about all in private hands. I sold (and cataloged) my MS67 PCGS half in a Heritage auction last year where it brought $47,000 with BP.

Roger, there is no documentation but I disagree that they are "vaporware." Respectfully, I'd like to ask how many of them have you looked at? And which denominations? And have any of them been in NGC slabs? I'm always trying to find new examples. It's my impression that most of the NGC pieces have been crossed to ATS. They are distinctly different both in surface finish -- heavily die-polished as coinman1794 discusses, but in multiple directions -- and in strike, which is what rules out most of the D-mint candidates that I have seen. I've talked about these with John Dannreuther and we both agree that they appear to be business strike dies (but I guess they could have started life as proof dies, hard to tell after all that rough handling) that were heavily and haphazardly die-polished and then struck multiple times like a proof. You can see "full steps" even on the Lincoln Memorial on the cents, and full details on the reverse of the halves, which is never seen on a normal business strike 1964. I do think they resemble some of the specimen strikes that are in the Smithsonian that were published in Coin World a couple of years back. How did the 1964 Specimen/SMS coins get out? I think it was through Eva Adams / Lester Merkin / Stack's but I can't prove that. Yet.

All of the halves (save one questionable one) that I have seen in PCGS slabs have the same dangling teardrop shape from the underside of the horizontal crossbar of the 4 in the date. I would love to find either a proof die or a business strike "regular" coin that shows this same diagnostic but to date have not been able to ... not that I spend my days looking at 1964 Kennedys under a loupe to do so ... there's too dang many of 'em. There are many other less obvious diagnostics that I have discussed ATS and on our site. Most of the quarters, halves, cents, and nickels all come from single die pairs, but I am less sure about the dimes.

The closeup of the half dollar "dangling 4" diagnostic is below.

Best Regards,

George

1964 SMS Closeup.jpg

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I've examined all the ones that have appeared in major auctions and all the examples in the Smithsonian.  From what I've seen, I have not found anything that would justify time and resources necessary to perform extensive research. The SI pieces and so-called "1964 SMS" pieces are, so much alike, and entirely consistent with the normal range of coins struck from working dies, that my opinion is that the whole "1964 SMS" thing is equivalent to "vaporware." Just like MCMVII "proofs" and similar items, they are imaginary creatures concocted by incompletely informed persons.  (That does not imply willful deception.) These are intended to explain coins that are all within normal production limits, but are less frequently encountered than the 99% usually seen.

As for these so-called "1964 SMS" pieces, no one has publicly presented any documentation to support them as being "special mint set" equivalents or for any other purpose. Present documentation, not guesses and assumptions, and I will happily change my present opinion. For now, so-called "1964 SMS" pieces, are more the product of a bologna factory than of truth.

I do my best to examine coins and documentation objectively. Further, I have no financial pressures or corporate or other impediments to stating facts as best as possible. Many others, will and do, disagree, and those opinions are important.  Research is never static, yet the hobby has built many houses of cards on just that premise.

Edited by RWB

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I guess given the auction/private sale prices these pieces have brought that the market disagrees with you.

 

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Sometimes the coin market is much like Hollywood; they seem to reward themselves with notoriety but without authenticity.

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2 hours ago, VDB Coins said:

I guess given the auction/private sale prices these pieces have brought that the market disagrees with you.

 

Yep.  That's OK. I have no financial interest in buying or selling these things or in pumping up speculation for financial gain. Buyers and sellers make their own decisions and must be responsible for the outcomes.

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I discovered this a couple of weeks ago by being allowed to cherrypick two unc rolls of 1964 halves.  I bought seven halves.  When I got home, I noticed one was different than the rest. I, then discovered the “dangling 4, or teardrop” marker after some research.  One of the coolest moments in my life’s history of collecting coins.  Let me know what you think.  

053E3C7C-019E-4CFB-AE63-67F507A16E30.png

BF1FE663-BAC2-44F0-8172-D1F18EC390CA.png

Edited by ngcmember2018
Edited for privacy

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Here are closeups of the dangling 4.

I have emailed NGC to to ask if they recognize the “dangling4” die marker for sms/sp coins.  Do you know if they do?  

I received an email back from NGC saying they don’t recognize the “dangling 4” die marker.  Maybe, they call it a teardrop.  Makes me wonder.

 

C1049D8A-00F0-49F2-A8B7-EF6F81B1978C.jpeg

DBCE40FA-9148-4C3D-A45D-09F26596B1DE.jpeg

A0D5893E-18ED-4C4B-896D-269237CA8987.jpeg

2C61C984-EE4A-4265-A382-70580D9174DC.jpeg

C737FFF2-71DF-4F5B-A62F-4C8C1623C386.jpeg

Edited by ngcmember2018
Wanted to insert a question.

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5 hours ago, ngcmember2018 said:

I discovered this a couple of weeks ago by being allowed to cherrypick two unc rolls of 1964 halves.  I bought seven halves.  When I got home, I noticed one was different than the rest. I, then discovered the “dangling 4, or teardrop” marker after some research.  One of the coolest moments in my life’s history of collecting coins.  Let me know what you think.  

 

 

I think you have an ordinary business strike.

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