Please test my attribution - 1861-O Half Dollar

Discussion in 'US Coins Forum' started by snewman, Apr 5, 2020.

  1. snewman

    snewman Active Member

    Long time no post. One benefit of the pandemic is that I get to spend some more time with my coins. :)

    Picked this (PCGS AU55) up off of Ebay about 10 years ago but never had time for attribution. Found the Gobrecht Journal archives (#94 and #97) where Wiley did a remarkable job in sleuthing to describe the variety of 1861-O Half Dollars (Union, Lousiana, and CSA minting).

    Also found Bill Bugert's incredible work on Liberty Seated Half Dollars - online for free. Thank you, Bill!

    It is obviously a Reverse B - die crack through the top of the end of STATES OF and again to the end of AMERICA. The O was centered.

    I waffled between Obverse 4 and Obverse 1 due to the upward tilt of the date - couldn't have been Obverse 3. Because the die-cracks on the reverse were pretty strong, I assumed this was Obverse 4 - but there are NO tell tale die cracks whatsoever going from the second 1 in the date to Liberty's toes - and no die cracks from the rock up through the first star. As such, I have to assume that it is Obverse 1 - known as die marriage W-02. That would make it Union made - and somewhat rare.

    Thoughts? Also - any thoughts on how to best make scratches in slabs disappear? :)


    1861-o-obv.jpg 1861-o-obv2.jpg 1861-O-Rev.jpg
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  3. Ruthlankford68

    Ruthlankford68 Active Member

  4. YoloBagels

    YoloBagels Well-Known Member

    I use oil/grease when there's a lot of small hairlines on a slab(temporary). Lovely coin, confederate era silver coinage is very interesting. I can see it going AU55, maybe AU58 in a TPG.

    I am terrible at attributions in this field, so unfortunately I'll have to pass attribution checking for now.
    snewman likes this.
  5. ldhair

    ldhair Clean Supporter

    Nice coin.
  6. Ruthlankford68

    Ruthlankford68 Active Member

  7. Ruthlankford68

    Ruthlankford68 Active Member

    .idk what all that is, still learning. But very nice and thank you for sharing
    snewman likes this.
  8. snewman

    snewman Active Member

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  9. Seba79

    Seba79 Well-Known Member

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  10. snewman

    snewman Active Member

    Just to close the loop - I also posted in the LSCC website and a friendly guy helped talk me through it. Decided the only way to know for sure about the obverse, was to geek out and take measurements.

    I zoomed in and made 3 measurements on my coin's obverse, and then Bill Bugert's photos of Obverse 1 and Obverse 4. Measured according to the photo below from the corner of the top of each 1 to the rock above - and then from the bottom of the outside of each of the 1s, using Photoshop's measurement.

    I put the measurements into Excel and then found the ratio of each of the measurements to see which was the better match. Naturally, there is some error involved, but the trend was obvious. My coin has a lower ratio (less steep of a slant) than Obverse 4. This is good enough for me to feel comfortable with a W-02 attribution.

    measure-1861o.jpg measure-data.jpg
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  11. snewman

    snewman Active Member

    Turns out - I was wrong. The measurements align better with Obv 3, but I had eliminated that one since it described the date as "level." That makes this W-09, and CSA. Fun way to spend a couple of days though!
    micbraun and longshot like this.
  12. micbraun

    micbraun coindiccted

    Good job! I believe the CSA varieties are highly collectible.
  13. Ruthlankford68

    Ruthlankford68 Active Member

    Thank you for the pdf's and documents. All the info. Very nice.
  14. willieboyd2

    willieboyd2 First Class Poster

    I also have a United States 1861-O half dollar purchased in 2012. It is not graded but it would grade about VF-35.

    United States half dollar 1861-O obverse

    United States half dollar 1861-O reverse

    I looked at Bill Bugert's PDF file on Liberty Seated Half Dollar Varieties and took some measurements from photographs of my coin.

    I could not find any die cracks, the 'O' was similar to the Pdf photograph for die marriage type W-03, and the Pdf date grid numbers also matched type W-03, a State of Louisiana type the Pdf rated as "average".

    Any comments?

    Last edited: Apr 8, 2020
  15. PlanoSteve

    PlanoSteve Well-Known Member

    This will depend on how bad/deep the scratches are (& not for actual cracks).

    In all cases, start with a clean, soft, dampened cloth, such as an old T-shirt. Never use a power tool - only your finger wrapped in cloth! (ie, your Dremel should never even be in the same room as your coins! :jawdrop::joyful:)

    Start with the least aggressive polish, such as "whitening" tooth paste (usually white, it has a very fine grit which may be enough do the job; I've used this). After trying a spot, wipe off with a clean damp cloth & hopefully that will do the trick. It may take awhile.

    If that doesn't meet you satisfaction, use auto polishing compound (auto parts store). It has a slightly more aggressive grit & works great, if needed. (I use "Turtle Wax" brand to polish my acrylic pens on a lathe - the result is a stunning glass like finish. This works so well, you may have to do the entire surface to make it look even. :D) Again, wipe clean only with a clean dampened cloth.

    If this doesn't work, the last thing I would try is one of the headlight restoring kits (also at an auto parts store). I have not used this myself, but if needed I would not hesitate to try it.

    In all these instances above, be sure to not leave any residue on the coffin. :p And always use a damp, not dripping wet, cloth. ;)

    After that, I would either learn to live with it, or send it to the TPG for re-holdering.

    Under NO CIRCUMSTANCES should you ever use/apply wax, grease, oil or any other substance which will remain on the surface & possibly degrade or contaminate the holder :(, or transfer to your hands while fondling :D your trophy!

    Hope that helps...JMO! :happy:;)
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