J104 Original and Restrike Die State Determination

Both original and restrike J104's were struck in both alignment IV and III. You can differentiate based on the rusting seen on all restrikes. Restrikes show clear rusting on Liberty, especially the arms and upper body, and on the eagle. Pay particular attention to the eagle's beak and tail feathers. These will be very smooth and free of rust on Originals, whereas Restrikes will show definite graininess (see photos below).

As with the 1838s, the ITE, MERI, and LLAR cracks are not diagnostic as to die state or Original versus Restrike. They are very sensitive to strike and, of course, polishing. Likewise, coins showing prominent cracks are certainly restrikes but, due to polishing, coins showing very light to no cracks may or may not be Originals. Because of the variable nature of these cracks, we will not generally refer to them in the die states. The elongated lump or wrinkle above SO that developed on J84 is likewise sensitive to both polish and strike and may or may not been seen.

Originals and Middle/Late Restrikes
Alignment IV
Early Restrikes - Alignment III
 
J104 Originals – Typical Weakly Struck Foot

Originals - clean, smooth eagle and letters Restrikes - rusty, granular eagle and letters
Note that a major discriminator for Original versus Restrike is the appearance of the eagle and letters. Originals have a very smooth, clean eagle (especially the head and beak) and letters. Restrikes all have the eagle and letters very granular and rough from the rust. Pay particular attention to the beak. Restrikes also typically show strong mirrors with prominent polish lines.

Check the photos and descriptions below and click SELECT to determine Original versus Restrike and the die state. The state you select will highlight in yellow. Since the die states are all very similar, make sure you double-check the other state photos.

Originals - struck last week of DEC 1839

All Originals are in Alignment IV, have weak mirrors, more SPL than fully PL, and typically come with a weakly struck foot. There are about 25 to 30 alignment IV circulated pieces in various grades. While it is impossible to die state coins much below AU, we can state that we have not seen a naturally circulated alignment IV J104 that is a Restrike. We thus presume that all naturally circ coins are Originals. This obviously does not hold for coins that are harshly cleaned or polished. We do not recommend attributing these pieces. There are also several lower grade alignment IV "pocket pieces" and "watch fobs" that are either engraved or holed. If the engraving matches period style or the holed piece has obvious natural wear, we likewise presume these pieces to be Originals.

State A - light clashing in crook of elbow at pole and below elbow.

Obverse: Earliest pieces seen to date have scattered light clashing in the obverse fields, most notably on right side in crook of elbow at pole and/or below elbow caused by dies clashing very early during striking or during set-up.

Reverse: Lightly polished reducing lumps at TA and previous (J84) clashing behind wing. Very faintly cracked ITE, MER, and LAR. Elongated lump or wrinkle above SO obscured by polishing.
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State B - polishing eliminates clashing at elbow, faint “die line” from second dentil over T to left upper serif of E in UNITED.

Obverse: Polishing eliminates clashing at elbow, but dies clash again leaving other scattered clashes in obverse fields, between Stars 8 and 10, and lines to right of date.

Reverse: Clashing causes lumps at TA in STATES. Develops a very faint “die line” from second dentil over T to left upper serif of E in UNITED. This “line” is seen on all sharply struck late state J104 Originals, and J84 and J104 restrikes before being polished off for the striking of most of the Starless Reverse mules. However, it is very faintly visible on J63 and J65. It then returns on the very late J104 restrikes, showing that this “die line” is actually a faint crack.
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Restrikes

Both dies have a strong mirror from polishing. Restrikes are also typically more strongly struck than Originals, generally with a fully struck foot. They are also rather easily distinguished from Originals by the very granular (rusty) letters and eagle.
 
Early State Restrikes. The emission sequence combined with historical auction prices shows that the early J104 restrikes were struck circa 1862 to 1864 by Linderman, et al, who were restriking various pieces for profit. All early state restrikes seen thus far come in alignment III.

Rust in right field at back of hand and down along forearm, eagle and letters granularity from rust, particularly noticeable on the beak, which appears very granular.

Obverse: Small scattered rust lumps in fields of both dies. Small scattered rust lumps on LIBERTY. Earliest has rust in right field at back of hand and down along forearm. Hand at pole has a "hollowed" appearance from polishing to remove the worst rust.

Reverse: Lumps between TA, elongated lump near dentils above SO. “Die line” (actually a crack) from second dentil over T to left upper serif of E in UNITED, may be weakened by polishing, but visible on sharply struck pieces. Letters granular from rusting with rust pits on upright and upper curve D United particularly noticeable on sharp strikes. Eagle rusty, particularly noticeable on the beak, which appears very granular. Slightly later die state than the early J84 restrikes.
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Middle State Restrikes. The emission sequence combined with period auction records shows that the mid-state J104 restrikes were struck circa 1863 to 1864 by Linderman, et al. Comes in alignment IV and one unconfirmed coin which may be an alignment III. Seen on defective planchets.

Middle State Restrikes are characterized by the lack of remarkable features. Polishing has significantly reduced the rust on both the obverse and reverse, however the dies have not been severely polished causing dishing as on the Late State. Simply put, Middle State Restrikes look exactly like what they are: a state in-between the obviously rusted Early State and the obviously heavily polished Late State.

Obverse: Polishing eliminates most of the rust at hand and forearm, but rust lumps still readily apparent. Scattered light rust pits still seen on Liberty and fields.

Reverse: Polishing reduces the granular seen on the letters and eagle, although is is still clearly present on the eagle's beak and head. Lumps at TA and elongated lump over SO reduced by the polishing. “Die line” (actually a crack) from second dentil over T to left upper serif of E in UNITED, may be weakened by polishing, but visible on sharply struck pieces. Slightly later die state than the late J84 restrikes and occassionally seen with remnants of the clashing behind the eagle's wing as seen on those pieces.
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Late State Restrikes. The emission sequence combined with auction prices shows that the late state J104 restrikes were struck circa 1873 to 1874 by Linderman, et al, after Linderman returns to the Mint as Superintendent. These are the last Gobrecht dollars struck. Only seen on alignment IV pieces so far. Seen on defective planchets.

Eagle, in particular, has become very rusty resulting in the "frosty" appearance of acid etch. Combined with heavy polishing, this results in the pieces graded Cameo by the grading services. Patch of roughness with polish lines at junction of wing and tail. Often with a heavily polished reverse with letters "dished" by polishing.

Obverse: Highly reflective fields with obvious polish lines. Comes with clash marks in right field.

Reverse: Highly reflective fields with strong polish lines across entire die, particularly strong at letters and around eagle. Small lumps at TA. Elongated lump over SO has been reduced to a series of dots. Patch of roughness with polish lines at junction of wing and tail. Comes with clash lines behind wing. Later polishing causes "dishing" around date and on reverse at UNI ONE DOLLAR.
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