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Theft of planchets
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32 posts in this topic

I once did a tour in Philadelphia mint , asked what was that box in corner for ? they said it was all the rejected, scrap error coins go help yourself . JK ! I’m sure a lot theft went on at mints undetected over all the years especially during the hard times it’s a no wonder why they have strict security and metal scanners along with. x-Ray machines to check workers out before and after they leave the job now a days 

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22 years on the job, "regarded as a faithful and excellent workman,"  and he blew it all by stealing quarter planchets. 

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There were differing skill and pay levels for "workman," but limited opportunity for advancement or job changes. A "workman" was one notch above "laborer" on the Mint scale of employees. The lowest level was usually "female" doing any job, although several directors admitted they did many jobs as well or better than men and should be paid the same. But no one did anything.

Edited by RWB
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6 hours ago, RWB said:

There were differing skill and pay levels for "workman," but limited opportunity for advancement or job changes.

Sounds like perfect work for Federal Prison Industries (UNICOR).  Secure facilities, steady source of labor, no competition with private industry, something for prisoners to do while they while away the hours, and best of all a new mint-mark: T for Terre Haute.

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12 hours ago, Just Bob said:

22 years on the job, "regarded as a faithful and excellent workman,"  and he blew it all by stealing quarter planchets. 

That $5.25 in quarter planchets is roughly equivalent to $150 today. Tax free. He stole more than most people make in a day working 8 hours. 

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11 hours ago, RWB said:

There were differing skill and pay levels for "workman," but limited opportunity for advancement or job changes. A "workman" was one notch above "laborer" on the Mint scale of employees. The lowest level was usually "female" doing any job, although several directors admitted they did many jobs as well or better than men and should be paid the same. But no one did anything.

“You Americans are so naïve.”

Steve Martin as a Wild and Crazy Guy

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37 minutes ago, VKurtB said:

“You Americans are so naïve.”

Steve Martin as a Wild and Crazy Guy

The only question I have is what was the ultimate disposition in this case?

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18 minutes ago, Quintus Arrius said:

The only question I have is what was the ultimate disposition in this case?

Depends what the going rate was then for lawyers. I’m betting dismissal with no criminal proceedings. Given that it was in Philly, today it would never be prosecuted by any DA these days. Good that it’s a federal case. There would be at least a SHOT at prosecution, but wait, since January 20, maybe not. 

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14 minutes ago, VKurtB said:

Depends what the going rate was then for lawyers. I’m betting dismissal with no criminal proceedings. Given that it was in Philly, today it would never be prosecuted by any DA these days. Good that it’s a federal case. There would be at least a SHOT at prosecution, but wait, since January 20, maybe not. 

Probably right. The Federal courts occupied a floor at the Post Office; there were no federal lock-ups, no Secret Service and , in one notable case, the pursuit of one man, "Mr. 880," by the U.S. Secret Service exceeded "in intensity and scope any other manhunt in the chronicles of counterfeiting" (1938-1948) and yet resulted in a prison sentence of one year, moment's later, reduced to "one year and one day" permitting parole in four months. [His one-dollar bills were printed on cheap, widely-available paper... the artwork was crude, "childish even. A black splotch served as Washington's left eye, his right was almost almond shaped. Letters and numbers were poorly formed, illegible, or uneven." Nearly $5,000 were passed, with one batch of bills featured an unbelievable, and infuriating, typo -- "Wahsington."  "True Tales from the Annals of Crime & Rascality," by St. Clair McKelway.  Random House: 1950.]

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4 minutes ago, Quintus Arrius said:

Probably right. The Federal courts occupied a floor at the Post Office; there were no federal lock-ups, no Secret Service and , in one notable case, the pursuit of one man, "Mr. 880," by the U.S. Secret Service exceeded "in intensity and scope any other manhunt in the chronicles of counterfeiting" (1938-1948) and yet resulted in a prison sentence of one year, moment's later, reduced to "one year and one day" permitting parole in four months. [His one-dollar bills were printed on cheap, widely-available paper... the artwork was crude, "childish even. A black splotch served as Washington's left eye, his right was almost almond shaped. Letters and numbers were poorly formed, illegible, or uneven." Nearly $5,000 were passed, with one batch of bills featured an unbelievable, and infuriating, typo -- "Wahsington."  "True Tales from the Annals of Crime & Rascality," by St. Clair McKelway.  Random House: 1950.]

Whatever happened with that dude who was drawing currency by hand? They were amazingly good. 
 

Got it! Boggs died 1/22/17, on Day 3 of the Trump Administration. Coincidence? Gawd YES; grow up already. 

Edited by VKurtB
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Just now, VKurtB said:

Whatever happened with that dude who was drawing currency by hand? They were amazingly good. 

Good question. And a lot of very good painters 🎨 out there too fooling even Sotheby's "experts."

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5 minutes ago, Quintus Arrius said:

Good question. And a lot of very good painters 🎨 out there too fooling even Sotheby's "experts."

Are we having difficulties with hand colored Coq Marianne now? It’s French, how important could it be, after all? :roflmao:
 

We kid, of course. My favorite copper is the large 10 centimes of that same era. Stunning when found in nicer condition.

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Just now, VKurtB said:

Are we having difficulties with hand colored Coq Marianne now? It’s French, how important could it be, after all? :roflmao:

There was a change in composition with the addition of copper made between the earlier "originals," 1899-1906 and the later "restrikes," 1907-1914.  The earlier ones are slightly darker; the later ones appear lighter and brighter and Mint State examples abound.

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Wasn't the French standard .900 fine gold .100 copper already? That is what the old Napoleons are.

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3 hours ago, RWB said:

Wasn't the French standard .900 fine gold .100 copper already? That is what the old Napoleons are.

The gold content fineness according to Numiscorner's detailed description is 90%, which they have chosen to render as .9 000 000 000 000 000 2.

It seems the other 10% used is comprised of various alloys changed for various reasons, e.g., war, etc.  I have spent the past hour attempting to determine exactly what that alloy mix consisted of without success.

The 🐓 was the eleventh and last of the long line of 20-franc coins minted, with tweaking in the alloys which included copper and even silver.  But for reasons unclear to me -- having devoted an hour to researching this, including submitting brief questions -- all references to alloys have been scrubbed from sellers' accounts and I will have to get back to you on this.  (The latest accounts emphasize the only change made was the use of slogans embossed around the edge differentiating the early 🐓 from the later ones. This is not true. The composition of the 10% alloy used was changed as well.)

 

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Using the best pure copper for 10% would produce the darkest, most orange looking coins. Adding silver lightens the color and turns it a little more yellow. Color also depends on the heat source for annealing with coal imparting a bit of sulfur and gas (methane) being mostly neutral. Lastly, prestrike whitening (acid pickling) and cleaning would slightly alter the planchet color by removing a little copper alloy but not silver or possibly others. Tin would not work - too low a melting point.

The above is the rough sequence seen with US gold coins. Little reason to assume the gold alloy would perform differently if it were addressed in French.

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 The entire 20-franc series underwent multiple changes and the last one, the 🐓, since demonetized is no different.  The original eight bear the dates they were actually struck.  The restrikes were minted intermittently in 1921 and during the 1950's and 1960's. Complicating matters is though mint totals are precise, no one knows how many were melted, spirited out of the country or secreted in a Hoard. Europe has yet to fully embrace the concept of certification and encapsulation.

One final note:  Fairly recently, the barrier I refer to as the invisible wall, was breached when NGC became the first TPGS to bestow a grade of MS-67+ on a 1912 Rooster 🐓 owned and displayed by a member here on his Set Registry.  (Generally speaking, 🐓 graded MS-67 cost twice as much as those graded MS-66. The number of MS-67's granted each date can still be counted on two hands.) As always, I very much appreciate your input on this little-known subject.

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11 hours ago, Quintus Arrius said:

Europe has yet to fully embrace the concept of certification and encapsulation.

I have yet to find and speak to even one European numismatist or collector who doesn’t already thoroughly know how to grade coins himself. I think that’s the difference. Only here has there ever been an attempt, silly as it is and was, to commoditize collectible coins. Besides, when you’ve seen a collection in a gorgeous Italian made Abafil case, all slabs become instantly extremely ugly.

Edited by VKurtB
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1 hour ago, VKurtB said:

I have yet to find and speak to even one European numismatist or collector who doesn’t already thoroughly know how to grade coins himself. I think that’s the difference. Only here has there ever been an attempt, silly as it is and was, to commoditize collectible coins. Besides, when you’ve seen a collection in a gorgeous Italian made Abafil case, all slabs become instantly extremely ugly.

I think this is country specific. In my experience I've found the Swiss to be able to grade consistently. Germans are far less consistent, tend to micro-grade by focusing on one flaw, and are not good at detecting cleaning or PVC. Italian grading is all over the place. French are optimistic...

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My personal opinion is the concept of certification was used as a selling point to broaden the appeal of Europe's coinage to the U.S. market.  All the major players have their own grading systems which approximate our own.  As recounted elsewhere, I gambled on a raw 🐓 -- and lost. Its grade range was listed as (MS-65 to MS-70) and, at least in my mind, I was convinced after I bought it and had it submitted it would turn out to be the very first MS-68 ever graded as such.

Alas, it was not to be. I ruled out 65, and felt if worst come to worst, I would have a 67. No such luck.  It was graded MS-64+ (which entitled me to a refund) but it taught me an important lesson, reinforced by My Cousin Vinny, that examining a coin from afar -- even those appraised by optimistic graders from top-tier reputable consortiums -- is fraught with risk and peril.

BACK ON TRACK...

I assume that if Social Security litigants (among others) are required to remove their belts and shoes and watches before walking thru a metal detector and being wanded at Federal buildings, the problem of "shrinkage," or thefts from the U.S. Mint and it's branches is no longer a problem.

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1 hour ago, Alex in PA. said:

 

OIP.jpg

[In New York State, this would be petit larceny, a class A midemeanor punishable by up to 364 days in jail and up to a $1,000 fine. In New York City, if the police were even to respond, I seriously doubt you would be arrested but if you were, it would be to detain you long enough to issue you a summons or what is commonly known as a desk appearance ticket, or D.A.T.  If the latter, you would be O.R.'d or released on your own recognizance. If you were not so released, the days it took you to be processed through the system would result in a guilty plea (if the complainant even bothered to show up) and a disposition of "time served," after which you would be free to leave.   (When my apartment was broken into and my possessions trashed, I called 911 and was eventually confronted by two irate police officers who berated me as they stood atop the rubble piled everywhere:  "What's the emergency?  This is a high-crime precinct! Don't you think we have more important things to do? (Murder, robbery, rape, etc.) Go down to the station[house] and fill out a report...)

If memory serves, at the height of the crime era culminating in the early 1990's, over 100,000 arrests were made and only six (6) misdemeanor trials were conducted in Manhattan. Plea bargaining was indispensable.

The last time anyone was hanged in New York was 1860. The crime was a Federal offense: piracy. Over 10,000 people showed up to witness it on then Bedloe's Island in upper New York bay where some 20 years later they would erect the Statue of Liberty. (The Rosenbergs, convicted of espionage in a Federal Court were electrocuted in Sing Sing's electric chair as the BOP did not have a death row or any means in 1953 to carry out the ultimate punishment.) Historical note: McKinley's assassin was put to death in Auburn, New York's electric chair because killing the President was not a Federal offense in 1901. Time from arrest to arraignment, trial to conviction and sentence to execution:  six weeks.

If the errant Mint worker were punished beyond termination of employment, my guess is he would have been sent to a local facility under contract with the Federal Government.]

@RWB Congratulations on acknowledgement of your work in identifying yet another rare 1921 Peace Dollar as covered in yesterday's Coin Week.  (thumbsu

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On 6/9/2021 at 12:41 PM, gmarguli said:

He stole more than most people make in a day working 8 hours. 

The work day back then was 10 hours.

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1 hour ago, Quintus Arrius said:

Congratulations on acknowledgement of your work in identifying yet another rare 1921 Peace Dollar as covered in yesterday's Coin Week

Thanks! I tend to lose track of such things. ;)

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The date on this incident is not that far removed from the passage in Bowers' Liberty Head DE book about re-strikings and underground Mint activities.

See the Liberty Head DE thread.

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There is sparse data on re-strikings and underground Mint activities, and Bowers' book presents almost none of it. As with the Liberty DE thread, it's copy and repeat.

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