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1861/0 half dime so called overdate

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There are coins from four different 1861 half dime obverse working dies that have been called 1861/0 overdates.


The diagnostics from the four dies around the date are exactly the same, supporting the conclusion that this was the result of a damaged date punch.


The shape, size, contour of the metal around the 1 is not in the same as a 0, therefore this cannot be an overdate.


Another alternative theiry was presented by Bill Fivaz. He believed that the date punch contained remnants of a 0.


Below is my analysis of this, seeking any feedback






In The Gobrecht Journal Collective Volume Number Three, Bill Fivaz wrote an article titled An Update on the 1861/0 Half Dime. On page 134, he speculates that date punch contained remnants of a 0 from when it was created, and therefore a valid overdate. Bill states that Tom DeLorey stated that "during this era it was not uncommon to manufacture a date punch by first sinking individual number punches into a steel block. This area of the block was then struck with a blank punch, forming the raised numbers on the logo." Bill states further that it was theoretically possible that an 1860 date had been punched into the block, that the block was abraded down, leaving only remnants of a 0, then the 1861 date was punched into the block.


If the Mint did punch single digits into a block of metal, then we should see the same digits showing a consistent size and shape in sequential years. In comparing the dates used for the half-dimes for 1860, 1861, and 1862, the 6 used for each is different.


This theory implies that the Mint would have a block of metal for each denomination for each year, that they would use to strike single digits into. It also implies that the Mint would purposefully make the metal thick enough so that they could use it for sequential years and that they would spend the time and effort or abrade down each block for each denomination to remove the previous year, so that they could then use it for the following year for each denomination.


This method would require the block to be annealed, digits to be struck into the block, and the block hardened. Then the rod with the blank block being annealed and struck into the block, attempting to have the metal from the date punch block to squeeze down into the incused design of the digits in the block. This step has several problems. If we examine a similar procedure in the hubbing press, whereas the metal from a coned shaped top working hub is squeezed into the incused design elements of the master die, hundreds of tons of pressure is used at a controlled speed to push the annealed metal of the working die into the shape of the design elements. If you place a blank flat block of metal onto another block of metal, with several digits incused into it, if you strike the blank block, the top of the blank date punch will primarily come in contact with the highest part of the block with the digits compressing the entire top of the blank date punch, and creating resistance. In order to push metal into the incused digits, the entire top of the blank date punch would have to be pushed hard enough to disperse the metal on top to the depth of the intended digits. The striking of a blank date punch implies instant striking force, not controlled pushing, allowing the metal to be squeezed into the recesses. This is why in the hubbing press, a coned shaped top helps reduce the resistance where the field touch, and also has an incremental squeezing of metal, with the least amount of metal in the top of the cone, increasing in volume as you go down the cone. Of course, striking a raised date punch with concave inward digits, forming a thinner top to the digits, into the annealed working die or a annealed block of steel, is entirely different from attempting to strike a blank date punch into a block to obtain the incused digits.


In addition, this would have also been difficult in the Fall, when the Mint was preparing working dies for the current year and also for the following year. What if the date punch of the current year broke? Would a new block have to be prepared if the block was changed to the next year? When the 1865 Fancy 5 date punch for the Two cent pieces became damaged, and was replaced by the 1865 Plain 5 date punch, if a block existed with the 1865 date the size used for the Two cent pieces, why could not a new date punch be created that was the same if this practice was used? There is no evidence that the Mint used the method for creating date punches. The normal procedure was to use a block of metal, anneal it, and carve the digits into the end of the block. When the digits are being carved, it is possible that extra metal is left at the base of the digits on the date punch or metal is left on the base of the block between the digits.



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Too complicated. Too many assumptions. Go back to basics in the printing industry - that's the origin of the technology.

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I agree, if given two options, one simple, one complex, usually the best option is the simple solution, especially when the concept has been proven and tested.


From what I read, normally a rod with a blank end is annealed, and the raised digits are carved out into the top.


But at the same time, when reseaching a subject, all theories have to be evaluated, which is why I presented this.




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