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About the STARS in Capped Bust Halves

17 posts in this topic

I figured I'd put down a quick assessment of the cause and effect of flowing metal and die lapping on the stars of Capped Bust Halves, because, I just came accross an ebay listing that called the drawn out stars as a shooting star error. It is NOT an error.


Firstly, you have to understand that the Capped Bust Halves were minted using a Screw Press. They didn't use a COLLAR, so the pressure and the heat generated by striking, allowed for flowing OUT of the metal, towards the periphery of the coin, concentrically. Think of arrows pointing outward, joind at the tail at the center of the coin, and extending outwards, in a complete circle. {I'm sure physics-fan will be able to modify this description of mine to fit a more scientifically accurate one}.


The first two pictures will be 'normal stars' i.e., an earlier die state where the die has not yet worn enough to create the effect we are talking about here. This can be a bit tricky, because there were different kinds of stars used throughout this series, plus, even in early die states you might see some stretching out of the peripheral arms of some of the stars, just because of the nature of metal flow with this kind of minting operation. If you examine these photos, you'll notice (possibly) that some of the stars may show a slightly longer outer radial arm than others, and this demonstrates the point I just made.


The third and fourth photos will show the stars starting to stretch outwards due to progressive wearing out of the dies, allowing for metal to flow outwards, thus causing stretching of the points of the stars facing outwards.


The fifth photo is a close up of a die crack which happens, also, to show an outer star radial arm stretching outwards due to die wear.


I was going to show a photo of very thin stars. This is not from stretching, it is from die lapping which lowered the relief of the die, thus narrowing the arms of the stars, such that they appear spindly, but I'll put that in another post.



Knowing all this (aside from die cracking and shattering), will enable you to quickly ascertain the die state of a particular die.


I hope this helps and clarifies things a bit for some of the collectors here, and I welcome any contributions that could help refine this post.







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Fantastic post, Mike, and it really illlustrates that when folks understand the minting process they can interpret their coins to a greater degree.

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Sign of a true collector Mike.

You don't collect by opening your wallet and buying a collection

When you learn about numismatics and history, the collecting part becomes more and more fun. You start to collect to learn more and the more you learn the more you want to collect.

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You always make my coins look.........look............disposable.


Can we make seperate forums like the powers that be make different grades?






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Great info there Mike. I'm gonna have to come back to this post tomorrow so I can copy it and save it in my info files. Not on my Pc right now. Thanks for taking the time and great post!

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I appreciate all the positive input about this post, and I'm glad if it helps anyone understand Busties any better.


Zach, your very nice, organic, 1824, shows evidence of both a worn die ( all of the stars stretching out peripherally) and die lapping (the spindly stars 8-12)

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Very informative post, Mike.


Just to confuse the issue, however, how about a sequence which shows the "comet tails" (nice phrase, by the way--wrong but still nice) going backwards due to lapping.


1827/6 O-101 no streching



1827/6 O-102 stars all drawn to edge.



1827/6 O-103 stars pared back from edge due to lapping.


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