1888-S Morgan Dollar Die Study

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LateDateMorganGuy
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1888-S Morgan Dollar Die Study

Post by LateDateMorganGuy » Sun Jun 14, 2020 5:43 pm

If you recall, in a post a while back I mentioned that the number of assigned VAMs and mintage of the 1888-S dollars seemed out of whack. With 16 base VAMs and a mintage of 657K, that would equal 41K coins per VAM. So I did a die study.

The results are interesting, at least to me.

I identified 12 obverse dies, 8 reverse dies and 16 die pairs. This is wierd since Philly prepared 80 dies for use at SF in the 1887-1888 fiscal year and 20 dies in the 1888-1889 fiscal year. Note the mintage by month info below. This makes for an average of 55K and 82K average coins per obverse and reverse die respectively. I could not find info on how many dies the SF Mint cancelled in the 1888 calendar year.

Keep in mind that the purpose of a die study is NOT to find examples of specific VAMs, just to identify different dies and die marriages. Tying dies and die marriages to specific VAMs is just an outcome if it can be done at all.

Strange that the SF Mint would only use 20 dies when many more were seemingly available. But maybe Philly never shipped all of them to SF for some reason.

But there was a lot of die incest in 1888 at the SF Mint. Below is a die marriage and progression chart. Keep in mind that I have numbered the obverse and reverse dies with arbitrary numbers, not in any order, just the order I found them in.

I expected to find that the reverse of VAM-13 was used with different obverse dies. Not the case. VNAs listed in the chart below do not necessarily mean there are unidentified die marriages. It is just that I could not tie that die marriage to a specific VAM.
Attachments
Mintage by Month.jpg
Mintage by Month.jpg (107.05 KiB) Viewed 382 times
Die Incest.jpg
Die Incest.jpg (111.31 KiB) Viewed 382 times

RogerB
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Re: 1888-S Morgan Dollar Die Study

Post by RogerB » Sun Jun 14, 2020 6:27 pm

I'll see if I have any additional 1888-S die info in my database.

Meanwhile - Mints usually began the calendar year with obverse and reverse die bearing the same number. But if one of the dies cracked or needed some other sort of repair, a new die would be substituted without changing the remaining die. Also, the same die could be removed-repaired-returned to service until Coiner or Coining Room Foreman condemned it.

RogerB
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Re: 1888-S Morgan Dollar Die Study

Post by RogerB » Sun Jun 14, 2020 7:14 pm

This is the only relevant letter I have so far. You can check the Mint Entry-1 documents Box 149 Part 2 through Box 155 on the Newman Numismatic Portal (NNP)
18871125 SF Dies for 1888_Page_1.jpg
18871125 SF Dies for 1888_Page_1.jpg (100.37 KiB) Viewed 368 times
18871125 SF Dies for 1888_Page_2.jpg
18871125 SF Dies for 1888_Page_2.jpg (82.42 KiB) Viewed 368 times

VamHelsing
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Re: 1888-S Morgan Dollar Die Study

Post by VamHelsing » Sun Jun 14, 2020 7:21 pm

Outstanding work, as usual!! Thanks!

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LateDateMorganGuy
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Re: 1888-S Morgan Dollar Die Study

Post by LateDateMorganGuy » Sun Jun 14, 2020 7:41 pm

Thanks Roger. That is interesting!

RogerB
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Re: 1888-S Morgan Dollar Die Study

Post by RogerB » Sun Jun 14, 2020 7:49 pm

I found no other San Francisco Mint die orders in late 1887 for dies dated 1888. Have not checked all the 1888 boxes - that fun is reserved for " LateDateMorganGuy."

NARA RG104 Entry 271 Vol 4 "Coinage Executed" confirms production noted by LateDateMorganGuy, above.
Last edited by RogerB on Sun Jun 14, 2020 7:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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LateDateMorganGuy
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Re: 1888-S Morgan Dollar Die Study

Post by LateDateMorganGuy » Sun Jun 14, 2020 7:52 pm

You sent me a bunch of stuff from late 1887 to early 1888 to search for cancelled die correspondence. I did not find any, but I was not looking for this current info. I will go back and look for die requests or shipping to SF. Thanks.

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Kurt28
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Re: 1888-S Morgan Dollar Die Study

Post by Kurt28 » Mon Jun 15, 2020 3:44 pm

I find your die charts very helpful, and I thank you for you research.
I hope some day you will render an opinion on the 1904-O VAMs 29 and 47 reverse dies.

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LateDateMorganGuy
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Re: 1888-S Morgan Dollar Die Study

Post by LateDateMorganGuy » Mon Jun 15, 2020 4:15 pm

Kurt, I don;t have the Scott Unofficial 1904-O Reference set in front of me, it is in another state right now. Bring this back up to me on July 2nd or 3rd and I can take a look. Thanks.

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LorenAlbert
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Re: 1888-S Morgan Dollar Die Study

Post by LorenAlbert » Sat Jun 27, 2020 1:09 pm

Keep in mind that the purpose of a die study is NOT to find examples of specific VAMs, just to identify different dies and die marriages. Tying dies and die marriages to specific VAMs is just an outcome if it can be done at all.
Excellent work. I appreciate the hours and expense that is apt to have gone into this study. The "die marriage and progression" chart provides strategic scaffolding for anyone starting a die study.
You have inspired me to create an interactive chart whereby each blue box is linked to photographs of the corresponding coin.
Last edited by LorenAlbert on Sat Jun 27, 2020 5:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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LateDateMorganGuy
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Re: 1888-S Morgan Dollar Die Study

Post by LateDateMorganGuy » Sat Jun 27, 2020 5:42 pm

I am pulling together some info on the 88-S die study, and found a boo-boo in the die incest and die progression chart. The OD8 in the lower right hand box should have been OD11. The corrected version is below.
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Die Incest.jpg
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