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

Original Issues

Original Issue Restrikes and Cabinet Coins

1858 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).

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.

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.

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

Starless Reverse Group

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.