An open letter to all VAM members

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BrainVAMage
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Joined: Tue Oct 25, 2022 10:56 pm
Location: Raleigh NC

An open letter to all VAM members

Post by BrainVAMage » Thu Nov 03, 2022 9:04 pm

Good afternoon,

First, I just want to apologize for my first two posts on this site. I've been a member for just a week now, and I would love to learn as much as I can from everyone associated with this site that knows VAM's through their career in the Numismatic world, i.e., experts past or present, coin dealers, hobbyists, or through your study of VAM's over the years. All knowledge and advice is appreciated. I realize that I'm in the right group if I want to consult with exceptional experts that know VAM's. I truly want to learn.

Second, I want to apologize if I appeared to be "humble bragging" about things that have nothing to do with VAM's. I think that's what they call it these days. I honestly looked it up haha. My intentions were not to "show off" or brag. Everyone here has a story and a history in the Numismatic world. I just thought (assumed?) if I showed a picture of that 1854 $3 Dollar gold piece it would lend to the fact that I truly know the basic differences between common coins and rare coins. I didn't want any member to think I was brand new to the world of numismatics, and I thought that might help. I guess it all depends on how you look at it. The other banter / pics I posted was my effort in trying to make some new friends on this site. But completely unrelated to "Vamming" I realize now haha! Again, my sincere apologies to everyone that viewed my posts. I'll try to keep any future posts related to VAM identification only.

@ Eschaton - Thank you for the advice. I actually grabbed an old Bausch and Lomb 10x loupe I had and looked at a few Buffalo nickels again. I forgot what you can see with just 10x and quality optics vs. a scope. The experts you mentioned were right. If you can't see it with that magnification, you shouldn't spend the time. Unless of course it has to do with what Leroy Van Allen and George Mallis did with the original plate photos they took. Sometimes in a hobby like VAM's I'd guess that magnification to some high power is necessary. Yes? No? Maybe? haha : )

To LateDateMorganGuy (And all others) - I need your help and wisdom if you have the time. You know your way around a Morgan Dollar. My questions, VAM related of course lol, are this:

1. How many berries are in the wreath (e.g., 10 left side / right 7 side) of the production 1878 P 8 tail feather Dollar? If you read further and lend me your knowledge, there's a specific reason why I'm asking these questions. It has nothing to do with actual minted coins as it does to Morgan's conceptual designs. You might be interested in one of the "original" VAM's so to speak haha. Let's see where this goes.....

2. How many denticles did the 1878 P 8 tail feather production coin have? (I sort of know the answer through years of research, but I'd appreciate an expert weighing in on this from archived facts and historical data, to remind me).

"Extreme" Bonus points to the experts out there reading this if you know the answers to these tougher questions:

1. I remember reading somewhere years ago that Morgan's original concept designs of the reverse had 7 tailfeathers. Then for some reason he switched it to 8 for the actual coinage in 1878 in the final production design. Then, after some opinionated letters written to the Mint about the Bald Eagle only having 7 tailfeathers, George Morgan made the change to switch the design back to 7 tailfeathers at some point in 1878. Thus the 8 or 7 tail feather variety everyone knows. All this is well documented of course, but is my memory correct and his first concept designs in 1877 start with 7 tailfeathers and not 8? Or not? I believe it's documented somewhere from the Mint archives.

2. How many Berries does the wreath contain (left and right) on his original concept designs? Not the actual 1878 P coin that Rutheford B Hayes physically received to commemorate the first Dollar minted, and the coins struck thereafter until the 8 tail feather changed back to 7 tailfeathers in 1878, but the actual concept designs as they changed between 1877 and early 1878? I believe it's 17 total berries for the 1878 production coinage, but the placements in the wreaths changed as the design changed between concept design and production designs from 1877 through 1879. Correct me if I'm wrong on this of course, and show me data on this if you have it handy. I'd really appreciate it.

3. Same question as #2, but in regards to the actual number of denticles on George Morgan's concept designs, versus the final 1878 P (8 tail feather) production coin?

If anyone on this site has this factual knowledge from the mint archives or research handy and would like to share it, or these questions can be forwarded to Leroy Van Allen or David Akers, or anyone with historical knowledge in Morgan Dollar designs and Numismatic history that can locate or share the documented answers to these questions, I appreciate your time and input. : )

This I can tell you factually: The original concept designs and lathe reductions were produced from a 4:1 ratio, meaning 6 inches actual final Galvano size would produce a 1.5 inch design for the actual coinage, master hub, working hub, master dies, working dies, hand struck mintmarks, into dies, ect. ect.

Forget the metric system in 1877, it was all Imperial back then, with a British born Assistant engraver and the US Mint working exclusively in Imperial measurements, with the exception of medical field and few others at that time in history. 38.1 mm is simply the conversion from the original 1.5 inches for all you Red Book fact checkers haha.

The Hill and Janiver reducing lathes that made reductions from George Morgan's Galvano's were working from a 4:1 ratio. George Morgan was making his working models from Plaster of Paris, engraved in reverse, with engraving tools and artistic mediums known to be used at that period of time. I believe he was known to work from home in his boarding house in the first years of working for the Mint since the Barber's didn't appreciate him, which is where he lived with his wife in Philidelphia, in a home owned by Mrs. Eckfield, the widow of Adam Eckfield, who personally knew George Washington from the first days of the United States Mint in Philadelphia in 1793. A Small world even almost 100 years after the founding of the US Mint lol.

If any part of this post gains your interest, please PM me. It may be easier to do that than to make open posts on the discussion forum and take away from people looking to discuss VAM's.

Best regards to all! Erik

iwillbenice
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Re: An open letter to all VAM members

Post by iwillbenice » Thu Nov 03, 2022 10:12 pm

:?:

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...kenny
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Re: An open letter to all VAM members

Post by ...kenny » Thu Nov 03, 2022 11:10 pm

Hi; You lost me after question 2. Just alot of info your looking for. Start slow, there is lots of info available. On the left side bar, you will see a list of items that give some info. One of these is the A. George Mallis Library. There are links to more info there. Try this link to start...kenny

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vQti-0zzBkc
Of all the things I've lost, I miss my.........Ahh........Uhmm........something, something, something..... :lol: :lol: :lol:

Eschaton
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Re: An open letter to all VAM members

Post by Eschaton » Fri Nov 04, 2022 1:30 am

Welcome to the boards. This is a new account for me, as I haven’t been active on this site in many years, but I was a regular long ago. Thick skin is a necessity, as is a long memory. Not everybody is gonna be friendly, but the vast majority of the guys are a pleasure to interact with. You’ll even find a few bona fide experts on here that’ll talk shop and bust myths with you if you’re into the kind of stuff you waxed eloquent there in those last two paragraphs. 👍

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messydesk
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Re: An open letter to all VAM members

Post by messydesk » Fri Nov 04, 2022 1:31 am

BrainVAMage wrote:
Thu Nov 03, 2022 9:04 pm
The other banter / pics I posted was my effort in trying to make some new friends on this site.
Banter is a tricky thing. Any forum will welcome new people that stay on topic at first. Banter comes with familiarity. Not an official policy, mind you, but just the way membership in a forum, or any group, works.
@ Eschaton - Thank you for the advice. I actually grabbed an old Bausch and Lomb 10x loupe I had and looked at a few Buffalo nickels again. I forgot what you can see with just 10x and quality optics vs. a scope. The experts you mentioned were right. If you can't see it with that magnification, you shouldn't spend the time. Unless of course it has to do with what Leroy Van Allen and George Mallis did with the original plate photos they took. Sometimes in a hobby like VAM's I'd guess that magnification to some high power is necessary. Yes? No? Maybe? haha : )
Maybe. The experts of yore say that if you can't see it with a 10x, don't bother with it. That's still mostly true. Where it breaks down is when you are trying to get a definitive attribution regardless of desirability. More magnification often makes this easier, and a microscope makes it more ergonomic. The applications are slightly different. In the Morgan class I teach, everyone is using a 10x loupe. No microscopes. Knowing how to use a loupe properly is also important.

To LateDateMorganGuy (And all others) - I need your help and wisdom if you have the time. You know your way around a Morgan Dollar. My questions, VAM related of course lol, are this:
1. How many berries are in the wreath (e.g., 10 left side / right 7 side) of the production 1878 P 8 tail feather Dollar? If you read further and lend me your knowledge, there's a specific reason why I'm asking these questions. It has nothing to do with actual minted coins as it does to Morgan's conceptual designs. You might be interested in one of the "original" VAM's so to speak haha. Let's see where this goes.....
Count them and compare with the assorted patterns.
2. How many denticles did the 1878 P 8 tail feather production coin have? (I sort of know the answer through years of research, but I'd appreciate an expert weighing in on this from archived facts and historical data, to remind me).
I'm pretty sure there are 150 denticles on both sides but will also refer you to my response to question 1, which I will also do for the rest of the questions pertaining to counting things. There's lots of historic information about Morgan and the development of the dollar design in the VAM book. Even though the attribution section is outdated a bit, the rest of the book is still relevant.
Welcome to the VAMWorld 2.0 discussion boards. R.I.P. old VAMWorld.

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UNCLE BINGO
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Re: An open letter to all VAM members

Post by UNCLE BINGO » Fri Nov 04, 2022 1:52 am

Those answers are way above my pay grade , Follow the yellow brick road http://ec2-13-58-222-16.us-east-2.compu ... an_Pattern
Proud winner of Worst new Vammer of the year :lol:

RogerB
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Re: An open letter to all VAM members

Post by RogerB » Fri Nov 04, 2022 11:40 pm

If you will post your questions in a more concise form, I'll check my database of archival materials.

RE: The Hill and Janiver reducing lathes that made reductions from George Morgan's Galvano's were working from a 4:1 ratio. George Morgan was making his working models from Plaster of Paris, engraved in reverse, with engraving tools and artistic mediums known to be used at that period of time. I believe he was known to work from home in his boarding house in the first years of working for the Mint since the Barber's didn't appreciate him, which is where he lived with his wife in Philadelphia, in a home owned by Mrs. Eckfield,

Morgan worked in a harder plaster than common "plaster of Paris." His models were cut in normal relief. "Galvanos" (large electrotypes) were rarely used until the late 1920s. Instead, models were sent to a foundry for casting in bronze or brass. These casts were touched up by the artist, then reduced on the Hill reducing lathe purchased in 1867 (I think...). Janvier had not invented his reducing lathe at that time. This produced a dateless master hub that was further retouched and some detailed punched in. For example, the gothic scrip religious motto was prepared in half-dollar and dollar scales as a separate logo punch by Asst. Engraver William Key. This was punched into the master die.

Morgan did a lot of work in his home apartment in part because of friction with William Barber, and part because the Engraving Dept. was very cramped. Morgan had the title of "Special Engraver of the Bureau of the Mint" and fully equal to W. Barber in authority. Morgan's wife did not come to Philadelphia until the spring of 1877.

BrainVAMage
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Location: Raleigh NC

Re: An open letter to all VAM members

Post by BrainVAMage » Sun Nov 06, 2022 1:00 am

Thank you for all the information and feedback! It is truly appreciated. Sorry this is late.

My simple question tonight for all you Morgan VAM enthusiasts:

Did the US Mint ever use this official government seal on any documents or physical US Mint pieces you may have researched from the government archives regarding Morgan Silver Dollars, or on any US Mint archive documents in your past studies? (See link below, if it copied correctly)

It may have been stamped on paper documents you've seen, or in designs from pieces of the US Mint from approximately 1841 to 1877. Simply put, have you ever seen it on anything in your research over the years? I'd like to know from anyone that has done actual research from the archives, if that's possible.

Best regards and thanks in advance, Erik

https://www.bing.com/ck/a?!&&p=052b3ab4 ... BuZw&ntb=1

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UNCLE BINGO
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Re: An open letter to all VAM members

Post by UNCLE BINGO » Sun Nov 06, 2022 1:33 am

Only place I have ever seen those stars arranged in a similar manner is off a old Masonic tracing board . Probably does not help you in your quest though . :popcorn:



PS it might even be lodge specific and it could very well be on a apron or two , if you do not get any response i could look into it further,,,, lots and lots of Freemasons in 1877 maybe they worked at the mint ????? bet a bunch of them got angry in 1933 . who knows :roll: ........
Proud winner of Worst new Vammer of the year :lol:

RogerB
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Re: An open letter to all VAM members

Post by RogerB » Sun Nov 06, 2022 11:18 pm

There were so many variations of the Great Seal in the period you mention that it's doubtful anyone can give an absolute answer. Look to the State Department for the best response.

Treasury Department,
Office of the Secretary
Washington, D.C.
April 17, 1882
Hon. H.C. Burchard,
Director of the Mint,
Sir: -
Referring to previous correspondence upon the subject of striking a medal
commemorative of the adoption by this country of a great seal, I have to say that in my opinion
there should be no medal of a new design for this purpose, but only a fac simile of the seal as it
was adopted by the authorities at that day, and that section 3551, Revised Statutes, is permissive
of the making of such a metal.
I therefore approve of the making of a medal which shall be a fac simile of the great seal
of the United States and you will please issue such instructions accordingly as may be necessary
under Section 3551, Revised Statues of the United States.
Very respectfully,
(signed) Chas. J. Folger,
Secretary.


See: The Seal of the United States, Dept of State. 1892 and 1907 edition (better); The Eagle and the Shield by Richard S Patterson and Richardson Dougall, Dept. of State, 1976.

BrainVAMage
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Re: An open letter to all VAM members

Post by BrainVAMage » Mon Nov 07, 2022 12:57 am

Thank you Roger B for your kind response.

I just read your mint archive update post. If you happen to be the Roger B I believe you are, as well as Messydesk being another extremely well known and knowledgeable resource with his "spot on" answer earlier in this post in regards to the type of plaster George Morgan was working with, then I am sure I am in touch with the right experts on the topic I have been discussing in this post. I am finishing my research on this piece after more than a decade hiatus.

If you can make out the e-mail I am including in this reply, I think you will understand why I'm asking the questions I am asking. I met with Dick Doty in Aug 2012 at the Smithsonian to discuss this topic and show him the piece. His advice, based on my findings at that time, were to finish my research and come back in the spring of 2013 and we would pick it up with Mr. Goler.

Unfortunately, whether he was aware of it at the time or not, when we met in Aug 2012, Mr Doty lost his battle with Lymphoma shortly thereafter in June of 2013. He never let me know that he was dealing with this at that time, and he may well not have known he was when we met in Aug 2012. He was a very nice, knowledgeable and helpful man. I enjoyed working with him on this topic, even if it was brief.

I basically never followed through with reaching out to Mr Goler after that, we were both busy and my career took precedence over numismatic research back then, and still does, so I simply put the piece back in the safe until I joined this site just recently.

If you can read the title in my e-mail, and the response I received in July 2012, I think you'll get a good idea why I'm asking the questions I have been. It has everything to do with Morgan Dollars, just not in the sense that this group is discussing them. If you'd like to PM me and reach out, I'd be happy to show you something that will probably interest you.

BTW, I've mentioned this in a VAM post earlier on this forum, this website keeps reducing my attached photos from approx 500kb to under 100kb, and rotating them if taken with an iPhone. So I attached two images in case it rotates. Please feel free to PM me if you'd like to discuss further. I really don't want to post any pics in this forum yet. It would more than likely just lend to further confusion and keep from focusing on the actual topic.

Best regards, Erik
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messydesk
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Re: An open letter to all VAM members

Post by messydesk » Mon Nov 07, 2022 4:03 am

BrainVAMage wrote:
Mon Nov 07, 2022 12:57 am
...
BTW, I've mentioned this in a VAM post earlier on this forum, this website keeps reducing my attached photos from approx 500kb to under 100kb, and rotating them if taken with an iPhone. So I attached two images in case it rotates. Please feel free to PM me if you'd like to discuss further. I really don't want to post any pics in this forum yet. It would more than likely just lend to further confusion and keep from focusing on the actual topic.
The reduced size is intentional. For the forums, images are reduced to no more than 900x900 pixels as they are uploaded. This helps prevent running out of space more frequently. When the image is resized, the file size will also be reduced.

The rotation issue comes up once in a while. It's caused by the way the rotation is stored in the EXIF information of the image file. If you continue having problems, I would suggest turning off the auto-rotation on your phone before taking the picture, then making sure it's rotated the way you want before uploading by rotating it in a photo editor.
Welcome to the VAMWorld 2.0 discussion boards. R.I.P. old VAMWorld.

RogerB
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Re: An open letter to all VAM members

Post by RogerB » Mon Nov 07, 2022 5:23 pm

Erik,
I presume you have a plaster model of the Great Seal obverse (eagle) signed by George Morgan and are looking for information. Is that correct?

If you will PM me with your email, I will contact you and you can then provide more details and good photos. There is a moderate amount of US Mint-State Dept correspondence on the subject, as well as a published exchange of the same correspondence in State Dept. archives.

RWB

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