Identifying Newcomb Numbers of Braided Hair Large Cents

Discussion in 'US Coins Forum' started by kanga, Oct 10, 2019.

  1. kanga

    kanga 65 Year Collector

    I'm getting ready to identify the die varieties of Braided Hair Large Cents (1839-1857).
    I've got the full Red Book listed set.
    Now I have to try and ID the die varieties.
    My set consists of 33 coins only 4 of which have been identified.

    I tried once before and found that it's NOT a trivial exercise.
    I've got the definitive book, The Die Varieties of United States Large Cents 1840-1857 by John R. Grellman, Jr.
    The most widely used identifying system is Newcomb Numbers.
    I also have a reprint of the original Newcomb book.
    The Grellman book has eliminated many of the varieties listed in the Newcomb book.
    Grellman found that Newcomb had identified many coins as a die variety that were in fact a die state.

    This time I'll try to be more patient but many of the identifying features are just slightly different from one coin to the next.
    And other identifying features are lost rather quickly when a coin has been circulated.

    If the going gets rough I'll have to see if I can get help from others in here.
    And maybe from EAC too if they deal with this issue.
    longshot likes this.
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  3. gronnh20

    gronnh20 Well-Known Member

    The hardest part about ID'ing large cents is the positioning that is used without some sort of graphics to show where say left of center is. I have the hardest time with the point of the bust markers. Since, I am looking for all die pairings for 1852 this may be easier for me than say collecting one of each year. I am not trying to advertise for this person. I do see him at all the coin shows I attend because he lives in the same state. The guy at Frisco Mint places Newcomb numbers on most all of his large cent inventory. He has professional photography done. I was able to find pics of all the die pairings I was looking for. And I did buy a coin for the research help. Plus it was a die pair I was looking for in my price range. I would use him as a source for research. You can find him on eBay.
  4. kanga

    kanga 65 Year Collector

    So you're from Texas :D
    I know who you are referring to.
    I've bought most of my Early Copper from him.
  5. gronnh20

    gronnh20 Well-Known Member

    100% Texan, born and raised here. I haven't bought anything from him at the shows. He brings select pieces to shows. I have to go to his website or eBay to see his whole inventory.
  6. messydesk

    messydesk Well-Known Member

    This is a tricky bunch to attribute. I've done some with the Newcomb book, but as any sane person would, I prefer the Grellman book that I've since picked up. I don't get sent these for attribution very often, though.
  7. TypeCoin971793

    TypeCoin971793 Just a random nobody...

    There’s so little variation between varieties that I often wonder why people go out of their way to pay $$$$ for rare late-date varieties. They are very difficult to attribute without $500 books because there is so little difference. But the differences apparently matter, so I continue killing my eyes attributing them in case I have a rare variety.

    The book you have is excellent. I always start with the date and narrow down the varieties from there. It typically reduces the number of potential varieties from 20-50 to 5-10. Then you narrow it down further by specific die diagnostics (spikes, cracks, etc) and compare to images.

    (I used a digital copy of the Newcomb book because I didn’t care enough to pay $500 for the updated Grellman/Noyes books)
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2019
  8. kanga

    kanga 65 Year Collector

    I did 1839, 1840 and 1841 okay.
    But from past trials I knew some tough identifications were coming.
    My 1842 with a PCGS label saying Large Date is now busting my chops.

    Many of the PUP's don't survive handling much below AU-55.
    The 1842 I'm looking at is a VF-25.
    I think (?) I spotted something with my 9x loupe so now I have to put the coin under my stereo microscope and try to confirm what I think I see.

    Well, it keeps me off the street.
  9. TypeCoin971793

    TypeCoin971793 Just a random nobody...

    I always start with the date before PUPs for that very reason. I would recommend doing the same
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