The E-Gobrecht

Volume 2, Issue 2, February 2006

Whole Number 11


This is an electronic publication of the Liberty Seated Collectors Club (LSCC).  The LSCC is a non-profit organization dedicated to the attributions of the Liberty Seated Coin series.  The LSCC provides the information contained in this email newsletter from various sources as a general service to the membership and others with this numismatic interest.  You do not have to be a LSCC member to benefit from this newsletter; subscription to the E-Gobrecht is available to anyone.  All disclaimers are in effect as the completeness and/or accuracy of the information contained herein cannot be completely verified.


Information, input, comments, or suggestions for improvements to this E-Gobrecht are actively solicited from anyone and may be sent to or by writing or calling:

     Bill Bugert

     Editor, E-Gobrecht

     P.O. Box 3761

     Gettysburg, PA 17325-6927

     (717) 337-0229


To be added or removed from the E-Gobrecht mailing list, send an email message with the words "Subscribe/Unsubscribe" in the subject line of the message to


Acknowledgements and Miscellaneous Notes from the Editor


Many thanks to Brian Greer, Gerry Fortin, Len Augsburger, Bill Luebke, and the subscribers who corresponded with me.


Through the generosity of Gerry Fortin, the previous issues of the E-Gobrecht are readily accessible on his seated dime website at


We are now up to 137 E-Gobrecht subscribers!  Thanks to everyone for your interest and support.  We finally had a few subscribers take advantage of the free Liberty Seated coin advertising.  See the section in this issue on “Advertisements for the Sale of Liberty Seated Coinage.”


Please consider submitting something for print.  A simple email will suffice:  everyone knows something for which others are interested.  To quote Bill Luebke in the John Reich newsletter: “An interesting find, an unreported die state, your impressions of coin shows and auctions, a good cherry pick, an interesting anecdote, bizarre coins, news from other media, your collecting goals, neat coins from your collection, opinions regarding rarity and Condition Census, collector profiles, interesting (in both the good sense and the bad) eBay listings, questions, comments and snide remarks.  Most anything will do.”

Features in this issue


==>  Report on the FUN by Brian Greer.

==>  The Jules Reiver collection sold at auction by Brian Greer.

==>  1856 saw tooth cud obverse by Bill Bugert.

==>  Christian Gobrecht bibliography information by Len Augsburger.

==>  Liberty Seated Dime Varieties Web-Book Update from China by Gerry Fortin.

==>  Recent email traffic.



==>  Report on the FUN show by Brian Greer.  The FUN show was fairly uneventful.  This years Fun conventions seemed to follow the same path as the last few years.  That is, most of the better date Liberty Seated coins were in the display cases of a few specialized dealers.  Finding bargains from non-specialists took a lot of digging.  Fortunately, the specialized dealers had a nice supply of scarce and rare dates at fair prices, so collectors should have left the show with smaller want lists.  I did see a few good finds from the show including two 1873 doubled die obverse dimes that were cherry picked on the floor by LSCC members.  Even one these showing up would have been newsworthy.  It was clear form the activity on the floor that the collector coin market remains strong.  Prices seem to be on the rise for better date seated coins and unlike many of the more modern series key date coins are not appearing on the market with increasing frequency.

==>  The Jules Reiver collection sold at auction by Brian Greer.  Noted numismatist and dealer specializing in nice collector coins, Brian Greer provides this informative report on the Reiver collection auction.


     With much anticipation, Heritage Numismatic Auctions sold the Jules Reiver Collection via auction on January 24th-27th.  This sale included many series but perhaps most anticipated were the extensive collections of early copper, bust coinage, and Liberty Seated coinage.  The early copper and bust coinage included nearly complete die variety collections as well as die states.  The selection of Liberty Seated coins included nearly complete sets of all denominations by date and mintmark including the Gobrecht Dollars.  The Liberty Seated collections did not have the extensive run of die varieties that were available in the copper and bust series; however, some rare die varieties were included.  The quality was very mixed.  There were gem uncirculated examples and coins that graded below good.  All coins in the sale were certified by NGC.  Those coins, which could not be holdered, were in NCS holders with a detail grade listed along with the problem or reason it could not be certified by NGC. 


     There was a wide variety of grades available.  Thus, the sale presented an opportunity for just about any collector of the Liberty Seated Series.  Prices realized overall were quite strong.  This was to be expected in such a strong market and such and extensive run of dates available.  However, prices for Liberty Seated material were actually quite reasonable when compared to those of the early copper and Bust rarities.  Most of the tougher seated coins brought prices in excess of current trends.  Nice original problem free coins were as expected in the most demand.  Rare Carson City coins brought extremely high prices when choice, but were more reasonable when they had problems.  Among the half dimes, an 1838-O in XF40 brought $1,250 (all prices in this write up will be hammer prices before the 15% buyer’s premium) a strong but not unreasonable price for this scarce coin.  I should note, however, that one LSCC participant had purchased an even superior example certified in the same grade from a local coin shop before the sale for $700.  This underscores the "premium" that I believe auction buyers often are paying in today’s market for the opportunity to purchase the specific dates they need.  If one searches bargains are still out there in the marketplace but finding the specific date one needs needed may take an extended time!  This is what brings us to these auction events.  After all, that is where the coins are!


     Among the rare Civil War issue Half Dimes from 1863-1867 only the 1864 was a Business strike.  This coin graded AU58 and brought in excess of $1,000.  All of the proof coins from this era showed strong bidding also.  The same held true with the dimes for the Civil war years.  Only the 1866 was a non-proof and it sold for $900 despite a light cleaning.  The rare Carson City issues graded VG to fine except for the 1874-CC, which was missing, as it was removed from the sale after it was found not to be authentic.  The 1873-CC with arrows was the most attractive of the remaining three and graded VG10.  That rarity hammered at $4,500.  The Quarters included an example of the very rare 1840-O with drapery large O in NGC AU50.  This rarity brought $6,000.  An 1849-O in VG10 brought $1,250, showing the strong demand for this date.  An 1871-CC in cleaned VF brought a seemingly reasonable $8,500 while the 1872-CC in VG brought $1,400.  The half dollar series included a very rare example of the 1842 small date half with the doubled die reverse.  I can recall only seeing two other examples of this variety.  This coin brought $1,600 and graded AU55.  The key date 1870-CC was an attractive VF35 and brought $11,000 while an 1878-S in cleaned AU brought $55,500 despite an obverse pinscratch.  The dollar series was complete by date and mint including both the 1851 and 1852 rarities.  Additionally, there were four examples of Gobrecht dollars including one from each year.  As I mentioned earlier, prices for the Liberty Seated coins were very strong overall, still some bargains could be found.  LSCC dealers Bob Foster and Dick Osburn were in attendance and both were able to secure coins for inventory and customers. 


     Collectors bidding on Liberty Seated coins should feel very fortunate by comparison to those seeking rare Bust or early copper coins.  Prices for the rare dates and varieties in these series were truly astounding often bringing multiples of previous established prices.  As to what this all means, I will leave it up to each of you to decide.  Clearly though we are in one of the strongest, if not the strongest collector coin market ever.  More importantly earlier coinage including Liberty Seated is right in the heart of this market.  The Jules Reiver sale was truly a landmark event.  This opportunity to see and bid on such an extensive run of rarities in American numismatics may never be repeated.  Securing a copy of these catalogues is highly recommended.

==>  1856 “Sawtooth Cud” Obverse Half Dollar by Bill Bugert. 


  In our 1993 book, The Complete Guide to Liberty Seated Half Dollars, Randy Wiley and I briefly discussed one of the varieties of the 1856 normal date half dollar (WB-101) that has two heavy cuds on the rim and denticles by obverse stars 1 and 2.  These cuds are shaped as teeth and when the two are observed together appear to be part of a saw blade; hence the nickname “sawtooth cud.”  No photo was represented in our book but here is one (see photo 1) for the interested readers.  I have two of these in my personal collection:  a VG10 and an XF45; the cuds are plainly visible even on the lower grade coin.  Other giveaways for this variety are the extensive die cracks around the area of the cuds and stars 1-3.  These die cracks have been on all examples of this variety I have seen.  Additionally, the obverse die is heavily clashed and the reverse’s shield lines show plainly across Liberty’s lap and drapery.  This variety has 145 reeds, one of the two reed counts for this date.  I hope you find this neat variety in your collection or at the next coin show.





Photo 1:  1856 half dollar sawtooth cuds by stars 1 and 2.

==>  Christian Gobrecht bibliography information by Len Augsburger.  Len is a very active, well-known numismatist and a frequent contributor to the E-Gobrecht.

     In searching for bibliographic material covering the life of Christian Gobrecht, I have uncovered the following resources, which may be of interest to E-Gobrecht readers.  Most of these can be ordered from the ANA library for copying costs (


  1. Q. David Bowers, Christian Gobrecht: American Coin Die Engraver Extraordinaire, Rare Coin Review #126, November/December 1998, pp. 17-25.  Well presented chronological view of Gobrecht's life.  The Numismatist article from December 1911, though not specifically cited, appears to be a key source.
  2. Kenneth E. Bressett, An Experimental Roller Hub of the Second U.S. Mint, The American Numismatic Association Anthology, (Wolfeboro, NH: Bowers and Merena Galleries, 1991).  Discussion of a steel roller transfer hub dated 1835 now preserved in the Philadelphia mint.  Bressett postulates that Gobrecht and chief coiner Franklin Peale created the device.
  3. Christian Gobrecht, The Numismatist, December 1911, pp. 417-419.  Biographical sketch of Christian Gobrecht, "taken from an old magazine", most likely the Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, 1906, in turn authored by Christian Gobrecht Darrach (grandson).  The version here is more detailed in the description of Gobrecht's medallic work that the original version.
  4. Elvira E. Clain-Stefanelli, From the Drawing Board of a Coin-Engraver, The American Numismatic Association Anthology, (Wolfeboro, NH: Bowers and Merena Galleries, 1991), pp. 79-98.  Seminal treatment of the Gobrecht drawings in the National Numismatic Collection.  Analysis of early Gobrecht drawings of the seated liberty design.
  5. Joseph H. Colville, Christian Gobrecht, Genius, The Numismatist, April 1989, pp. 570-572, p. 621.  Largely derived from the Darrach work.  Colville's wife, Amy, is a Gobrecht descendant, likely a granddaughter of Christian Gobrecht Darrach.  Colville notes that Gobrecht dollars are still in the Gobrecht family.
  6. William H. Cregan, "A Gobrecht Medal from 1839", The Gobrecht Journal #61, November 1994, pp. 40-41.  Describes an example of Julian AM-33, awarded to "B. McFarland for a Knitting Machine, Exposition of 1839".  Suggests obverse is evocative of Liberty seated figure.
  7. Christian Earl Eaby, "Genealogy and Numismatics: Mint Engraver Christian Gobrecht Learned His Skills Working as a Young Apprentice for Pennsylvania Clockmakers", Rare Coin Review #79, Summer 1990, p. 20.  Covers visit to clock exhibit at Packwood House Museum in Lewisburg, PA, circa 1989.  The show catalog included clocks by Eli Gobrecht and David Gobrecht, both of Hanover, PA (relation to Christian unknown).  Eaby indicates that Christian Gobrecht was apprenticed to clockmakers Samuel Stauffer and Christian Eaby in Mannheim, Lancaster County, PA.
  8. Harbaugh, Rev H.  The Fathers of the German Reformed Church in Europe and America, Volume III, (Lancaster, PA: J. M. Westhaeffer, 1872).  This volume includes a biography of Gobrecht's father, Rev. John Christopher Gobrecht.
  9. Journal of the Franklin Institute of the State of Pennsylvania, September 1832, Volume 10, No. 3.  Contains discussion of Gobrecht's medal ruling machine.
  10. Chris Neuzel, A Reckoning of Moritz Fürst's American Medals, The Medal in America Volume 2, (New York, NY: American Numismatic Society, 1997), pp. 19-118.  Some discussion of the competition between Fürst and Gobrecht for the second engraver position in 1836.
  11. North American Review, 1839, Vol. XLIV, pp. 131-132.  Discussion of Gobrecht's medal ruling machine, referring to the Franklin Institute Journal for 1832.
  12. The Rarities Sale, (Wolfeboro, NH: Bowers and Merena Galleries, 7/2002).  Two examples of the copper "name in field" Gobrechts.  Lot 442, eagle in starry sky.  Lot 443, eagle in starless field.  Lot 444, Andrew Jackson's 1836 Gobrecht (cf. AJN 10/1892).
  13. Alfred Z. Reed, Origin of the Gobrecht Myth, The Numismatist, May 1940, pp. 309-312.  Well sourced article arguing that 1836 Gobrechts are in fact regular issue pieces and not patterns.  Traces the course of this argument over the 19th century.
  14. Alfred Z. Reed, Sully, Peale and the Gobrecht Dollars, The Numismatist, May 1942, pp. 375-376.  Similar to previous effort, emphasizing the role of Sully and Peale in the original Gobrecht dollar design.
  15. Walter Thompson, Patterson's Part of the Gobrecht Coinage, Numismatic Scrapbook Magazine, June 1964, pp. 1563-1569.  Discusses the role of Mint Director Robert Patterson, Jr., in renewing coinage design upon his appointment to the directorship in 1835, the influence of Sully and Peale on the original Gobrecht work, and the influence of Robert Ball Hughes in modifying the Gobrecht designs c. 1840.

==>  Liberty Seated Dime Varieties Web-Book Update by Gerry Fortin.


     Greetings from Wuxi, China!  This is the first E-Gobrecht update from my new location in China.  First, here is a brief background on the Wuxi city for E-Gobrecht readers who may be unfamiliar with the geography around the Yangtze Delta region of Shanghai.


     A typical Chinese city of 1.7 million urban inhabitants, Wuxi is located about 75 miles northwest of Shanghai.  Wuxi is located in the province of Jiangsu and is currently considered one of the top 15 central economic cities of China.  Wuxi is also famous for being an ancient city, having origins that date back to 11th century B.C!  The landscape is mainly plain terrain with occasional hills and a few low mountains.  Taihu Lake, a fresh water lake, is located to the west of Wuxi and is the third largest lake in China with an area of 2250 sq. kilometers.  This lake features many fleets of fishing junk boats, which add to the landscape and create a remarkable spectacle for tourists.


     Another significant point of interest in Wuxi is the Jinghang Canal, the largest ancient artificial river in the world.  Measuring 1080 miles, the Jinghang Canal or Grand Canal is the world’s longest man made waterway, which connects Beijing to Hangzhou.  Construction of the canal started in 486 B.C. during the Wu Dynasty and was later improved in seventh century and completed during the 13th.  The canal plays a vital role for transportation of raw materials as barges are constantly passing by in both directions.  My new employer, Central Semiconductor Manufacturing Corporation, is located directly across the street from the Jinghang Canal, so a lunchtime walk can be had along this historical waterway.


Web-Book Updates.


     Working in China presents a challenge for maintaining the previous stateside rate of web-book updates.  I am still actively researching dealer websites and the major auction houses for new seated dime varieties or upgrades.  One of the focus areas, while in China, will be the rarity assessments of obverse die usage for common date proofs (1860 through 1891).  Kam Ahwash made mention, in his encyclopedia, that multiple proof obverse dies were seen for several of the common dates in the series.  I have continued that research and have published the current level of understanding within the web-book.  With free time and access to major auction house archives via the internet, I plan to conduct research on the auction appearance rates of individual proof obverse die varieties.  This research could provide insight into the estimated mintages for each proof obverse die and bring into focus the rarer proof varieties.


     In particular, Kam Ahwash indicated that two 1873 No Arrows Closed 3 obverse dies were used for proof coinage.  When publishing the web-book, I listed the two proof obverse dies as F-101 (Denticle Ruler position 1L) and F-102 (Denticle Ruler position 0C).  F-101 is easily found as a proof only variety.  F-102a had only been seen as a business strike though Ahwash indicated that Obverse 2 was used for a portion of that year’s proof coinage (F-102).  After searching for years for the F-102 proof obverse, I decided to research the appearance of 1873 proof dimes within the Heritage Auction Archives to determine if the F-102 proof listing should be removed from the web-book.  Examining the date positions on 22 auction listings revealed no examples of F-102, confirming my previous observations.  Armed with the Heritage confirming data, I removed the F-102 proof listing from the web-book in January and renamed the business strikes from Obverse 2 as F-102 instead.


     Next on the research list will be the 1874 With Arrows proof dimes.  In the past, I have seen one PCGS certified proof example at auction from a second obverse die.  At that time, a discussion with Frank Van Valen at American Numismatic Rarities brought about the suggestion that this example may only be proof like and not a true proof strike. 


Happy Hunting….Gerry

==>  Email traffic.  Here are some emails the Editor recently received:


     From Charles Sullivan.  In response to Gerry Fortin's comment about the inability of automated sniping programs to submit bids on 197 lots simultaneously, I believe it is entirely possible for a sole bidder, or even many bidders, to snipe bid via automated means on 197 eBay lots at one time, even if the seller has specified simultaneous closing times.  I use eSnipe.  I have never seen any evidence eSnipe is subject to bidder overload.  I use eSnipe's default parameter of 6 seconds before auction closing and I cannot remember the last time my bid was not be processed by eSnipe and then by eBay in a timely fashion.  In fact, eSnipe will permit the bidder to set any increment of his choosing.  For example, if one really wanted to submit the "last bid in" on an uncataloged 1850 dime with blob-head obverse and rotated 1848 reverse, one could set a bid submission time of 1 second before closing and hope the various servers and T-1's involved were up to the task.


Of course, eBay could eliminate much (but not all) of this foolishness by extending the closing time of a sale to five minutes after the last bid were placed.  I suspect if eBay were to adopt such a policy, eSnipe and competitors would counter by allowing the bidder to double sequence bids, e.g., place one bid before closing time and then automatically increment it every 30 seconds after closing.


     From Len Augsburger.  From the PCGS chat board - in a poll of what seated denominations collectors collect, the following results were tallied:


Total Votes:  55

Half Dimes:  8

Dimes:  6

Twenty Cents:  3

Quarters:  6

Half Dollars:  11

Dollars:  2

Trade Dollars:  2

Gobrecht Dollars:  2

All denominations:  15.


     From Dick Osburn.  The Florida United Numismatists (FUN) show in Orlando Florida just ended.  What a show!  The demand for rare coins continued at a hectic pace.  For the first 2 days of the show, we often had 5-7 collectors at the table at once.  Needless to say, it was a great show for me.


     From Bill Bugert.  Hopefully, we will get some good stories for the E-Gobrecht (hint, hint!) from those who attended the Jules Reiver collection auction.  Although I was not in attendance, I was a successful bidder through the internet bidding.  I had the catalogs and sent off for the DVD of all the lots.  I was very impressed with Heritage’s photos on the DVD.  I was able to zoom in and identify variety die characteristics for three-quarters of the seated half dollar lots.  This made it easy to decide what coins to bid on but also, for record keeping, I now know what most of his half dollar varieties were.  Having the Reiver pedigree on the lots I won will recall good memories of Jules for years to come.  I hope that the majority of the readers were successful as I.


Advertisements for the Sale of Liberty Seated Coinage


Seated Quarter.  1871-S 25c, PCGS EF40.  Pleasing original gray toned, light pinscratch hidden in figure of Liberty.  $2100.  Contact Len Augsburger at


Seated Dime--1880 VG10, five letters in obverse shield legible, "Y" very weak; obverse rim good; rev. rim weak from 8:00 to 11:00, "ONE DIME" very legible---$199, $4 P&I, call Whalen @ 831-475-0934.


Seated Dime--1851 VG8; very good rims; rev. planchet lamination from center between I & M down to rim @ 6:30; $25 + $2P & $2 insurance (if desired); call Whalen @ 831-475-0934.


Seated Dime--1890 VF30; obverse rim fine, reverse rim adequate; $30+$2P & $2 insurance (if desired); call Whalen @ 831-475-0934.



-  Seated Dime survey – Now in progress, census due March 15th

-  Next issue of the Gobrecht Journal – March 2006

-  LSCC Regional meeting – Central States Convention, April 28, 9:00

-  LSCC Annual meeting – 2006 ANA Convention, August 2006, TBD


Information on the Liberty Seated Collectors Club


The LSCC Pledge.  To encourage, promote, and dispense numismatic knowledge of the Liberty Seated coins; to cultivate fraternal relations among its members and all those interested in the science of numismatics.


LSCC Officers.

     President:  John McCloskey.

     Vice-President:  Larry Briggs.

     Secretary/Treasurer:  Mark Sheldon.


LSCC Membership Information.  Dues are $15 per year and include three issues of the Gobrecht Journal, an award winning numismatic publication.  To join the Liberty Seated Collectors Club, for Gobrecht Journal mailing address changes, or for other membership questions, correspond with the LSCC Secretary Mark Sheldon at P.O. Box 261, Wellington, OH 44090.


Articles, comments, or advertisements for publication in the Gobrecht Journal may be addressed to the LSCC President:

     John W. McCloskey

     President, LSCC, and Editor, Gobrecht Journal

     Email address:


Not copyrighted, use freely but to sure to quote the E-Gobrecht and the Liberty Seated Collectors Club.