Tampered dies.

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PacificWR
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Tampered dies.

Post by PacificWR » Sat Jan 23, 2021 10:16 pm

Looks like the San Francisco Mint tampered with more than Morgan Dollar dies and Charles Barber was not too happy about it. Checkout the correspondence below.

************************* Charles Barber letter. Click the photo to view at full resolution. ***************************
Image Image

DHalladay
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Re: Tampered dies.

Post by DHalladay » Sat Jan 23, 2021 10:37 pm

I still haven't deciphered several words in his flowing, elegant and sometimes a bit smeared handwriting.
When in doubt... don't.

Kissov
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Re: Tampered dies.

Post by Kissov » Sat Jan 23, 2021 11:05 pm

My interpretation:

I respectfully call your attention to the fact that some person at the U.S. Mint at San Francisco has been tampering with dies sent there for coinage. I have discovered this upon examination of those dies returned from last years order. To what extent this may have been carried I am unable to say, but it is very apparent on both Eagle and Half Eagle dies. This not only causes a loss of these dies, but as you well understand it destroys all uniformity of coinage if irresponsible persons are allowed to make such changes in the engraving as to them seems necessary.

I feel that I need hardly say that as the dies sent to the mint at San Francisco are from the same hubs as those used by this and all the other mints there can be no necessity for them to try any of their improvements, and further if the dies sent to them are not satisfactory they have their proper remedy in making a complaint.

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PacificWR
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Re: Tampered dies.

Post by PacificWR » Sat Jan 23, 2021 11:39 pm

Kissov wrote:
Sat Jan 23, 2021 11:05 pm
My interpretation:

I respectfully call your attention to the fact that some person at the U.S. Mint at San Francisco has been tampering with dies sent there for coinage. I have discovered this upon examination of those dies returned from last years order. To what extent this may have been carried I am unable to say, but it is very apparent on both Eagle and Half Eagle dies. This not only causes a loss of these dies, but as you well understand it destroys all uniformity of coinage if irresponsible persons are allowed to make such changes in the engraving as to them seems necessary.

I feel that I need hardly say that as the dies sent to the mint at San Francisco are from the same hubs as those used by this and all the other mints there can be no necessity for them to try any of their improvements, and further if the dies sent to them are not satisfactory they have their proper remedy in making a complaint.
That is exactly right. The English is a little halting and the ink has become a little smeared over time, but this is not uncommon with the records from the Mint.

Namvet69
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Re: Tampered dies.

Post by Namvet69 » Sat Jan 23, 2021 11:47 pm

Yeah, he was pissed. He should have been notified and involved in any perceived design problem. It'd be like a priest putting a mole on Mona Lisa's nose with a sharpie. Peace Roy

DHalladay
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Re: Tampered dies.

Post by DHalladay » Sun Jan 24, 2021 12:00 am

Many thanks for the transcription Kissov!
When in doubt... don't.

RogerB
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Re: Tampered dies.

Post by RogerB » Sun Jan 24, 2021 1:08 am

Transcription accompanying the letter. The syntax is typical of many of Barber's letters. He dictated them to a clerk who had to figure out punctuation. It is not clear why the much more severe alterations made to dollar dies were not discovered. Possibly, the dies had been defaced before sending them back to Philadelphia.


United States Mint, Philadelphia, Pa.
Engraver’s Department

November 1, 1883

I respectfully call your attention to the fact that some person at the U.S. Mint at San Francisco has been tampering with dies sent there for coinage. I have discovered this upon examination of those dies returned from last year’s [1882] order. To what extent this may have been carried I am unable to say, but it is very apparent on both Eagle and Half Eagle die. This not only causes a loss of these dies, but as you well understand it destroys all uniformity of coinage if irresponsible persons are allowed to make such changes in the engraving as to them seems necessary.

I feel that I need hardly say that as the dies sent to the Mint at San Francisco are from the same hubs as those used by this and all the other Mints, there can be no necessity for them to try any of their improvements; and further if the dies sent to them are not satisfactory they have their proper remedy, in making a complaint.

I am very respectfully,
Your obedient servant,
Charles E. Barber, Engraver


Hon. H. Loudon Snowden,
Superintendent

dave700x
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Re: Tampered dies.

Post by dave700x » Sun Jan 24, 2021 1:20 am

but as you well understand it destroys all uniformity of coinage
How boring our hobby would be if this did not happen... :lol:
1883-O nut

vamnuke
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Re: Tampered dies.

Post by vamnuke » Sun Jan 24, 2021 12:32 pm

Wow. Dated 1883. We are glad he didn’t notice the early SF dollar dies or collecting today might be somewhat boring!

vamnuke
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Re: Tampered dies.

Post by vamnuke » Sun Jan 24, 2021 12:37 pm

So anyone have insights as to what “varieties” might be out there for 1882-s $5 & $10 gold coins for grins and chuckles?

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messydesk
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Re: Tampered dies.

Post by messydesk » Sun Jan 24, 2021 5:32 pm

vamnuke wrote:
Sun Jan 24, 2021 12:37 pm
So anyone have insights as to what “varieties” might be out there for 1882-s $5 & $10 gold coins for grins and chuckles?
There is an account of the alterations in a letter from Snowden, which is reproduced in From Mine to Mint in a section about unauthorized die modifications. It seems to be the IGWT ribbon was touched up to avoid polishing it out during basining. You can see this on the ends of the ribbon if you compare 82-S pictures with those from an 83-S or 84-S (see CoinFacts pictures). The modification is very similar to the re-engraved wreath leaves above ONE seen on 79-S - 82-S Morgans, where an additional outline was added where there wasn't supposed to be one.

Snowden seemed not only be cross with those making the modifications, but also with the die sinker they were covering for, for not preparing the dies such that this modification wouldn't be seen as necessary.
Welcome to the VAMWorld 2.0 discussion boards. R.I.P. old VAMWorld.

vamnuke
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Re: Tampered dies.

Post by vamnuke » Sun Jan 24, 2021 8:25 pm

Thanks for the additional info!

RogerB
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Re: Tampered dies.

Post by RogerB » Mon Jan 25, 2021 8:09 pm

messydesk wrote:
Sun Jan 24, 2021 5:32 pm
vamnuke wrote:
Sun Jan 24, 2021 12:37 pm
So anyone have insights as to what “varieties” might be out there for 1882-s $5 & $10 gold coins for grins and chuckles?
There is an account of the alterations in a letter from Snowden, which is reproduced in From Mine to Mint in a section about unauthorized die modifications. It seems to be the IGWT ribbon was touched up to avoid polishing it out during basining. You can see this on the ends of the ribbon if you compare 82-S pictures with those from an 83-S or 84-S (see CoinFacts pictures). The modification is very similar to the re-engraved wreath leaves above ONE seen on 79-S - 82-S Morgans, where an additional outline was added where there wasn't supposed to be one.

Snowden seemed not only be cross with those making the modifications, but also with the die sinker they were covering for, for not preparing the dies such that this modification wouldn't be seen as necessary.
Forgot I wrote that.....time flies.

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