OT - Trade Challenge

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alefzero
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OT - Trade Challenge

Post by alefzero » Fri Apr 22, 2022 1:05 am

For anyone who also likes to look for Trade dollar die varieties, I digitally published a book of 50 interesting varieties (some spanning multiple die pairs), with extracts from the broader listings for those varieties. It is on the public side of the SSDC Registry server at least for now. I might print a limited number of copies of it, but these books are not cheap to print. the far larger book will not be a project for self-publishing. It exceeds 500 pages. This one is 163 pages (32 MB). Most of the selections are interesting ones from the more common (cheaper) dates. The project was what I spent the entire pandemic working on so that our registry could span varieties for all of the large format US silver dollars, though nearly all of the activity is in Morgan and Peace VAMs. (Maybe add Gobrechts at some point and even patterns, but I know of no one who would be serious in assembling such sets and I really, really do not want to tempt myself to do so.)

http://registry.ssdcvams.com/Trade/TradeChallenge50.pdf

Here is the list of the varieties included in the book. I wouldn't suggest printing it. Apart from copyright issues, I find it most useful digitally.

Set Slots
1. 1873 Pinned Garment (C-2.1, C2.2, C2.3)
2. 1873 Arm Worm (C-6.1)
3. 1873-CC Major MPD (C-1)
4. 1873-CC FS-301 MPD (C-2, C-4*, C-5)
5. 1873-CC Small Wide cc (C-4) * also qualifies for slot 4
6. 1874-CC Small Wide cc (C-21.1)
7. 1875-CC Small Wide cc (C-15)
8. 1875-S L Break (C-2.1)
9. 1875-S FS-501 RPM S/CC (C-6)
10. 1875-S FS-502 RPM S/CC (C-7, C-7.1)
11. 1875-S R Breaks (C-10.1, C-10.2, C-11.1, C-11.2)
12. 1875-S Talon Gouge (C-12.1, C-14.1)
13. 1875-S Obverse Banner Radial Break (C-25.1)
14. 1875-S Small s (C-26)
15. 1876 Transitional Type I Obverse (C-6, C-15)
16. 1876-CC FS-801 DDR (C-1, C-1.1)
17. 1876-CC Pitted Stars (C-3.2)
18. 1876-CC Gouges + Break (C-5.2)
19. 1876-CC Small Wide cc (C-2, C-2.1)
20. 1876-S Type I/II Large S (C-31)
21. 1876-S Reverse Radial Banner Break (C-32.1)
22. 1876-S FS-301 RPD (C-33, C-35)
23. 1876-S RPD + OL Break (C-34.1)
24. 1876-S FS-101 DDO (C-36.1)
25. 1876-S Type II/II Large S (C-39)
26. 1877 Pitted Obverse (C-10.1)
27. 1877 DDO Left Stars (C-12, C-12.1)
28. 1877 FS-101 DDO Right Stars (C-13, C-14, C-15)
29. 1877-CC RPM / RPM (C-9)
30. 1877-CC Clashed Dies (C-1.2, C-3.1, C-4.1, C-5.1, C-7.1)
31. 1877-S No Dots, Bullnose R (C-2, C-15.1, C-19.1, C-20)
32. 1877-S Broken Arrows (C-3, C-3.1)
33. 1877-S Re-Engraved Tail Feathers (C-4)
34. 1877-S FS-802 DDR (C-16, C-16.1, C-17. C-18.1)
35. 1877-S FS-301 RPD / RPM (C-21)
36. 1877-S E Break (C-22.1, C-22.2)
37. 1877-S Banner Blob Break (C-26, C-50.1, C-50.2))
38. 1877-S AD Break (C-32.1)
39. 1877-S F,R Breaks (C-38.1)
40. 1877-S FS-801 DDR (C-46)
41. 1877-S First S Break (C-47.1)
42. 1877-S Break Before TRADE (C-53.1)
43. 1877-S Break R of TRADE (C-54.1)
44. 1877-S Shattered Obverse (C-14.1)
45. 1877-S Pinned Wheat (C-64.1)
46. 1877-S Break After AMERICA (C-31.1)
47. 1877-S Dots (C-63.1)
48. 1877-S A Break (C-29.1)
49. 1878-S Pinned Liberty (C-16.1)
50. 1878-S FS-801 DDR (C-18.1, C-18.2, C-18.3)

JASONKFLO
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Re: OT - Trade Challenge

Post by JASONKFLO » Fri Apr 22, 2022 1:20 am

thanks for this. I will likely be limited to the more common varieties but look forward to reading this.
Jason Floyd
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messydesk
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Re: OT - Trade Challenge

Post by messydesk » Fri Apr 22, 2022 3:19 am

Looks like a challenge, indeed. Thanks for sharing this!

I would be remiss if I didn't point out that you didn't wait long to make the first typo -- on the top of page 1 (after the ToC) in big letters.
Welcome to the VAMWorld 2.0 discussion boards. R.I.P. old VAMWorld.

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alefzero
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Re: OT - Trade Challenge

Post by alefzero » Fri Apr 22, 2022 3:32 am

messydesk wrote:
Fri Apr 22, 2022 3:19 am
Looks like a challenge, indeed. Thanks for sharing this!

I would be remiss if I didn't point out that you didn't wait long to make the first typo -- on the top of page 1 (after the ToC) in big letters.
LOL. Indeed. I found a few other little things too. Will correct and upload new versions. I do appreciate such caught mistakes and any other feedback.

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Re: OT - Trade Challenge

Post by morganman » Fri Apr 22, 2022 7:12 am

Super fantastic work by vamworlds brainac
vammer. Thanks from all of us regular member
I simply cant imagine the brain space this takes
:|

fogie
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Re: OT - Trade Challenge

Post by fogie » Fri Apr 22, 2022 7:17 pm

This is a great bit of work - and putting together ANY set of Trade Dollars is a serious challenge! Thank you John , and GOOD LUCK to the rest of us.

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Re: OT - Trade Challenge

Post by alefzero » Fri Apr 22, 2022 10:51 pm

It is doable save for the availability/locatability of a few key pieces. While doing the study, I had purchased nearly all of the ones in this set. Had to sell some of them to buy others to study, but still have 2/3 of the set in the Registry's set for them. Cost under 6 figures, but the lion's share can be found in the $200-$600 per coin range in identifiable and collectible circulated grades. It is also an interesting series in that the market puts much less of a penalty on cleaned ones. I have had to pay above greysheet no-problem prices for many, if not most, of them. 20 of the ones in the list (40% or two-fifths) alone are 1877-S, the most common and cheapest date, making for a cherrypicking adventure. Only 11 (about a fifth of the list) are premium dates and even so the varieties are collectible (identifiable) for most of those in the lowest of grades. I might try to work out the cheapest set that can be assembled for them as cherrypicks. The 1873 proof? I was able to pick two of them in circulated condition. One graded PCGS AU details. The other I have not sent in but I seem to recall that I self-graded it as VF35. Probably will go to ANACS soon enough.

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Re: OT - Trade Challenge

Post by fogie » Fri Apr 22, 2022 11:53 pm

I got me a counterfit!

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Re: OT - Trade Challenge

Post by JASONKFLO » Sat Apr 23, 2022 4:10 am

alefzero wrote:
Fri Apr 22, 2022 10:51 pm
It is doable save for the availability/locatability of a few key pieces. While doing the study, I had purchased nearly all of the ones in this set. Had to sell some of them to buy others to study, but still have 2/3 of the set in the Registry's set for them. Cost under 6 figures, but the lion's share can be found in the $200-$600 per coin range in identifiable and collectible circulated grades. It is also an interesting series in that the market puts much less of a penalty on cleaned ones. I have had to pay above greysheet no-problem prices for many, if not most, of them. 20 of the ones in the list (40% or two-fifths) alone are 1877-S, the most common and cheapest date, making for a cherrypicking adventure. Only 11 (about a fifth of the list) are premium dates and even so the varieties are collectible (identifiable) for most of those in the lowest of grades. I might try to work out the cheapest set that can be assembled for them as cherrypicks. The 1873 proof? I was able to pick two of them in circulated condition. One graded PCGS AU details. The other I have not sent in but I seem to recall that I self-graded it as VF35. Probably will go to ANACS soon enough.
I would love to see that VF Proof
Jason Floyd
I climb Mountains , Grow Bamboo and like Coins

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alefzero
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Re: OT - Trade Challenge

Post by alefzero » Sat Apr 23, 2022 4:45 am

JASONKFLO wrote:
Sat Apr 23, 2022 4:10 am
.
.
.
I would love to see that VF Proof
Here it is. See the pin gouge and the rest of the band of polish below it. Impossible to miss. They can be picked.
1873_C-2.1_VF_Proof_obv.jpg
1873_C-2.1_VF_Proof_obv.jpg (144.4 KiB) Viewed 1059 times
1873_C-2.1_VF_Proof_rev.jpg
1873_C-2.1_VF_Proof_rev.jpg (127.33 KiB) Viewed 1059 times
1873_C-2.1_VF_Proof_pin.jpg
1873_C-2.1_VF_Proof_pin.jpg (116.77 KiB) Viewed 1059 times

Vam-mysterio
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Re: OT - Trade Challenge

Post by Vam-mysterio » Sat Apr 23, 2022 12:25 pm

I would love to own a circ proof
Thanks for the diagnostics

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Re: OT - Trade Challenge

Post by JASONKFLO » Sat Apr 23, 2022 1:23 pm

Vam-mysterio wrote:
Sat Apr 23, 2022 12:25 pm
I would love to own a circ proof
Thanks for the diagnostics
I agree on both.
Jason Floyd
I climb Mountains , Grow Bamboo and like Coins

Mhomei
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Re: OT - Trade Challenge

Post by Mhomei » Sat Apr 23, 2022 1:58 pm

That's awesome
Great job John

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Re: OT - Trade Challenge

Post by vamnuke » Sat Apr 23, 2022 7:52 pm

Great die study and reference!

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Re: OT - Trade Challenge

Post by RogerB » Sat Apr 23, 2022 8:04 pm

Have been trying to learn if Trade dollar collectors would support a good historical and variety reference, but so far not much interest. I'd be willing to publish it, but it has to be accurate and reasonably comprehensive so that it has a long shelf-life.

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Re: OT - Trade Challenge

Post by vamnuke » Sat Apr 23, 2022 10:16 pm

Well, I am not up to the 50 coin challenge, but John's work has given me food for thought for expanding my 1878 model year dollar set; looks like that would be roughly another 25 or so holes to fill.. :roll:

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Re: OT - Trade Challenge

Post by alefzero » Sat Apr 23, 2022 11:24 pm

RogerB wrote:
Sat Apr 23, 2022 8:04 pm
Have been trying to learn if Trade dollar collectors would support a good historical and variety reference, but so far not much interest. I'd be willing to publish it, but it has to be accurate and reasonably comprehensive so that it has a long shelf-life.
Roger, it is very comprehensive as far as the listings go. What it will not have is the historical background and things like that. They are well covered in Bowers' books and elsewhere, as well as in another potential upcoming book. It is meant to be a field manual for attributions and little more.

Here is what I need to add still:

(1) The proof-only dates: 1879-1885 (not many dies involved and they have been worked out)
(2) visual table references for the date images and mint mark images to assist with rapid zeroing in on potential attributions.
(3) Some basic hub discriminators on all of the dies. Examples are the broken and unbroken Type I reverse legend letters and the doubled right motto ribbon end for Type II obverses (erroneously attributed by NGC on a couple dates as DDOs). Again, for faster eliminations and efficient attributions.
(4) Possibly an exhibition of counterfeits, potty dollars, Mizpah bxes and "opium" boxes.

I would love to catalogue chopmarks but feel that I could not provide the same level of quality there. There was a short production book on them and the LSCC has information spread among their journals. It deserves a thorough examination and documentation some day by someone though.

If it works for you, we might be able to get it going. My other considerations were to approach Heritage's publishing arm. The effort was primarily to get a solid variety reference out there so we could support the series at the Registry.

As for the traditional collector base, we should note that the tradition Morgan dollar collectors did not exactly embrace VAMs at all for decades. Still, I believe there are things they could benefit from the work. For instance, I have heard none of them express knowledge of multiple die pairings of some cherrypicker die varieties, though I certainly cannot exclude the likelihood that some in the community were aware of them. What it might help is stem some of the tide of raw counterfeits. In the course of doing this study, I bought hundreds of Trade dollars and managed to inadvertently purchase a few very costly counterfeits along the way myself. I also bought some intentionally, notably offered 1877-S Type I reverse ones. I wanted a good inventory of them to study as well. A real coin is legendary and I feel claims of its existence aren't supported. One never knows though.

I have put the listings and update them as errors are noted or additions are made at the public side of the the Registry, though the link is only from inside the private area for logged in users. The pages there lost a lot of the formatting from the original with the automated conversions to html. They can be cleaned up and all but the information is the same nonetheless.

Regarding accuracy, which naturally is of paramount importance, that is currently being tested through submissions to ANACS. We might ferret out a few issues, but I did learn quite a deal over the decades of doing VAMs as to where caution is needed from the original VAM listings and how many changes followed. Here is where I believe there could be significant changes from the present state:

(1) One particular date needs to be reworked (I believe 1874-S) as the numbering I used for foldering the images and the listings were separate and I think they might be off, Not many varieties for that date and I have things very well organized. It should be easy and fast enough.
(2) Some dies are very similar and I have relied on identifying other pickup points to confirm them. A lot of them were extensively reused, particularly at the branch mints. So the assignments of shared dies will almost assuredly have a few mistakes. I think they will largely be corrected in the tabulation of date and mintmark detail images. We already found one. Brent (fogie) has an 1875-S C-3 which shares the same obverse as the C-7, which is the FS-502, the very difficult S/CC variety. That obverse has a date position extremely close to another one. However a break on that die made it clear that the die was the same as the one used on the cherrypick variety, and it was corrected. BTW, that particular break is a great PUP for pickers out there. But you'll need to flip the coin to see if it has the S/CC. The CC remnants are also not so clear but the S position will give it away. But I digress.

All that said, I think your resources and skills in locating Mint records might make a very very valuable contribution should your reservation be in the field manual aspect of the book. Taking a little more time to get it to market while such might augment what I did would also buy some time to confirm my attribution work (and expand it to new findings) anyway. We still have something to work with in the meantime as a sort of beta test of quality. The one downside of doing it all alone during a pandemic was doing it all alone. The secondary one was access to coins. No shows or shops. Had to buy a lot from online sources.

I did get written email permission for better images from Heritage, where I could locate superior specimens in their auction archives. Ian (Great Collections) gave me a verbal nod as well as CU at a Long Beach show last September. (I did promise Ian 2 copies of the eventual book though.)

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Re: OT - Trade Challenge

Post by RogerB » Sun Apr 24, 2022 1:21 am

RE: "What it will not have is the historical background and things like that. They are well covered in Bowers' books and elsewhere, as well as in another potential upcoming book."

The material of this type is largely obsolete and/or misleading. That is not the fault of past writers - they did the best they could with what was available and with what they believed to be truthful. Some pieces were good and many were incomplete or wrong. A "potential upcoming book" does not appear to be much better, and would merely fracture a small market. A Trade dollar book must be approached as a unified presentation. (See my Saint-Gaudens DE book or 1936-42 proof coins book for this approach.) Think of this as a 50-75 year+ lifespan publication; if it is incomplete then it can never serve collectors as a full reference.

Further, one must be careful about photo quality - what looks OK on a computer screen very often blocks up in printing. That is, the gamma has to be adjusted to match the printing process and overall quality of paper, ink and other parts of producing a coin book with good images. Further, every image requires other corrections so that they have maximum quality in print format.

To me, "very comprehensive" means that multiple contributors are to be expected, and that means variety numbering and correlation of varieties to criteria has to be accurate and expandable. (Thus avoiding much of the VAM mess.)

There are several approaches to organization. One that has many merits is a "Baseline Book" with background and the major varieties; then a supplement in cheaper format (maybe digital only) where CRUD is easier and much cheaper to handle. [CRUD = corrections, revisions, updates, deletions]

Just some thoughts this Ukrainian Orthodox Easter morning.

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Re: OT - Trade Challenge

Post by alefzero » Sun Apr 24, 2022 3:26 am

The numbering does meets such expectations. That was quite deliberate after doing VAMs for about 40 years. The same with the way the dies were enumerated. It is completely expandable and no issues will arise where the precedence of sub-varieties becomes a mess. It is quite strong in that regard.

Photo quality or the consistency of it can be an issue, but very rarely. As the basic coins are colorless, I made certain that all detail shots were reduced to monochrome. Full coin photos of best representative specimens are less for attribution than for gee-wow attraction (at least for some). Ian did offer access to the originals, with asking actually, should that be helpful in a print medium. Heritage archives have great recent shots (though when mixed coin and slab ones, the slab ones are usually more useful), but earlier years provided far less consistency and detail. They do have enough to attribute them with the guide as it currently presents. But still, I would not publish the actual detail shots with any color whatsoever. It is distracting at best and useless. Again, these were silver coins. So all the gamma, white balance, etc is an unnecessary consideration. Magnification, composition/framing, and focus is everything. No pretensions for making a coffee table book or one to learn more than properly attributing the series. It is a working guide.

A major varieties book is doable and the Challenge 50 one, with work on photography and expansion to show die type pairings not covered in it because they simply don't have interesting varieties. Try finding any interesting 1873-s. There might be one that I speculate exists as a late die state, but that is ... speculation and the reverse die might have been retired before the break I am looking for could have occurred.

Multiple contributors would always be nice. However, in the current state, it is unnecessary for the stated purpose. A community of editors, as has been the case for VAMs works splendidly. The current "beta test" should work out fine in identifying any remaining errors and additions. It should stand the test of time, as did Sheldon's and many others. The dies are the dies are the dies. That is indisputable. Unless the cataloguing is grossly in error, all any other reference will serve to be is an isomorphism to my (and future contributors') listings.

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Re: OT - Trade Challenge

Post by vampicker » Sun Apr 24, 2022 1:16 pm

fogie wrote:
Fri Apr 22, 2022 11:53 pm
I got me a counterfit!
Your counterfeit has some great handwork if you appreciate such things
often the crusher of hopes and dreams

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