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L.A. Olympic committee stuck with fees


Didn’t the U.S. Olympic Committee have to pay for the lobbying done by the two private firms that attempted to take over distribution of the 1983-1984 Olympic coins?

It was not the U.S.O.C. that got stuck with the lobbying fees, but the Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee, which agreed to pay the lobbying costs incurred by Occidental Petroleum and Lazard Freres. Just how much they wound up paying for a losing cause is unclear, but it must have been a substantial amount as the two firms made a full scale but unsuccessful effort to win the distribution rights for a 29-coin program.

I have a 1975 proof Ike dollar with a dull surface on one side. How can this happen?

I found the answer by accident during a visit to the British Royal Mint. The planchet for your coin stuck to a second one, and they went through (most of) the polishing process stuck together. It later was struck normally with one “proof side” and one dull side.

What is meant by a “caved” die?

This is an old term for a die that has had part of the face sink. The usual cause is incorrect heat treating of the steel die, which leaves some parts soft. Heat treating problems are cyclic, some of the notable examples being 1926, 1954-1955 and the early 1970s. More recently, the same problem has been found on the zinc cents. The modern counterpart term is “sunken die.”

I’m concerned that my Anthony dollar might be a counterfeit. It looks like it’s off center, but it has no reeding.

Your 1979-P SBA dollar is a normal off-center strike, about 3 percent off. Since it would have to be struck out of the collar to be off center, there is no reeding on the edge of the coin because there was no contact with the collar, which imparts the reeding as the coin is struck. If instead it were a case of a misaligned die, then it would have been struck in the collar and would show reeding.

I recently purchased 1958 and 1958-D overdate cents, as listed in Breen’s Encyclopedia. Will you authenticate them?

Since the publication of Breen’s book we have determined that the varieties of the 1958 and 1958-D cents are not overdates. Del Romines did some very extensive research on a large number of the coins and was able to prove that the markings are the result of spiral ridges left by the cutter in the Janvier reducing lathe when the hubs were made.

Years ago you ran a story on a bubbled copper-plated zinc cent that sold for a substantial sum. Could you find the information, please?

Apparently you have something confused with the bubbled cents because the bubbles on the copper-plated zinc cents struck since 1982 are completely worthless. They have absolutely no value because the bubbles are a very frequent occurrence. Bubbling of any kind on any coin, especially the clad coins, has no value because the effect can be readily faked with the sudden application of heat, as with a welding torch. On the zinc cents, the bubbles are the result of contamination on the planchet under the plating that causes the zinc to corrode. If you open one of the bubbles, you will find a whitish zinc oxide pushing the copper up.

Can you tell me the story behind the “STATESOFAMERICA” varieties of 1814 and 1820 dimes, with the three words run together?

Walter Breen described the coins of both years as being from a single die that later was sold for scrap. Coin dealer Robert Bashlow used the die in Scotland to strike some 536 impressions, some uniface and some with a fantasy obverse with “GOD PRESERVE PHILADELPHIA AND THE LORDS PROPRIETORS.” A wide variety of metals were used, from platinum to lead. These pieces were seized by U.S. Customs and destroyed, and Treasury agents seized the dies in Scotland. The agents destroyed the historic die, assuming that it was as “counterfeit” as the fantasy obverse. This despite frantic efforts by Dr. Clain-Stefanelli to obtain the die for the Smithsonian collection.

What can you tell me about a 1970-D quarter on a thin planchet?
You have one of an estimated 20,000 that were struck at Denver on dime-stock planchets. These were planchets that were accidentally punched from dime thickness strip to quarter diameter at San Francisco and shipped to Denver to be struck. There are similar quarter stock dimes, but only a very few of those escaped the Mint. I’m guessing that probably as many as 20,000 were struck. I counted about 200 that were reported by our readers at the time and they are still turning up. Value for the circulated pieces runs about $7.50 to $10 and about $20-$25 for the uncirculated specimens. The pieces will weigh about 65 grains.

Are there any examples of private gold coins struck over U.S. gold?

Not very many, but there are two Clark, Gruber & Co. pieces, both $20, struck on U.S. Mint coins. One of the 1861 $20s is on an 1857-S double eagle, and the other is struck over an 1849 $10.
More examples of Territorial gold struck on U.S. coins include the Parsons & Co. $2.50 struck on 1850-O half dime, “two or three known,” also Parsons $2.50 on 1836 dime. Both were in the Kosoff sale held Nov. 4-6, 1985.

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