Obverse 4: Repunched 89, Medium Date, Slight Upward Slope, Light Die Clashing
Reverse F: Medium O/O, [mm Lt,H,TL2]
Obverse 4 Reverse F
Obverse Diagnostic Point(s) Reverse Diagnostic Point(s)
Comments: Obverse 4 is in an early die state with traces of clashing visible around Liberty's head and between the cap and Liberty's head. There is no rim cudding on this specimen. Repunching of the date is very plain in the lower loops of the 89 digits.
Reverse F is also in an early die state with no die cracks. The Medium O mintmark has punch artifacts within its center causing numismatist to speculate as to the mintmark being an O/S or O/O repunched mintmark. In his encyclopedia, Ahwash indicates that these artifacts are die cracks when he presents the later die state Ahwash 4 plate coin. Breen also references Ahwash and lists this variety as a doubled date and mintmark, but then says "Die crack through mintmark; not to be confused with 1891-O/S". Dealers tend to place a premium on this variety as they claim it to be an O/S or O/O repunching of the mintmark. How do we answer the question of O/S, O/O or die cracks? Since the plate coin grades mint state and is an early die state of Reverse F, the lack of die cracks allows the author to rule out a die crack as the cause of the artifacts within the central area of the mintmark.
Using digital imaging photography and subsequent image processing, I photographed two different Medium O mintmarks along with Medium and Small O mintmarks from other 1891 dimes. While imaging the dimes under study, the focus plane was kept the same to allow direct size and overlay comparisons between the various mintmarks and their sizes and shapes. The results of the mintmark overlays are presented below.
The comparisons of the Medium S, Small S and Medium O mintmarks from 1891 against the Medium O mintmark on Reverse F indicates to the author that the mintmark artifacts are the remainder of a previous Medium O mintmark that was punched too low. Please look at the two areas between the arrows on the Medium O over Medium O illustration. The highest point of the mintmark or deepest punch location in the die on a typical Medium O mintmark directly matches the dimensions and curvation of the punch artifact within the Reverse F mintmark. Neither the Medium S or Small S mintmark curvatures match the residual artifact within the Medium O mintmark. As a result of this analysis, the Reverse F mintmark is confirmed to be a repunched Medium O over Medium O.
Plate Coin: G. Fortin Collection, PCGS MS64
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