The Complete Emission Sequence for the Gobrecht Dollars
Striking dates for the J60, J61, J84, and J104 Originals come from the records of the U.S. Mint now in the Regional Archives at Philadelphia. Striking date estimates for the Original Issue restrikes and Cabinet Coins were developed from the emission sequence combined with period auction price history and the 1887 Mint Report, which specifically states that the majority of the Gobrecht dollar Cabinet Coins were produced in 1859 to 1860 and again in 1869 to 1874. For a full discussion see our article on the Gobrecht Dollar Restrikes.
The Emission Sequence
- J60 1836/Name On Base/Starry Reverse/Plain Edge - the Mint's account books show that these were struck the last week of December 1836.
- J61 1836/Name On Base/Starry Reverse/Plain Edge - struck January to March of 1837. Six hundred were struck and delivered in March. Assistant Coiner Franklin Peale's letter of Jan 8, 1837 suggesting the plain edge is at fault for the criticism of the dollar looking too medallic suggests that samples may have been struck at that time.
- J84 1838/Name Removed/Starry Reverse/Plain Edge - struck sometime after July 1838. Exactly when these were struck is unknown as there are no letters from Director Patterson to Secretary of the Treasury Levi Woodbury concerning the design or mentioning samples. We do know that it took place sometime after July 1838 as Woodbury writes twice that month requesting more samples of the dollars and Patterson responds, sending him pieces leftover from the December 1836 striking. The records only contain Patterson's response to the first request, and in that he notes he is not satisfied with the look of the eagle. This fits with the discovery by Saul Teichman that the neck feathers were modified on the new Starless reverse.
- J104 1839/Name Removed/Starry Reverse/Plain Edge - the Mint's account books show that these were struck last week of December 1839
Original Issue Restrikes and Cabinet Coins1858 to 1859. Period auction records show the first appearance of J58 in Cogan's December 1859 sale, where it went unsold. These are part of the surreptitious restrikes that Director James Ross Snowden seeks to check by officially restriking pieces for trade for Washingtonia for the Mint Cabinet Collection. Comparisons of restrike price data, first appearances for restrikes, and the employment periods of both Henry Linderman and A. Loudon Snowden strongly indicate that Linderman and A. Loudon were the primary culprits in the clandestine restriking, with Linderman being the "ring-leader" (see next).
- J58 1836 Name Below Base/Starry Reverse/Plain Edge - States A and B
1859 to 1864. With approval from the Secretary of the Treasury, Director of the Mint James Ross Snowden publicly offers to trade restrikes for Washingtonia for the Mint Cabinet Collection, with part of the justification being check the trade in surreptitious restrikes. Letters show at least two J84's are traded to collectors. These are the Early State J84 Restrikes.
Snowden's trade for Washingtonia was successful in creating a very significant collection. However, doing so only increased collector appetite for rare and unusual pieces and even more clandestine restrikes poured out of the Mint. Auction prices for J58, J84 and J104 show significant variation from 1859 through 1864 and, as previously noted, it is Linderman and A. Loudon who are primarily responsible for these pieces including the J60 Restrikes, more J58's, and the Middle State J84 Restrikes.
Linderman leaves the Mint in 1864 for a private stockbroker practice and prices for J84 and J104 stay relatively calm from 1864 until 1867 when Linderman returns as Director. This data obviously further establishes Linderman as the main culprit.
- Early to Middle State J84 Restrikes
- J58 State C
- J60 Alignment III Restrikes, States A and B
- Early J104 Restrikes
1867 to 1869. Linderman returns as Director in 1867 and remains through April 1869. In June 1867 Cogan, who is likely Linderman’s “beard” states in the American Numismatic Journal that only 18 Name Below Base pieces were originally struck in 1836. This, of course, is a lie. The obverse die was fabricated in early 1858 from the 1836 Name On Base master die or a leftover 1836 working die. Prices for J84 and J104 begin a long decline from the additional pieces being struck and sold.
- Late state J84 Restrikes
- Late state J104 Restrikes
April 1869: Linderman’s term as Director is terminated in April of 1869 and the auction record clearly shows the price of J58’s plunged from a high of $90.00 in June 1869 to $32.50 in October of 1870 along with the 1838 and 1839’s likewise showing significant price declines.
The data strongly indicate that as Linderman left office a large quantity of additional restrikes were released into the market causing the price declines and this release very likely including the copper and mule Cabinet Coins. This clearly suggests that the Cabinet Coin Restrikes were all struck circa April 1869.
While it could certainly be proposed that these pieces were struck earlier, say in 1867 or 1868 and released by Linderman after he left office, the timing really suggests otherwise.
The emission sequence clearly shows that copper and mule Cabinet Coins were struck in two groups, starting with the Starry Reverse Group. The last J60 Restrikes (State C) and the last J58's (State E) are also a part of Starry Reverse Group, with the coper and mule pieces being struck in between the J60 and J58's. Striking then immediately continued on to the Starless Reverse Group.
The die states of all of these pieces proceed so quickly and clearly from variety to variety, with no breaks in state between them, indicating that all of these pieces were struck in a very short period of time, perhaps as little as a day or two.
The emission squence grouping of these pieces by reverse type with the Starry Reverse group coming first followed by the Starless Reverse Group also fits the press mechanics since changing the reverse die, which was the anvil die, would require removing the collar and then reinstalling the collar and adjusting the tooling that depressed the collar to allow feeding. Thus, striking all of the desired pieces using one reverse before proceeding to the next was the simplest way.
Starry Reverse Group
- J60 Restrike State C - rust in front of face, NITED STATES O and OLLAR crack, lump feet A, die scratch U, crack foot A DOLLAR to dentil below same as J58 through J109.
- J58 1836 Name Below Base/Starry/Plain/Silver State D has the most rust in front of face, lump feet A, crack foot A to dentil below, die scratch U
- J62 1836 Name On Base/Starry/Plain/Copper - same as J60 State C
- J59 1836 Name Below Base/Starry/Plain/Copper - obv polished to remove worst of rust, still has light scattered pits around head and on Liberty, reverse same as previous
- J88 1838/Starry/Plain/Silver - obv small rust lumps in front of face, Liberty lightly grainy, light ripple on left wrist, small lump btwn feet A, strong crack foot A DOLLAR to dentil below
- J89 1838/Starry/Plain/Copper - Liberty lightly grainy, small spot of rust in front of face below star, slight ripple on left wrist – start of crack, reverse has lump feet A
- J108 1839/Starry/Plain/Silver - obv about the same as J105 and J107, rev cracks stronger than J88 and J89
- J109 1839/Starry/Plain/Copper - same as J108
- J58 1836 Name Below Base/Starry/Plain/Silver State E - polishing eliminates rust in front of face. Strike weakness at ITED STATES and dentils above. This is the last use of the Starry Reverse.
- J63 1836 Name Below Base/Starless/Plain/Silver - polished to remove rust, D spur strong, low spot right foot of F develops on State B, low spot strong and ragged with indentations
- J64 1836Name Below Base/Starless/Plain/Copper - D spur and low spot at F strong and ragged as on J63
- J107 1839/Starless/Plain/Copper - bit weaker D spur, probably fading from striking, low spot at F still ragged but shallower and smaller than J64, starting to blunt from striking
- J87 1838/Starless/Plain/Copper - Liberty lightly grainy, light polish removes rust in front of face, perhaps start of left wrist crack, about same as J85 prior to full crack, reverse lightly polished, no T line, D spur weak, low spot F smaller, shallower, and smoother than J63, J64, or J107, blunted by striking and no longer ragged.
- J65 1836 Name On Base/Starless/Plain/Silver - rust patch in field left of face. D spur strong, State A shows a strong low spot right foot of F with State B showing just slight remnants of low spot.
- J85 1838/Starless/Plain/Silver - small crack on Liberty's left hand just below wrist, very faint traces of low spot at F.
- J105 1839/Starless/Plain/Silver - low spot at F gone
1873 to 1874. Linderman’s returns as Superintendent in 1873. Auction prices for J104 had risen slightly since 1869 but fall again in 1875 due to additional coins being struck in 1873 to 1874. The 1887 Mint Report points to 1874 as the end of the most of the surreptitious restriking. Die states show that the 1838 obverse has failed, the 1839 obverse appears to be failing, and the Starry Reverse is polished out. The dies are shot, and this ends the restriking of the Gobrecht dollars.
- Late state J104 Restrikes