ASE Designs Changes

Discussion in 'Bullion Investing' started by DWSchmidt, Sep 23, 2018.

  1. DWSchmidt

    DWSchmidt New Member

    I recently viewed a YouTube video on detecting fake American Silver Eagles and one of the things he said to look for was the detail on the star field of the flag on the obverse. On the coin that was identified as fake, the field surrounding the stars was undulating but smooth, whereas the field on the real ASE was undulating but marked with fine line crosshatching.

    I thought that was interesting so I pulled out a tube of ASE culls that I had purchased recently and examined them. There were two coins from the 80's (an 1988 & 1989) that displayed smooth, non-crosshatched fields. I then noticed that the coins from the 1990's had crosshatching but it was much less well-defined than the crosshatching on the coins from the 2000's. I also pulled out my copy of American Silver Eagles by John Mercanti and looked closely at the pictures of the years in question and noticed the same thing. A gradual strengthening of the lines over time.

    Is this a documented design variety? Has else anyone noticed this?
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  3. rte

    rte Well-Known Member

    Im sure there are some die changing over the years.
    I have gathered a few over the years, I don't scrutinize them too much But I do check everything that comes in with a rare earth magnet and check the weight.
    So far so good.
  4. wcoins

    wcoins GEM-ber

    In 2008 they made changes to the reverse. Some 2008 coins were struck with the reverse of 2007, making them very valuable.

    I don't know of any other changes. Could you post some images or links?
  5. DWSchmidt

    DWSchmidt New Member

    I will try to post three images of the area in question from three coins that show the transition.

    ASE 1986.jpg ASE 1989.jpg ASE 1991.jpg

    You will have to take my word for the coins' dates. I couldn't get an image of the whole coin with sufficient detail on the flag field. If you examine the star field between Lady Liberty's face and outstretched arm you will see that on the 1986 there are no lines between the stars. On the 1989, the lines are very light. On the 1991, they are quite prominent.
    Spark1951, wcoins and Tater like this.
  6. DWSchmidt

    DWSchmidt New Member

    I use a magnet slide also, and a Fisch detector. I was not concerned about any of my coins but rather just if anyone else had noticed the transition in the star field from no lines to faint lines to prominent lines in the first 5 years of the ASE.
  7. green18

    green18 Sweet on Commemorative Coins Supporter

    Buy the 'disks' from reputable dealers, or the US Mint and there is no need for worry.......
  8. Numiser

    Numiser Active Member

    I have a 1988 ASE that's been in storage for 30 years. I compared it to my 2018 ASE and there is more detail over the entire coin on the 2018.


    Here's the 2018 close up.
    And now the 1988.


    The detail is much softer in the star field but you can see the hatching when moving the coin around. Even the lines in the dress have more depth.
    green18 likes this.
  9. Comixbooks

    Comixbooks Active Member

    Yeah I like the old ASE better they were less defined and blended in better.
    The .50 cent walking liberty half dollar coins look the best actually because of the size and less defined image. Modern ASE look really bad since the mid 2000s when someone was bored at the Mint and decided to tweak the engraving.
  10. DWSchmidt

    DWSchmidt New Member

    De gustibus non est disputandum

    If it were simply a matter of esthetics, I might defer to your preference for a "less defined and blended" design. However, more intricately executed details are a deterrent to counterfeiters. Perhaps in order to keep the classic ASE design, which I personally believe approaches perfection (no hyperbole here ;)), the mint could include a design element similar to the Canadian mint's privy marks (but with a different name to avoid the unfortunate reference to pre-indoor plumbing). A variety of finely detailed marks could be employed such as the Liberty Bell from the Franklin half, the native American profile or buffalo (bison) of the old nickel, or a flying eagle from any number of old designs, etc. These marks would also add a certain interest to collectors and allow for the current Walking Liberty/Heraldic Eagle design to remain unchanged.

    If the mint feels additional interest in the bullion program is needed, perhaps fractional ounce coins could be introduced or announce multiple ounce coins to replace the 5 oz ATB program when it ends. This would allow more artistic license by changing the designs regularly like the Australian kookaburras, but the mint design approval committees must avoid turning any new coins into a commemorative program as the Sacagawea dollars have become: i.e. With what relatively obscure facet of American history can we beguile the numismatists of America since no one else is paying attention.

    Comixbooks likes this.
  11. TheFinn

    TheFinn Well-Known Member

    The mint has slowly been lowering the relief of the ASEs, while at the same time sharpening the design. This has happened to all coins issued by the US Mint since the late 20th century. Look at a 1938 Jefferson nickel and compare it to a 2002. 1959 Lincoln cent to a 2008. Personally, I like the early designs as they were intended by the artist, not the "dumbing down" by putting in details that were to be left to one's imagination.
    Comixbooks likes this.
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