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1883-O Right Wing Tips: Strike vs. Polish vs. FFG (VAM-4)

Posted: Mon Aug 17, 2020 10:06 am
by LorenAlbert
Approximately 20 percent of the 1883-O varieties appear to have a "polished" right wing tip. For example, VAM-4. Is this appearance due to polishing, strike, alignment, feed finger gouge, or something else? Thank you for commenting.

1883-O VNC-4 TF868724. Click on the photograph to view at full resolution.
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Re: 1883-O Right Wing Tips: Strike vs. Polish vs. FFG (VAM-4)

Posted: Tue Aug 18, 2020 7:07 pm
by RogerB
Do the coins share the same reverse die?

Re: 1883-O Right Wing Tips: Strike vs. Polish vs. FFG (VAM-4)

Posted: Tue Aug 18, 2020 9:37 pm
by LorenAlbert
RogerB wrote:
Tue Aug 18, 2020 7:07 pm
Do the coins share the same reverse die?
For the most part; no. Here are more examples. Include VAM-12 in this library. The only shared reverses that I currently know about are VAM-22A and VAM-36A. Notice that the VAM-52A has both wing tips involved.

1883-O VNC-09 I2R4 LAE730480. Click on the photograph to view at full resolution.
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1883-O VAM-17 I2R3. Click on the photograph to view at full resolution.
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1883-O VAM-22A I4R6 LAE2451. Click on the photograph to view at full resolution.
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1883-O VNC-24 I2R3 LE333276. Click on the photograph to view at full resolution.
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1883-O VNC-33A I3R5 LE195350. Click on the photograph to view at full resolution.
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1883-O VNC-36A I4R6 LE523628. Click on the photograph to view at full resolution.
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1883-O VNC-52A I3R6 AW011218. Click on the photograph to view at full resolution.
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Re: 1883-O Right Wing Tips: Strike vs. Polish vs. FFG (VAM-4)

Posted: Wed Aug 19, 2020 12:47 am
by RogerB
Looking through all the photos and others posted in the research section, I suspect the problem was excess force being used with the resurfacing/polish tool. This effectively abraded off the top (field) from a damaged die so it could be put back into service. We see this most commonly in PL dollars were a very fine abrasive was used. (San Francisco used lime which created the PL field on many of their coins.) A coarser abrasive would still remove metal but not produce the reflectivity common in SF dollars.

If the workman doing the polishing were too aggressive, or habitually positioned dies slightly tilted, too much metal would be removed and the design would being to thin and possible removed in places. The lettering near the right wing also seems shallow, which also points to incorrect repair/resurfacing.

(The work could be done with an emery wheel or a horizontal lathe in the machine shop. I don't know which was in use at NO in that year. The irregularities imply a emery wheel was used - machinists would be sensitive to misalignment, etc.)

Re: 1883-O Right Wing Tips: Strike vs. Polish vs. FFG (VAM-4)

Posted: Wed Aug 19, 2020 1:45 am
by LorenAlbert
RogerB wrote:
Wed Aug 19, 2020 12:47 am
(The work cold be done with an emery wheel or a horizontal lathe in the machine shop. I don't know which was in use at NO in that year. The irregularities imply a emery wheel was used - machinists would be sensitive to misalignment, etc.)
Thank you so much for commenting. You might have noticed that, of the varieties shown above, the 22A has the most lack of definition at the right wing tip. The 22A has a cupped appearance at the right wing tip. When looking at the stars and the date of the 22A obverse, and in lieu of your comments, I suspect this work was done by hand. Perhaps by the same worker. Odd, however, that the 36A does not appear to be as cupped as the 22A and, yet, the 36A is the later die state of the same reverse die. Perhaps there is an interaction with readjusting the press for the new marriage? Thanks again.

1883-O VNC-4 TF868724. Click on the photograph to view at full resolution.
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Re: 1883-O Right Wing Tips: Strike vs. Polish vs. FFG (VAM-4)

Posted: Wed Aug 19, 2020 2:07 am
by RogerB
The foreman or assistant foreman of the press room installed and adjusted dies. The press operators fed planchets and watched for problems, but did little else.

It is entirely possible that several things contributed to deficient appearance on these coins. We do not have enough detailed information make more than "somewhat informed" guesses.

Re: 1883-O Right Wing Tips: Strike vs. Polish vs. FFG (VAM-4)

Posted: Wed Aug 19, 2020 2:32 am
by RogerB
This is the only thing I've located so far that suggests something odd in the Coining Dept.
18831025 NO Dies with special length sm.jpg
18831025 NO Dies with special length sm.jpg (148.42 KiB) Viewed 2044 times

Re: 1883-O Right Wing Tips: Strike vs. Polish vs. FFG (VAM-4)

Posted: Wed Aug 19, 2020 11:58 am
by vampicker
I'd think this is likely another example of something I've heard called the 'signature principle'. Loosely stated. the same person doing the same work with the same tools and materials will naturally produce very similar results. The name behind this pair of hands may be lost to history, but you're probably looking at their signature, as you noted.

Re: 1883-O Right Wing Tips: Strike vs. Polish vs. FFG (VAM-4)

Posted: Thu Aug 20, 2020 9:52 am
by LorenAlbert
Thank you for commenting. Interesting that the letter cited above might have been inspired by someone's signature work. Also, I did not know about using lime at the San Francisco mint. Perhaps this explains why the most photogenic, and affordable, Morgan dollars tend to be from the San Francisco Mint. I have a mirror finish surgical stainless steel ferrule that has fogged over the years. Touching the surface with a piece of tissue paper is enough to cloud the surface. The original machinist, a friend, has since died. I have not found a craftsmen who has the skill, or the pride, to duplicate the finish. I might give Vienna Lime a try. My gratitude to Roger and John for commenting. Loren