I believe that state 1 and state 2 pertain to bronze medals only. There are no state 1 or state 2 silver medals that I know of, and I have pictures of 4 of the 6 known silver medals. On the stage 2 bronze medals, the collar hid the die break at 12:00 somehow, and created a smaller diameter. Adams /Bentley was not that clear about this. I personally think the die progression has some other nuances as well, unnoted in the book. I have a few bronze originals, and other bronze later strikes all struck with original dies, and all stage 1, and even a medal struck after 1880 - cornucopia-bronze - also stage 1 and struck with original dies. I have never seen a stage 2 medal in person.
Ford Part 14, Lot 220 was a state 2, Lot 221 was a state 1. Look closely, and you'll see the collar hides the die break, and the diameter is smaller.
All silver medals are of this combination seen here, though the Ford example appears not to have the reverse rust spots. They are definitely there though; it is just that the reverse is weakly struck. Look closely and you'll see them. The Dreyfus example has them as well. The Washington Webster is an exception, and was struck with near perfect dies, and was obviously the first medal struck with the dies. There are a few of the rust spots on the reverse, but the noteworthy obverse 12:00 die break is minimal. You can't really tell this from the picture of it in Adams/Bentley, at least not my copy.
Jefferson had two silver Howard medals struck, several months apart. The first for the awardee Col. Howard, and the second as part of the Washington/Webster set. During this time, the dies were poorly stored, and rusted. I believe the second silver medal struck has the die rust and damage, which occurs quickly if the dies are not maintained.
My theory, pure conjecture, is that the medal in the Upton holder for the Washington/Webster set was the first struck medal. It is just too pristine. Jefferson had the 2 medals, and could choose. By the way, the Upton holder was manufactured in France, and Jefferson completed the Washington Webster set in France. This isn't stated explicitly in Adams/Bentley.
Whether Washington picked the first struck pristine Howard medal or Jefferson did for that Upton presentation set? They both had the 2 silver Howard medals, and could have picked which one went where. Under the same conjecture I believe it was Jefferson, since Jefferson seemed more concerned with the complete presentation sets than with getting the awarded medals to their rightful recipients. From what I could tell, he had less concern about John Howard or William Washington, at least compared to putting together that silver presentation set, since it was his baby - his idea - to make the Upton Silver presentation sets, and to produce and use them as diplomatic gifts. Washington did not seem to care about any of the medals either way, so I do not believe it was him.
The medal you see here now resides in an NGC large size holder as an original silver John Howard medal, graded MS 61, a grade that to a medal collector is meaningless, other than the fact that it is Uncirculated vs. AU for the Ford and Dreyfuss example. Both Ford and Dreyfuss examples have notable digs in the fields; this example is definitely more pristine. Also, the Ford example was bezeled or mounted at some point. By the way, of course the edge on this medal is plain, and has a witness line. This medal also has a better strike than either Ford or Dreyfus, particularly on the reverse. The reverse strike here even exceeds the sharpness of the Washington-Webster example.
I was smart enough to take over 100 pictures of my medal, including the edge, before sending it to NGC. The pics I posted here are pre-encapsulation.
By the way, without giving away all of the secrets I discovered about this medal, since I have done a ton of research, and am working on a piece for publication, lets just say that the original Howard medal is traceable, and I have been able to trace it throughout some of it's history. The medal at the MdHS is definitely NOT the original, (or even a stuck medal at all) and the person who donated it, or more accurately bequeathed it, had only a copy; I assume they obtained the copy as a proud member of the Howard family and the history of it's Patriarch, John Eager Howard. I can only guess that the curator at the MdHS who was bequeathed the medal in 1959 did not know any better, and simply assumed since it came from a Howard family member, and looked silver, it was the original.
One of the cool aspects to my research is that by accident, I may ultimately locate the original gold Daniel Morgan medal as well. I am so close and yet so far.
And I have not proved this is the awarded medal; not yet. I am missing at least one important piece of research, which requires me to fly to Baltimore personally to complete. Fortunately, the remaining research can only prove, and not disprove, that this is the original. Unfortunately, if the research does not prove this to be the awarded Howard medal, it may be impossible to ever determine which medal was actually awarded to Howard.
Sorry for all of the mystery, it is too early for now to make any definitive statements.