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1920 Pilgrim 50 c. commemorative varieties


bobh
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I bought this one 4 or 5 years ago on eBay:

1920 Pilgrim Tercentenary 50 cent commemorative

For the longest time, I thought that the little "X" on the collar was some kind of scratch or graffiti. Now I realize that it is actually part of the design! ;)

 

However, looking at other references, I found that the "X" doesn't always seem to be in the same place. For example, the 2010 Red Book shows the X higher up on the collar. On the 1921 issue, it seems to have disappeared. :ninja: Is there documentation for these differences somewhere? Anybody else have pictures of Pilgrim commems with the X in other places?

 

Thanks! ;)

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Did you check out heritage archives?

 

I'm impressed by the folks that find/document varieties of lincoln cents, but it's even more impressive to focus on a low mintage series and document varieties. How many years does it take to see a representative sample of a rare date and find all the varieties?

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Did you check out heritage archives?

No ... :ninja: ... excellent idea, though!

I'm impressed by the folks that find/document varieties of lincoln cents, but it's even more impressive to focus on a low mintage series and document varieties. How many years does it take to see a representative sample of a rare date and find all the varieties?

Well, Van Allen and Mallis started working on the VAM varieties of Morgan and Peace dollars independently of each other back in the 1960's or even late 50's. It wasn't until decades later that they joined forces and wrote the VAM book. There are newer VAM varieties on the VAM website, and new ones are constantly being discovered.

 

Don't know if there is an answer to that one ... we have 7 different obverse varieties for the 1897 Russian 15 rouble gold coins now. Just imagine: this coin was designed as a transition from one gold standard to another and was intended to be struck in 1897 only. Yet there are three pattern varieties and at least four distinct circulation varieties! Kazakov's reference, published in 2004, documents all but one of them which is actually a sub-variety (Adam's apple vs. no Adam's apple) ... I wrote about this one in the last issue of the Journal of the Russian Numismatic Society.

 

In general, the older the coin, the more varieties will be found because of variables or deficits inherent in the manufacturing process at the time. That's why there are so few varieties of Lincoln cents or Buffalo nickels, for example. And where there are varieties, e.g. the 3-legged Buffalos, they are often the result of an error in the manufacturing process (excessive die polish in this case) and not of any intentional change in the design. This is also the case for most of the VAM varieties of Morgan dollars, the most notable exception being the 1878 repunching of the 7 over 8 eagle tail feathers.

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I don't see an X like that on any images of the Pilgrim half that I can find including images of the original models. Breen list two types based on a few early proofs, but those involve the size of the hat, and varieties created by a die class are noted. The X doesn't show up anywhere that I can see, and mine doesn't have an X on the collar.

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No ... :ninja: ... excellent idea, though!

 

Well, Van Allen and Mallis started working on the VAM varieties of Morgan and Peace dollars independently of each other back in the 1960's or even late 50's. It wasn't until decades later that they joined forces and wrote the VAM book. There are newer VAM varieties on the VAM website, and new ones are constantly being discovered.

 

Don't know if there is an answer to that one ... we have 7 different obverse varieties for the 1897 Russian 15 rouble gold coins now. Just imagine: this coin was designed as a transition from one gold standard to another and was intended to be struck in 1897 only. Yet there are three pattern varieties and at least four distinct circulation varieties! Kazakov's reference, published in 2004, documents all but one of them which is actually a sub-variety (Adam's apple vs. no Adam's apple) ... I wrote about this one in the last issue of the Journal of the Russian Numismatic Society.

 

In general, the older the coin, the more varieties will be found because of variables or deficits inherent in the manufacturing process at the time. That's why there are so few varieties of Lincoln cents or Buffalo nickels, for example. And where there are varieties, e.g. the 3-legged Buffalos, they are often the result of an error in the manufacturing process (excessive die polish in this case) and not of any intentional change in the design. This is also the case for most of the VAM varieties of Morgan dollars, the most notable exception being the 1878 repunching of the 7 over 8 eagle tail feathers.

 

THanks for the great answer. Good luck if you use Heritage. That's the primary reason I use that site.

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For the longest time, I thought that the little "X" on the collar was some kind of scratch or graffiti. Now I realize that it is actually part of the design!

In the meantime, I have been searching through the Heritage auction archives. Also, I have been scrutinizing my own coin a bit more (or at least the pictures of it).

 

I'm certainly not convinced that this is a variety; the marks on my coin exhibit all the characteristics of scratches or gouges. The metal is raised along the edges of the marks. But I do think they were put there intentionally. However, who in their right mind would do this to an $80-$100 coin? :ninja:

 

In the meantime, take a look at these coins from Heritage. They all show some kind of marks in exactly the same place as my coin:

http://coins.ha.com/common/view_item.php?S...2702&src=pr

http://coins.ha.com/common/view_item.php?S...9324&src=pr

http://coins.ha.com/common/view_item.php?S...6452&src=pr

http://coins.ha.com/common/view_item.php?S...9184&src=pr

http://coins.ha.com/common/view_item.php?S...4313&src=pr

http://coins.ha.com/common/view_item.php?S...4865&src=pr

 

Am I seeing things, ;) or does it look like there might have been some die polish on that spot to get rid of what might have made those marks on my coin? I see at least some definite ghost images of the very same marks here. The third and the last link are especially intirguing to me. Since I am only on the 4th page of the search results, I have some hopes of finding more of these. ;)

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OK, I've looked at about 250 of the Heritage pilgrims and have concluded that the marks are definitely not part of the design. But I am not convinced that these are mere scratches or graffiti. After all, this obverse design has such large, empty fields that if someone were to feel the urge to put graffiti on a coin like this, I wouldn't do it on the collar... :ninja:

 

In the meantime, I have a theory which might sound a little crazy, but I think at least some of the pictures support this. Obviously, as thedeadpoint says, none of the Heritage pictures shows the marks as clearly as those on my coin. But there are some (relatively few) which show some kind of ghost image at exactly the same place.

 

Could it have been an error strike with some stray piece or pieces of metal which got onto the die? Perhaps several coins were struck before it was noticed, then the metal on the die, which might have been fairly well baked onto it by then, was removed by polishing, but not completely? This would account for the ghost images. I would assume that the relatively few coins with the defect should have been melted down, but maybe they decided to release them anyway because of the low mintage number?

 

Here is an interesting specimen which exhibits a completely different mark:

http://coins.ha.com/common/view_item.php?S...amp;Lot_No=1196

If you open the first large image of the obverse, you'll notice a small hook-shaped anomaly in the collar. It is not visible on the large images of the slab, only on the obverse detail. Nevertheless, the coin made it into a slab at MS-67!

 

As to die polish, it is quite amazing how liberally this was done on many of the coins. Mine has quite a lot of it. Anyway, I will continue to look and perhaps will find some more evidence to support my theory. It would be nice to hear about other coins with erroneous marks which originated in this way.

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