• When you click on links to various merchants on this site and make a purchase, this can result in this site earning a commission. Affiliate programs and affiliations include, but are not limited to, the eBay Partner Network.


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

Spindly stars on Capped Bust Halves

2 posts in this topic

Just an addendum to my previous post, I want to briefly explain why stars on the Capped Bust Halves become spindly. Sometimes people mistake this for a good strike. No, it's not a striking issue. The dies have been lapped, the surfaces worn away by this process, thus, the relief gets lowered and the metal flows more easily into the inner recesses of the punched out star, yet, the radial arms are narrowed because the lapping process has worn away the most exposed part of the incused star.


I apologize if my explanation is a little off, grammatically, but if you can get your hands on Souders' Bust Half Fever, he explains the die making process and has illustrations, which make it a bit easier to understand. In brief, the Master Die is made with just the Bust and the Eagle incused on it. From the Master Die, a Master Hub is made, in which the Bust and Eagle are now in 'relief', and then this is used to make the Working Die (WD), where the Bust and Eagle are incused again. The WD is then used in the minting process to strike the planchets and then the coin is produced. The stars and dentils are hand punched into the WD individually. The lines on the shield are hand engraved onto the WD. This is what allows for so many die varieties to exist, and what drives so many collectors NUTS enough to collect all these different die varieties (and thus the Bust Half Nut Club).


So if you can picture the surface of the WD with the entire design ultimately incused (indented) into it, then you can see why lapping the die will wear down the surface (polishing it in effect), and narrow down the upper and outer edges of the incused stars. Thus, when metal flows into them, there is less space to fill, and that space which is filled, is the innermost recesses of the incused star. The result is that they look very detailed, but also spindly.


Here are some examples:


First, I'll show an 1812 where the stars are full, and don't show evidence of die lapping. You'll see how wide the arms of the stars really are. The ones that are flat, are that way because the metal didn't fill the space entirely.


You'll see, with the lapped dies causing spindly stars, that the metal fills most if not all of them. That's because there's less space to fill! It is not due to a 'better strike'.


The reps I'll use here to demonstrated the spindly stars are an 1809 III edge I no longer own, and the 1820/19 especially star 10-13.


If anyone wants to post their spindly stars, it would help.





Link to comment
Share on other sites

Great analgoy here Mike, I understood everything and completly about spindly stars. I had no idea that the dentils were hand stamped!


That 1812 Bust is one handsome looking coin!


Thanks for the time and effort applied to these posts.

Link to comment
Share on other sites