J61 - The 1836 Name On Base/Starry Reverse/Reeded Edge Pattern

J61 with Edge, Dr. Korein, ANS

As Dannreuther, Teichman, and Sholley noted in their August 2012 ANA Convention presentation on the J60 emission sequence, Franklin Peale wrote an internal memorandum to Mint Director Robert Patterson on Jan 8, 1837 noting, among other things, that the new dollar had received much criticism for looking too medallic. Peale stated that he felt this was due to the plain edge and suggested striking with a segmented lettered-edge collar like he had seen in France.

While we don’t have a lettered-edge Gobrecht Dollar, we do have an 1836 Name On Base, Starry Reverse A coin in the latest die state known… with a REEDED EDGE. That piece is the unique J61 pattern piece from the Korein Collection, now in the ANS.

This piece is in alignment IV, exactly as with the last J60 Original strikes from December 1836, and is in exactly the same die state as those last J60 Originals (State H). This is also the last use of the Starry Reverse A (a.k.a, "the Nicked Reverse"), which disappears from the numismatic record after this use (all J60 Restrikes were struck using Starry Reverse B, "the Cracked Reverse"). Furthermore, there is no evidence of rust or lapping on the coin, thus clearly indicating it was struck shortly after the last J60 Originals.

With its Reeded Edge, the J61 piece meets the thrust of the Peale letter, it is in the expected die state, and it fits the emission sequence. The J61 Name On Base/Reeded Edge Pattern was thus Patterson's attempt to rescue the original design that he had worked on for nearly a year and which was receiving considerable criticism.

It is not known when this piece was struck, but it would have been shortly after Peale's January 1837 letter. It may well be one of the "approval samples" from the March 1837 striking of 600 Gobrecht dollars (which were melted shortly thereafter) as it is quite conceivable that Patterson was fairly anxious to rescue his design and simply "jumped the gun" thinking that Peale had provided the answer. Obviously, and sadly, it did not work. With the "well poisoned" by a poor initial design, the Gobrecht dollars were replaced with the Seated design in 1840.