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New Type (Should have been in NGC Journals, but did not post)

4 posts in this topic

[font:Arial]Member Journal Entry[/font]:

[font:Arial]New Variety[/font]

By: coin928


Posted: 1/30/2012 12:02:48 AM |


But what to call it?


A few years ago, I acquired several 1944S US/Philippines 50 Centavo pieces that have a slightly different reverse (figure side) than normal. I wish I could claim to have discovered this difference myself, but they were actually listed on eBay by a dealer in the Philippines as having the "Reverse of 1921." This reverse is most easily identified by the shape and lines of the Mt. Mayon volcano. The earlier volcano has very prominent lines spreading down the slope from the summit to the base and is flat or slightly concave. The later volcano lacks definition, has no lines, and is a bit convex in shape. The picture below clearly shows the differences.


Shortly after acquiring these coins, I consulted someone with more expertise than I had at the time, and he summarily dismissed the differences as the result of die erosion. The basis for his conclusion is not unreasonable and has some merit. The 50 Centavo coins of 1944 and 1945 were produced exclusively by the San Francisco mint, which last produced these coins in 1919, albeit with a different obverse. Massive quantities of coins were produced and dies were used well beyond their normal service lives. Towards the end of their lives, dies begin to show signs of erosion due to the metal flow in the coins as they are struck. Coins struck from these dies often show streaks in the direction of the metal flow. In this case, these streaks emanate from the center of the coin towards the rim. These flow lines are most notable near the rim where the letters often exhibit spikes emanating radially towards the rim. Other larger elements tend to become smeared, but also from the center outwards. This could explain why a small number of coins appear with well defined lines on their volcano, having been struck early in the die life, while the majority are poorly defined, having been struck after the die had eroded.


I do not believe these different reverses are due to die erosion however, and here's why:


- I have seen many 1944 coins with the common reverse that are very well struck and exhibit no other signs of having been struck from an eroded die.


- The design elements of the two volcanoes are distinctly different.


- The real reason though, is that I have never seen a 1945S 50 Centavo coin with a well defined volcano. If the poorly defined volcano is the result of die erosion, then there should be roughly the same number of coins for 1945 as for 1944 that exhibit the well defined volcano. This is simply not the case.


My conclusion is then that this is a true die variety for the year 1944 only. But what names should be applied to differentiate the two types? Here are several possibilities:


- reverse of 1921/reverse of 1944 (The last time a 50 Centavo coin was minted for general circulation was in Manila in 1921)

- reverse of 1919/reverse of 1944 (The last time a 50 Centavo coin was minted in San Francisco was in 1919)

- territorial reverse/commonwealth reverse (The US Territory became the Commonwealth of the Philippines in 1936.)

- early reverse/late reverse

- obverse of 1921/obverse of 1944 (NGC and many other sources refer to the figure side as the obverse, see my earlier journal post for an explanation)

- obverse of 1919/obverse of 1944 (NGC parlance)

- territorial obverse/commonwealth obverse (NGC parlance)

- early obverse/late obverse (NGC parlance)


My personal preference would be "territorial reverse/commonwealth reverse" since it leaves the dates out of it, and may actually account for why it exists.


I have two possible hypotheses for how these coins came to be:


1. There were one or more reverse dies left over in the San Francisco mint from 1919 when 50 Centavo coins were last produced there. These dies were used up and a new hub was created with a different style of volcano and all subsequent dies then had the new design.


2. A new obverse design had been created in 1936, and was only used by the Manila mint in 1936 to produce the Murphy/Quezon commemorative 50 centavo coins. Although the new obverse die had been married with the normal reverse in 1937 for the production of 10 and 20 Centavo coins, 1944 was the first year this combination was used to produce 50 Centavo coins. I have seen a reasonable number of 1944S 50 Centavos with the territorial reverse, and the obverse of these coins generally appears poorly struck and very flat in the lower areas of the shield and banner. It is my conjecture that the mint noticed this problem too and the reverse die was modified to improve the strike quality of the new commonwealth obverse.


The trick now will be to get NGC to recognize this as a true variety and list it on their label, since it is not a recognized variety in the most recent catalog by Lyman Allen.


I would appreciate your feedback, and since this journal entry did not post to the message board, I duplicated it here.




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I read your post and believe you are on the right track in figuring out this Centavo, but you really need to do more research on the status of the Mints in San Fransisco and especially the Manilla Branch mint during these time frames. So far there seems to be just conjecture on your part as to how the two different dies came to be.


Good luck



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Thanks for responding.


The primary focus of my post was to identify a new variety. I would like to know exactly how it came to be though. I did about as much discovery as I could given my geographical location (which is in the South Central USA). A trip to Manila, San Francisco, Philadelphia or Colorado Springs is probably the only way I will be able to get more information on my own. That's partly why I made this post. I was hoping that someone else would be able to shed more light on how it came to be..


The Manila Mint was damaged and taken over by the Japanese in December 1941, and was virtually destroyed by the Allies when Manila was liberated in early 1945. The question with respect to the Manila Mint would be whether or not they shipped any unused or partially used dies back to the USA prior to the capture of the Mint in 1945. This would seem doubtful to me, but again, I have nothing to base that doubt on. I think there is article in the latest Coin World that could provide some additional info on the destruction of the Manila Mint.


I would love to hear from anyone who has more information..


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Yet another Journal entry that didn't post as it should, so I'm adding it here a well.


Member Journal Entry:

Very Timely Article

By: coin928

Posted: 2/1/2012 9:32:53 AM


An article just published in the February 13, 2012 issue of Coin World is a very timely follow up to three recent journal entries.


The new article is titled "'Wilson Dollar' medal obverse die surfaces" and can be be found at http://www.coinworld.com/articles/wilson-dollar-medal-obverse-die-surfaces I don't know how long it will be available on line for non-subscribers though, so check it out soon.


All of the information seems pretty good except for the description of the reverse and what it depicts. What I find most interesting is the first person account of what happened to the Manila Mint immediately following the liberation of Manila.


The recent related NGC journal entries are:


The Mint and U.S. Military History


by JAA USA/Philippines Collection


My Latest USA/Philippines Acquisition



My Latest USA/Philippines Acquisition - the flip side



FYI, I am also attempting, yet again, to have this post on the message boards. A few people seem to have success. Maybe I'll be one of them today...

(or not)




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