We have also two worn specimens of 1837 without stars, and sufficient traces of a small o in the proper place to convince us that some Half Dimes were coined experimentally in New Orleans in that year with a die similar to the one then used in Philadelphia, although the New Orleans Mint was not regularly organized until 1838. As the coinage of Half Dimes at New Orleans in the latter year was not recorded, though well known, we are the more assured of the authenticity of our '37 O mint pieces which were found in New Orleans, and we consider them excessively rare.
While the half dime of '37, without stars, was coined in Philadelphia that variety of '38 was issued only at New Orleans, all struck at the parent mint having stars. The rare 0 mint dates we review in order, 1849, '44, '42, '52, '38, and '48, the rarest first.
The first five dates, 1863, '64, '65, '66, and '67, were of small coinage, and are scarcer than most of the preceding O dates, but by no means as rare as the similar Philadelphia dates, whose places they generally hold in collections. 1864 is the scarcest of the five, followed by '63. 1868 and '69 are more common. In 1870 no Half Dimes were coined in San Francisco. 1871 is the only date with the S within the wreath, and is exceedingly scarce. 1872 and '73 have the S below as usual, and the latter is somewhat scarce. We have discovered no varieties in the S mint coinage, our set thus numbering ten pieces.
Since the Half Dime was abolished in 1873 the inconvenience of the small piece has resulted in the annual remittance to the Treasury and the Mints of hundreds of dollars worth which street car companies, etc., are glad to have destroyed. Consequently very few Half Dimes now exist in circulation; their general scarcity and rarity is augmenting, and the small space a collection occupies will assure them ever increasing favor.
The complete series of dates and the varieties found are as follows:
1838, the first date coined, is a piece without stars or legend around the seated Liberty on the obverse, and with a large O under "ONE DIME," and within the wreath on the reverse. It is quite scarce. 1839 has thirteen stars around the figure on the obverse, which continue until noted beyond. The reverse is in general the same as '38, but offers two varieties, a medium and a small o. 1840, which we have seen 'without drapery' only, has also two varieties a, large O and a small o. 1841 has a small o. 1842 has a small o. 1843 has a small o, and is quite scarce. There was no coinage in 1844. 1845 has a large O, and is scarce. In 1846, '47, and '48 there were no Dimes coined at New Orleans. 1849 has two varieties, a large O and a small o, and is somewhat scarce. 1850 has a large O and a small o. 1851 has a large O. 1852 has a large O. 1853 has a large O, and is the first Dime with arrowheads. We have seen no variety of 1853 O without. 1854 has a large O and arrowheads. There was no coinage in 1855. 1856 has a large O and a medium o, and the arrows are abandoned. We have also a large O variety with the legend so faintly struck as to be hardly perceptible. The large date '56 is found only in Philadelphia coinage. 1857 has a large O. 1858 has a large O, and is scarce. 1859 has a large O and a medium o placed lower than usual. In 1860 the stars give place to the legend, and on the reverse the o is very small, and for the first time appears under the changed wreath, as in the Half Dime of the same date. The 1860 O Dimes is of very small issue, exceedingly rare, and a great prize.
At this period the civil war occasioned a long interval in O mint coinage, and not until 1891 were Dimes again struck. The piece of that date resumes the design of 1860 on obverse and reverse, but has a medium o under the wreath in two varieties, one well centered and one close to right ribbon. In 1892 the seated Liberty is replaced by a wreathed head facing to the right, and the wreath on the reverse is changed in various slight details. The O continues of medium size under the wreath. 1893 is similar in all respects to 1892
The years of no coinage being 1844, '46, '47, '48, and '55, five in all, it will be seen that the dates of the O series from 1838 to '93, inclusive, number twenty-one, to which the addition of seven varieties named make twenty-eight as the complete set. The smaller o of six of these varieties is uniformly rarer than the large one.
1856 is the first date of this series, the date being always small. Stars surround the seated Liberty, the obverse and reverse dies being similar to the O mintage of the same period. The S is large and in the wreath. The piece is rare. No 1857 Dime was coined at San Franeisco. 1858 has a medium s, and in other respects is similar. It is rare. 1859 has a medium s, and is also rare. 1860 is especially interesting from continuing the stars when the O and P coinages of this date had discarded them. A medium s remains within the wreath. It is scarce. In 1861 the new dies, with a legend around the figure and the wreath of oak and wheat, were used. A small s first appears and is placed under the wreath. 1862 is the same. 1863 continues these characteristics, and is rather scarce, but the Philadelphia dates from '63 to '67 are all far rarer than the S coinage. 1864 S is like '63, and is comparatively common. 1865 continues the small s below the wreath, as does 1866. The latter is scarce. 1867 is scarce also and similar in detail, except the S is not quite so small. 1868 and 1869, however, continue the minute s. 1870 is unchanged, but a small coinage makes it very rare. 1871 is abundant. 1872 is rather scarce. 1873 introduces arrows for the first time at each side of the date. The variety without does not seem to exist in the S coinage. 1874 continues the arrowheads and the small s. 1875 omits the arrowheads. It has two varieties, a medium s within the wreath in one, the usual small s below in the other. In 1876 the latter only has been found. In 1877 also.
A long break in the sequence of the San Francisco coinage then occurs, but in 1884 the same design and the small s under the wreath are maintained. It and the five preceding dates are all very abundant, but in 1885 the smallest issue of the whole series makes that piece very rare. The S is almost medium in size. This somewhat larger S than usual under the wreath continues in the ample coinage of 1886 and the very large ones of 1887 and 1888. 1889 has two varieties,a medium s and a small scarce s. In 1890 the S is larger. 1891 presents it small. In 1892 and '93 it is nearly of medium size, still under the somewhat varied wreath. The obverse from '92 gives the new design of a garlanded bust turned to the right, and the date is smaller than any preceding it except 1856. None of these dates are scarce after '85.
In reviewing the S series it will be seen that the years of no coinage were 1857 and from 1878 to '83. The rarities are, in order of importance, 1885, '70, '58, '59, and '56. 1866, '60, '67, and '63 are rather scarce. The dates and varieties mentioned number thirty-three, to and including 1893.
The first Dime of Carson City is that of 1871, with the seated Liberty surrounded by "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA," on the obverse, as in the P and S coinage of the same year, and the wreath of wheat, corn, oak, &c., on the reverse. This piece and the three succeeding dates are all very rare. The CC are close together and under the wreath in these. 1872 is the second date. 1873 we know of without the arrowheads only. 1874 is the highest rarity of the four.
We have 1875 in three varieties: The first has a close CC below the wreath, the second has a close CC within the wreath, and the third has a wide CC within the wreath, the latter two very scarce. 1876 has the usual close CC under the wreath. 1877 repeats this, and has a variety, with the CC a trifle larger. 1878 continues the close CC. It is somewhat scarce, but the three dates before it very common.
The Dime has not been coined at the Carson City Mint since 1878, and probably will not be in future.
1838, P. O; 1839, P. O; 1840, P. O; 1841, P. O; 1842, P. O; 1843, P. O; 1844, P; 1845, P. O; 1846, P; 1847, P; 1848, P; 1849, P. O ; 1850, P. O; 1851, P. O; 1852, P. O; 1853, P. O; 1854. P. O; 1855, P; 1856, P. O. S; 1857, P. O; 1858, P. O. S; 1859, P. O. S; 1860, P. O. S; 1861, P. S; 1862, P. S; 1863, P. S; 1864, P. S; 1865, P. S; 1866, P. S; 1867, P. S; 1868, P. S; 1869, P. S; 1870, P. S: 1871, P. S. CC; 1872, P. S. CC; 1873, P. S. CC; 1874, P. S. CC; 1875, P. S. CC; 1876, P. S. CC; 1877, P. S. CC; 1878, P. CC; 1879, P; 1880, P; 1881, P; 1882, P; 1883, P; 1884, P. S; 1885, P. S; 1886, P. S; 1887, P. S; 1888, P. S; 1889, P. S; 1890, P. S; 1891, P. S. O; 1892, P. S. O; 1893, P. S. O.
No date has more than three pieces, and it will be seen that the collector triplicates his dates in but fourteen years of the fifty-five from 1838 to '93. He doubles them only in thirty-one years, and in ten the Philadelphia pieces stand alone. Thus Mint Marks are not, after all, such a great extravagance.
The Philadelphia Mint issues of 1875, '76, '77, and '78 complete that series. The coinage of every date was small, especially the latter two, which were in 'proof' only. The only S Mint piece, 1875, has a small s directly over the Y. There were coined considerably over one million of these pieces, or nearly six times the amount of all other coinage of them. The Carson City Mint coined a moderate quantity in 1875 with the CC wide apart, one over the Y the other over the "c" of 'CENTS;' also a small quantity in 1876. The pieces of 1876 CC have become very rare, as we have mentioned in our preface, from the negligence of Western collectors, or the indifference of all to Mint Mark rarities while the proofs of '78 (coined in Philadelphia to but about a twentieth of the amount), can at any time be bought. Thus the twenty cent piece has but three Mint Mark dates one being a prize. We have not remarked any varieties.
There was no coinage, it will be remembered, in 1845 and '46. In 1847 the date is very large, and the medium o is over the space. 1848 continues the size of the date and O of the last piece, but the O is high between the stems. In 1849, a piece only scarce, there was no coinage recorded in the O Mint Report, but neither this piece or others in the '40's have the scarcity of similar Philadelphia dates. 1850 has a medium o close to the right stem and an upright 5 in date, unusual in the '50's. 1851 has a large O close to the left stem, and is the scarcest piece of the series, though not strictly rare. 1852 is quite scarce. It presents a large O close between the stems and over the space. 1853 appears with arrowheads and the rays, used only in this year's issue. It is quite common. If the rare variety without arrows and rays exists in O coinage we have not yet beard of it.
There are two varieties as regards the location of the large O mint mark, one is well centered over the space, the other is close to the notch of the stems 1854 has arrowheads only and the large O in two varieties, one well centered over the space, the other broadly restruck, and touching the R on the upper right curve. 1855 has a large O over the R, and is rather scarce. 1856 has an upright 5 in the large date and a large O over the space. The arrowheads cease. 1857 presents a large date and a large O high above the R and between the stems. 1858 has the O lower, but is otherwise similar, except in an upright 5 in the large date. 1859 has a small date and a well-centered large O. 1860 shows the same details. An interval then extends to 1891. This piece unchanged in design, has a medium date and a small o between the stems high over the right side of the R. It will be rather scarce. 1892 offers the new dies of a garlanded bust facing right and an heraldic eagle on the reverse. The date is of medium size and the Mint Mark is an exceedingly small o, just under the middle of the tail and over the R. 1893 continues the new design. This series numbers twenty-one dates to 1863, and a few varieties which can doubtless be increased.
A very interesting feature of this series is the large size of the Mint Mark on the earlier dates. The "S" exceeds in proportions those of the word "STATES." There are at least three other sizes on later dates, which may be called medium, small, and very small, ranging from within the height of letters of the legend to hardly more than a dot. They are invariably under the eagle on the reverse. There are twenty-six dates of this series to 1893 and a few varieties. We describe in detail the set we have thus far gathered.
The 1855 has slanting fives, arrow heads, and a large S high over the space to the right of the R. The 1856 has an upright 5, no arrows, a large high date and a large S high over the R. It has also a variety with the S high over the space. 1857 has a large date and a large S highly placed almost over the space. It is not common. 1858 continues the upright 5 and large date. A large S is high over the space. 1859 commences the small dates and has a large S nearly over the space. It is not common. 1860 presents a small date and a large S high over the space. It is a scarce piece. 1861 continues the small date. The large S is well centered over the space. 1862 only varies in the large S being high over the space. It is somewhat scarce. There was no coinage in 1863. 1864 has a medium date and a large S high over the space. It is the date of smallest coinage in the S series and is very rare. 1865 continues the medium date that rules hereafter. It has a large S high over the space and is scarce. 1866 is the first of the series with the motto "In God We Trust." It is also the first to dismiss the large mint mark and show a very small s that continues with little change through the rest of the San Francisco Quarters. The S in this date is close to the point of the left stem and over the R to the left. The piece is very rare, ranking next to '64. In 1866, for the first time, the Philadelphia quarter has a smaller coinage and so continues for the next three years, but could be more readily found especially in fine condition. 1867 repeats the details of the preceding date. We have found it also very rare. 1868 and 1869 have the same appearance but are not scarce. There was no coinage in 1870. In 1871 the small s crowds upon the point of the left stem. The piece is very rare. 1872 has the S midway between the left stem and the R. 1873 we have found only with the arrow heads which had been omitted since 1855. The s is smaller than before - the very small size - and is well centered between the stems, nearly over the space. 1874 again omits the arrow heads and has the same details regarding the Mint Mark as the preceding date. Of 1875 the same may be observed. 1876 shows two varieties, one with the very small s nearly over the space and the other with a medium small s over the R. 1877 also has two varieties - a small s close above the R and a medium small s highly placed nearly over the space. 1878 has a medium small s well centered nearly over the space. All these dates after '71 should be readily found - 1874 to '77 being especially abundant.
An interval of coinage then occurs until 1888 when there was another great issue which should be distinguished from the very rare Philadelphia piece of this date.
The 1888 S has a medium small Mint Mark well centered nearly over the space. 1891 was the next year of coinage and will be rather scarce. There are two varieties. In one the medium small s is rather high and almost over the space, in the other it is centered over the R. In 1892 the new designs of a garlanded bust, facing right on the obverse and an heraldic eagle on the reverse side appeared on the San Francisco coinage simultaneously with that at New Orleans and Philadelphia. The S Mint Mark is exceedingly small. It touches the middle of the eagle's tail and is just over the R. The 1893 S Quarter, just received, has a small s under the right side of the tail and over the space between R and D.
This list gives a total in dates and varieties of thirty pieces for the S mint series from 1855 to '93. We review the rarest dates as those of 1864, '66, '71 and '67, and the scarce ones of the years 1860 and 1865.
The largest size of the very little varying Mint Mark of this series is very small in comparison with that of other mints, for it was used after the obtrusive Mint Marks of the early dates, especially the San Francisco pieces, had yielded to an evidently general policy of making them merely sufficient for identification if necessary.
The three Branch Mintages of Quarters conflict very little. The O Mint issues are alone from 1840 to '54. From '55 to '60 there are O and S Mints. The S series then runs alone to '69. From '70 to '78 with one exception in each mintage, it has the CC dates in its company. Then, except a single S Mint coinage in '88, there is a break to 1891, when the O and S Mints resume, and have since continued.
It will be remarked that, up to the latter year, there are only seventeen doubled pieces to be added to the Philadelphia dates in a period of fifty-five years. The collector, therefore, who, without investigation, has fancied that he would need to buy perhaps three Mint Mark pieces for each year of the half century, may be much reassured.
There is a variety of this date with a very small o mid-high over the F. There is no other small o until '92, and what we have termed the large size is not much more than half the height of the letters on the reverse. 1841 has a small date and a well-centered large O over the F. 1842 shows a large date and a large O mid-high over the F in one variety, and over the space between L and F in another. 1843 has the large date, which so continues as not to need further reference, and a large O somewhat to the right, over the F. 1844 has two varieties, a large O, rather high over the F, and a medium sized o placed lower. There is also a curious restrike of this O mint date. 1845 has an upright 5 and a medium o mid-high over the F. 1846 resumes the large O, which is high over the F. 1847 is similar. 1848 only varies in that the O about touches the stem above. 1849 has also a large, very high O directly over the F. We find 1850 the same, and 1851. None of these dates from '39 down can be called scarce. 1852, however, claims that distinction. It resembles the two or three preceding pieces. 1853 appears, as at Philadelphia, with arrowheads for the first time, and rays on the reverse for the only time The O is large. This piece is common, but, if the judgment of several authorities is well founded, there is a variety of the 1853 O mint without arrows and rays similar to the Quarter of the Philadelphia Mint, but never known in the Half Dollar coinage of that institution, which takes at a bound the highest place among Mint Mark rarities. Such a piece has been purchased as genuine for considerably over one hundred dollars. It was found in the West. We are disposed to recognize the possibility of such a variety, but, as we have seen the usual pieces with the rays and arrows so skillfully removed as to 'deceive the very elect,' we warn collectors to be very much on their guard. 1854 continues the arrowheads, and has a large O mid-high over the F in one variety, while in another it is nearly over the space and close to the stem. 1855, with arrowheads also, shows the usual Mint Mark high over the F.
In 1856 the arrowheads disappear for good. The large O is so high over the F as nearly to touch the stem. Besides the 'perfect date' of this piece we have two restrikes, one below the figures and one above. Whether from a defective machine or unskilled workman the frequent 1856 restruck dates are usually of the O mint. The 1857 piece has the O close to the stein also, and rather to the right of the F. 1858 and 1859 present the same details. In 1860 the O is merged with the stem above the F. 1861 shows the mint mark nearly touching the stem, above the F also.
After a long interval the Half Dollar was struck in 1892 with the new bust and heraldic eagle dies. The date is small, and a small o is directly under the middle of the eagle's tail and over the D. There is one rare variety of this piece with an exceedingly small o, hardly larger than a period.
The 1893 as far as we have seen, resembles the usual preceding date. It is scarce. There are twenty-five years in this series to '93. As the coinage of most of the O Mint dates was very large, they are easily obtained in some condition, except the 1852 scarce piece and the two superlative rarities we have referred to, which give this series its greatest interest to the numismatist. The Half Dollar of 1861 and the Double Eagle of the same date, were the only denoininations coined that year at New Orleans on the eve of the war, all the other issues having ceased with the preceding date. It has been said that the major part of the large quantity of these Half Dollars existing were coined with the remaining U. S. dies by the Confederacy in their pressing need of silver. We have heard this denied at the New Orleans Mint. At all events the coins cannot decide the matter or the different issues would have a greater interest.
The conspicuous character of the largest S of the early San Francisco dates is thus even more notable on the Halves than the Quarters of this Mintage. It is quite as large or a little larger than the S's of the word 'STATES.' There is next a modified large S with a shorter upper curve. Then a medium s, a small s, and a very small s which occupies no more space than one of the periods on the piece. With a glass further distinctions might be made, but these will suffice for practical use. 1855 is the first year of the S Mint series. The date is large with far sloping 5's and with arrow heads. The Mint Mark is a large S placed close to the stem over the F of 'HALF.' This piece, though the reported coinage hardly warrants it, has become very rare, either from small issue perhaps or export. 1856 is without arrows, as are all afterwards down to '73, the date is large, with an upright 5 The large S is located as in '55. The 1857 has two varieties, a large 8 placed as in the preceding dates and a medium s high over the space between the F and D. Both varieties are very scarce and the latter may be called rare. The date continues large. 1858 presents the last large date and has two varieties, a large S high over the F and a medium s mid-high rather over the right of F. In 1859 the long continued medium date begins. The piece has two varieties, a large S high over the F, rather to the right and a medium s high, directly over the F. 1860 shows a large S high over the F, and a nearly as large S, but with a shorter upper curve, similarly placed on a second variety. 1861 offers two varieties also, a large S located as before and a medium s not so high over the F. In 1862 these varieties are repeated, but the medium s is rather smaller than the preceding one. 1863 has the first small s which is placed high over the space to the left of the F. 1864 gives two varieties again, a large S nearly over the space to the right of the F and a small s over the space to the left. The large S ceases with this date for 1865 shows only a small s mid-high over the staff of the F. 1866 has two varieties of a new character, one with the preceding plain field over the eagle, which has no counterpart in any other mintage of this date, and with a small s over the F, rather to the right; the second introducing on the field for all pieces thenceforward a scroll bearing the inscription 'In God We Trust.' This second has the small s over the space to the left of the F. 1867 has a small s high over the F. 1868 locates the same s high over the space to the left of the F. In 1869 the small s is just over the F and high. 1870 presents it over the F, but at lesser height. 1871 has two varieties, a small s moderately high, and a rather smaller s close to the stem, both over the F.
In 1872 two varieties are again found, one having a small s high over the F, the other placing it low over the space to the right. The 1873 date is accompanied by arrowheads, and has a small s close to the stem, over the space to the left of the F. 1874 continues the arrowheads, and has three varieties of slightly different small s's; one is very low over the space between F and D, the second is high over the F, and the third is high over the 'L' of 'HALF.' 1875 discontinues the arrowheads, and has also three varieties, a small s high over the F, another centered over the space to the right, and a very small s very close to the stem over the F. 1876 gives two varieties, one is a small s well centered over the F, the other a very small s placed as in the last date. In 1877 we have a small s high over the F, and, in a variety, the smallest sized s, well centered, over the F also.
All the pieces of this series, thus far, except 1855 and '57, should be readily found, but in the next date, 1878, we have the great rarity of the San Francisco Half Dollar coinage. It presents a very small s high over the F. After its very small coinage there was a break in the issue of this denomination until 1892, when the new dies of a bust of Liberty and an heraldic eagle were used, as at Philadelphia and New Orleans. A very small s is placed in this piece at the lowest point of the eagle's tail and just over the D. There is a variety with the S slightly larger and well centered. No coinage is probable in 1893.
There are, including dates to 1892, twenty-five pieces in the S mint series, and at least fifteen varieties. As the Halves at San Francisco were coined in much greater quantity than the Quarters, and are less worn usually by circulation, the collector can hope to collect a set of the former in much higher average condition.
In 1876 we have again two varieties, small, close, upright cc's, rather to the left, over the F, and very small, rounded, close cc's directly over this letter. 1877 extends its varieties to three. The first is a very small, rounded, close pair of cc's high over the F and space to the right; the second a wider separated pair of upright small cc's high over the F, and to the left; the third gives the latter Mint Mark placed lower over the F. 1878 is the third scarce date of the series. Its Mint Mark, placed over the space to the left of the F, is the small upright pair of cc's in two varieties, one having the cc's even, the other having the first c higher than the second. Varieties thus extend the Carson City Half Dollar set to fifteen pieces.
After another lapse of time the third O Mint Dollar was coined in 1859. A large O is moderately high over the space. The fourth coinage comes promptly in 1860 when the O is very high. This date and the preceding are scarce.
Then a long break occurs, commenced by the war and continued because no Trade Dollars were struck at New Orleans from 1873 to 1878 as at San Francisco and Carson City. When in 1879 O Mint Dollars were again coined - a year later than the Standard Dollar resumption at the San Francisco and Carson City mints - the large ornate head had replaced the seated figure of Liberty and, on the reverse, a different design is also seen. The Mint Mark changes to a small o which is close to the center of the wreath and over the space between the D and O of 'DOLLAR.' In the dates from 1879 to '93, the only variations from this description, which we have noted, are that the same small o sometimes touches the wreath, as in examples of 1886, 1888 and 1889, and sometimes is free. The date is also a little more or less removed from the star to the right. Such trifling differences would, we think, tempt no one to gather varieties of so inconvenient a piece, and we leave them undetailed.
In 1859 the first San Francisco Dollars were coined with the 'Liberty seated' die. The s is nearly two-thirds of the size of the letters of 'STATES' and is high over the space between 'ONE' and 'DOLLAR'. The piece is rare. Not until 1872 was the next coinage of Dollars and it was so small as to make them very rare. The mint mark on our piece is a very small s that touches the stem directly over the E Of 'ONE'. In the following year, 1873, but a few hundred pieces were struck which, in comparison with the few thousands of preceding dates and the many millions of those following, causes it to be excessively rare. As we have not yet seen or heard of a specimen we cannot give its description, but if any one is lucky enough to find an 1873 S this will be unnecessary. The small coinage of this standard Dollar was probably due to the making of 700,000 of the Trade Dollars which was accomplished at San Francisco the same year.
The only dates in which somewhat less than a million were struck are 1886, 1888 and 1889, but condition alone can give value to any dollar of the S mint from 1878 to '93. It may be noted that the new designs of the Dimes, Quarters and Halves of 1892 were not extended to the Dollars, which in 1893 still appear as in the eighties at all mints.
1870 was the first date of the Carson City Dollar. The piece has on its obverse the seated Liberty so long used. We have two varieties of this Mint Mark. In one the medium-sized, widely separated cc's are located high over the E and the space to the right; in the other the CC's are close together in the same position. Both varieties are very rare as but a few thousands were struck and they are very little known.
In 1871, 1872 and 1873 about two thousand Dollars only were coined annually at Carson City, and they are now extremely rare. The rarest 1871 has a large CC, rather wide, the first C over the E, the second touching the stem. 1872 we have not seen. The 1873 has the cc's of medium size and quite separated, one being over the E and the other over the space. We attribute the small coinage of Standard Dollars in Carson City, as at San Francisco, to the output of a very large amount of Trade Dollars in 1873, with a similar diversion of labor to them for several years to come.
The Trade Dollar 1873 cc has a medium sized, widely separated Mint Mark over the space before the D and the D itself. 1874 shows a small close pair of cc's in the same position. In 1875 the cc's are medium in size and close together over the space. 1876 has the medium and close cc's over the space and the D. 1877 repeats these details. 1878 offers the largest CC of all. The letters are close together and are over the D and the space to the right.
Condition, we repeat, is an especially important factor of value in Dollars of the Branch Mints, and uncirculated pieces of the many abundant dates will command good premiums. Any prominent dealer could soon fill an order for one hundred strictly uncirculated Philadelphia coins of any silver denomination and date (except very few) between 1840 and 1890 but would find an equal number of any Branch Mint piece very difficult to gather in the same condition.
We have in these lists inserted the Trade Dollars in their regular order in the Branch Mint Coinage to better show their relation to the Standard Dollars and their occupation of the break in the series of that piece. But as many collectors keep their Trade Dollar set apart, we will show, in a mention of our array of these pieces, bow an interest in Mint Marks may help to greatly enrich it.
To the eleven Philadelphia Proofs from 1873 to '83 may be added the five uncirculated dates from 1873 to '77 of the same Mint, the six regular Trade Patterns, the six S Mints from 1873 to '78, the six CC Mints of similar dates and the two Half Milled S Mints of 1877 and '78, making a collection of thirty-six pieces in all.
As another instance of how a study of Mint Marks will enable the numismatist to enrich his collection, we draw attention to the fact that there are no less than six different Silver Dollars of 1873 and 1878, as follows: The standard pieces of the Philadelphia, the Carson City, and the San Francisco Mints, together with the 'Trades' of the Carson City and San Francisco Mints, make five pieces for each date, and for the sixth the '73 P Mint can be had, both uncirculated and in proof, and the '78 P in proof only, with seven and with eight tail feathers to the eagle.
There is also a rare 1878 dollar, which has three single leaves on the stem in the eagle's claw instead of the usual three groups of three leaves each, and which, being otherwise, obverse and reverse, exactly like the standard P mint 1878, does not deserve to be called a 'pattern.' But we are wandering somewhat, in our remarks upon general varieties, from the subject of Mint Marks to which this Treatise is devoted. A study of them in every silver series has, however, now been completed.
The years of issue at the Branch Mints of each denomination from the Three Cent piece to the Dollar have been carefully given, and all varieties thus far discovered particularly mentioned, both to show what are known to exist and to stimulate a search for others which may yet be found, a search not only for varieties, but for Mint Mark rare dates hitherto overlooked which any one may retrieve from circulation and dispose of at a high price.
Silver Dollars, CC, 1870, '71, 72, '73; S, 1859, '72, '73; O, 1846, '50.
Half Dollars, O, 1838, '53, no arrows or rays; S, 1855, '57, '78; CC, '73, no arrows.
Quarters, CC, 1870, '71, '72, '73; S, '64, '66, '71.
Twenty Cent piece, CC, '76.
Dimes, CC, 1871, '72, '73, '74; O, '60; S, '58, '59, '70, '85.
Half Dimes, O, 1838, '42, '44, '48, '49, '52; S, '71.
These pieces range from rare to extremely rare. Many merely scarce ones are not added that those of the first importance may be more clearly kept in mind.
The Half Dime of 1838, O, without stars.
The Dime of 1838, O, without stars.
The Dime of 1860, S, with stars.
The Quarter of 1840, O, without sleeve.
The Half Dollar of 1858, O, without arrows and rays.
The Half Dollar of 1866, S, without the motto 'In God We Trust.'
The Half Dime and Dime without stars were issued in 1837 at Philadelphia, but not in '38. The last Philadelphia Dime with stars was struck in 1859. The other pieces have been referred to in past pages.
Half Dimes, 1863, '64, '65, '66, and '67, but especially the '64, are high rarities if without an 'S' upon them. In the San Francisco Mint the coinage averaged nearly $6,000 worth annually. In Philadelphia about $500, and of the 1864 date but $23.50. Dimes, 1866 and '67, of Philadelphia have not a fifteenth of the issue of the S mint. Quarters, 1841 and '42, are still rarer without the O, '42 especially, and 1866, '67, '68, and '69 without the S. 1888 is very common with the S and very rare without it.
These points illustrate the advantage of a knowledge of Mint Marks even to those who do not collect them.
Half Dollars, though several immense S Mint issues surpass greatly several large issues of similar date at Philadelphia, offer but one notable greater rarity in the latter coinage, that of 1852.
In Dollars the date 1850 of Philadelphia is much rarer than the O Mint piece, the coinage being but a fifth of the latter.
Trade Dollars of the Philadelphia Mint are in a decided minority compared with others in the years 1874 and '75 only, but, as we have before said,the almost entire remelting of the 'Trades' nullifies all influence of issue.
Philadelphia scarce dates have not been here referred to except in comparison with competitive Branch Mint pieces. The rare ones coined in Philadelphia only, are beyond our province of reference.
Mint Marks can be classified either according to the various Mints or by denominations, and a collector cannot realize fully, until he sees the many dates and varieties of any mintage so arranged, how interesting and valuable they are. A beginner may indeed commence with Mint Marks only. He will thus postpone the outlay involved in gathering the older and rarer Philadelphia coinage, he will find a much larger proportion of needed pieces in circulation, he will discover occasional varieties, now rarely possible in old coin, and he will accumulate series of modern pieces in desirable condition which will have high value in the future.