The Story Behind the 1879-S Rev of 1878

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PacificWR
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The Story Behind the 1879-S Rev of 1878

Post by PacificWR » Tue Feb 25, 2020 8:57 pm

This very well could be the real story behind the 1879-S Reverse of 1878. The first letter is from Coiner Col. O. C. Bosbyshell to the Superintendent of the Philadelphia Mint addressing the complaint from the Superintendent of the San Francisco Mint about the new Morgan Dollar Reverse die (a stack of 20 coins were stacking higher than the previous reverse dies). The second letter is from Chief Engraver Mr. William Barber to the Superintendent of the Philadelphia Mint. Mr. Barber explains what he thinks happened.
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collectinsince65
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Re: The Story Behind the 1879-S Rev of 1878

Post by collectinsince65 » Tue Feb 25, 2020 9:02 pm

Interesting read Wayne!

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Re: The Story Behind the 1879-S Rev of 1878

Post by vampicker » Tue Feb 25, 2020 9:05 pm

It is the reason, A different version of this correspondence (the SF complaint) was published in Whitman Numismatic Journal, Nov 1964. It is also the story behind the group of 79-S Rev of 79 dies with severely ground down reverses. Several of them share obverse dies with the Rev of 78 varieties, usually in an earlier stage.
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Re: The Story Behind the 1879-S Rev of 1878

Post by Longstrider » Tue Feb 25, 2020 9:58 pm

I so enjoy reading these old correspondences you post. Thanks!🐍

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Re: The Story Behind the 1879-S Rev of 1878

Post by RogerB » Wed Feb 26, 2020 2:30 am

Nice !

These are from RG104 E-1 General Correspondence.
Also check E-235 Vols 17 and 18 for additional correspondence.

Further:
January 8, 1879
Hon. H. R. Linderman
Director of the Mint
Washington, D.C.
Sir:
I have the honor to state that there is required in addition to my requisition of October 15th 1878,
the following dies:

Standard Silver Dollar, Obverse, 24
Standard Silver Dollar, Reverse, 24

I will thank you to cause the reverse dies to be forwarded at the earliest date practicable.
Your attention is respectfully invited to the fact that an alteration made in the engraving of the
new reverse standard dollar die is sufficient to cause a difference of nearly the thickness of a
piece in a pile of twenty pieces. It is impossible to obviate the difficulty and I have no alternative
but to make the coin of the increased thickness.
Very respectfully,
H. L. Dodge, Superintendent
[E-229 Box 10 of 17 SF]

And ----
Pages from 18790204 SF Die report Jan.jpg
Pages from 18790204 SF Die report Jan.jpg (232.71 KiB) Viewed 309 times

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Re: The Story Behind the 1879-S Rev of 1878

Post by vampicker » Wed Feb 26, 2020 3:31 am

Beautiful, this is the letter I was referring to. It clearly indicates attempts were made by the SF mint to make the thickness of the dollars match or Dodge couldn't possibly know it was "impossible to obviate".
It's THE central point behind an incredible group of 79-S varieties that Brian Raines has been studying for years.
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Re: The Story Behind the 1879-S Rev of 1878

Post by PacificWR » Wed Feb 26, 2020 3:53 am

Add this fact into the mix that the first two die shipments for 1879 had 5 fewer reverse dies. The letter on the left is the first shipment for 1879 and the letter on the right is for the second shipment.
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Re: The Story Behind the 1879-S Rev of 1878

Post by PacificWR » Wed Feb 26, 2020 3:56 am

Longstrider wrote:
Tue Feb 25, 2020 9:58 pm
I so enjoy reading these old correspondences you post. Thanks!🐍
My 1900-S die study was on pause for just a bit and I decided to take a walk back in time to see what I could dig up. Really enjoy doing this. When I have the time.

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Re: The Story Behind the 1879-S Rev of 1878

Post by PacificWR » Wed Feb 26, 2020 4:55 am

RogerB wrote:
Wed Feb 26, 2020 2:30 am
Nice !

These are from RG104 E-1 General Correspondence.
Also check E-235 Vols 17 and 18 for additional correspondence.

Further:
January 8, 1879
Hon. H. R. Linderman
Director of the Mint
Washington, D.C.
Sir:
I have the honor to state that there is required in addition to my requisition of October 15th 1878,
the following dies:

Standard Silver Dollar, Obverse, 24
Standard Silver Dollar, Reverse, 24

I will thank you to cause the reverse dies to be forwarded at the earliest date practicable.
Your attention is respectfully invited to the fact that an alteration made in the engraving of the
new reverse standard dollar die is sufficient to cause a difference of nearly the thickness of a
piece in a pile of twenty pieces. It is impossible to obviate the difficulty and I have no alternative
but to make the coin of the increased thickness.
Very respectfully,
H. L. Dodge, Superintendent
[E-229 Box 10 of 17 SF]

And ----
Pages from 18790204 SF Die report Jan.jpg
Roger...with the die usage table shown above … you just came up with the coinage for four of the 1879-S Rev of 1878 VAMs. Take a look at the third entry down. Obverse die number 2 (lot/batch number) then look at the Reverse lot/batch number. Lot/batch number 171 is a 1878 reverse die. There is no way that can be a 1879 reverse die. Not in January of 1879. The last two reverse lot/batch numbers used in December of 1878 were 162 & 163. Moving on down the list we have entry number 4 with a Obverse lot/batch number of 17 with a reverse lot/batch number of 168 (another reverse of 1878). Entry number eight from the table list has a lot/batch number one with a reverse lot/batch number of 169 which is another 1878 reverse die. So for three 1879-S Rev of 78 dies (total of 4 VAMs) shown in the table above we have a mintage of 426,000 coins. If you can come up with the monthly die usage tables for February thru May we may be able to determine what the total number of dies used are and what the mintage is for the 1879-S Rev of 1878 VAMs.
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Re: The Story Behind the 1879-S Rev of 1878

Post by PacificWR » Wed Feb 26, 2020 5:01 am

Roger, This is what I am talking about. See the lot/batch numbers shown below.
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Re: The Story Behind the 1879-S Rev of 1878

Post by PacificWR » Wed Feb 26, 2020 12:20 pm

When you add in the die life and usage table (shown below) for 1878 it all makes sense.
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Re: The Story Behind the 1879-S Rev of 1878

Post by PacificWR » Wed Feb 26, 2020 2:04 pm

Mint regulation 3550 did not require any dies to be returned just the Obverse dies destroyed. Wonder if this changed in 1880?

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Re: The Story Behind the 1879-S Rev of 1878

Post by PacificWR » Thu Feb 27, 2020 1:10 am

This is how it all started. The first order is San Francisco's first order for 1879-S Dies. Note the high number of Obverse dies and the low number of Reverse dies. The second letter is the second order for 1879-S Dies and the complaint of the 1879-S Dies (3rd Rev) stacking higher than the 1878-S Reverse Dies.
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Re: The Story Behind the 1879-S Rev of 1878

Post by RogerB » Thu Feb 27, 2020 1:21 am

Good to see the research materials are helpful. There are many opportunities to discover and learn.

[You might send a nice note of appreciation to NNP for providing and hosting US Mint documents.]

RWB

PS: The B&W pages with dark horizontal bands are photocopies I made about 15-20 years ago. At the time, they were not for any specific project, but captured incidental to other things. Sometimes "serendipity" is a little slow !
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Re: The Story Behind the 1879-S Rev of 1878

Post by PacificWR » Thu Feb 27, 2020 1:24 am

By March 19th the problem with stacking (thickness) has been resolved. The right reverse die was being used. Note the response.
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Re: The Story Behind the 1879-S Rev of 1878

Post by PacificWR » Thu Feb 27, 2020 1:27 am

RogerB wrote:
Thu Feb 27, 2020 1:21 am
Good to see the research materials are helpful. There are many opportunities to discover and learn.

[You might send a nice note of appreciation to NNP for providing and hosting US Mint documents.]

RWB

PS: The B&W pages with dark horizontal bands are photocopies I made about 15-20 years ago. At the time, they were not for any specific project, but captured incidental to other things. Sometimes "serendipity" is a little slow !
Will do.

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Re: The Story Behind the 1879-S Rev of 1878

Post by messydesk » Thu Feb 27, 2020 1:38 pm

All good stuff! Thanks for posting.
Welcome to the VAMWorld 2.0 discussion boards. R.I.P. old VAMWorld.

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Re: The Story Behind the 1879-S Rev of 1878

Post by PacificWR » Thu Feb 27, 2020 11:17 pm

messydesk wrote:
Thu Feb 27, 2020 1:38 pm
All good stuff! Thanks for posting.
Gald to share the information. This is really good info. Really helps to understand what was going on in the mints.

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Re: The Story Behind the 1879-S Rev of 1878

Post by PacificWR » Thu Feb 27, 2020 11:25 pm

The stacking of coins was a really big deal to folks. Especially out west. In July of 1900 there was a die change to the quarters and the Superintendent of the San Francisco Mint was upset about it. The change effected the stacking height (again). The folks thought if you had the same number of like coins and they did not stack the same height then you were a dishonest person.

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Re: The Story Behind the 1879-S Rev of 1878

Post by PacificWR » Sat Feb 29, 2020 11:06 pm

In June of 1900 guess what happened again? The engraving department made changes to the quarter dies and those changes reduced the thickness of the dies which caused the stacking height of quarters to change. Once again (just like in late 1878 to early 1879 for the Morgan Dollar) nothing was passed up the chain about the changes and just like in 1879 the Superintendent of the San Francisco Mint complained about the changes. This time however, the Superintendent of the San Francisco Mint came right out and plainly said why the stacking of coins was so important to folks on the West Coast. Note the responses from Chief Engraver Charles Barber and the Superintendent of the Philadelphia Mint. Amazing to think that the stacking of Morgan Dollars is what was behind the creation of the 1879-S Rev of 78 short series.
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