? Back before World War II, the smaller denominations ? halves, quarters and dimes ? were called ?Morgan? coins, referring to those struck from 1892 to 1916. Was this because the Morgan dollars were being issued at that time?
Undoubtedly this had something to do with it. Several dealers and at least one editor of a numismatic publication also contributed to the problem by referring to ?Morgan? dimes, quarters or halves in their ads, or in editorial copy. The coins were designed by Charles E. Barber and are correctly referred to as ?Barber? coins. Morgan got a lot of mileage out of designing the 1878 dollar, but had nothing to do with the 1892 coinage.
? I have a copper uniface piece with the ?Washington Born Virginia? design. Is this an original strike?
It probably is one of the restrikes made in the early 1960s by Albert Collis, a coin dealer in Massachusetts. Collis obtained the original obverse die and reportedly struck some 2,000 uniface pieces.
? There is a 1794 large cent that has what is nicknamed the ?office boy? reverse. Why the title?
The die looks like the office boy cut it while the engraver was out to lunch. The wreath is not symmetrical, and there are variations in the depth of the leaves. The ?N? in ?ONE? was cut upside down and then corrected.
? How is an electrotype made?
A graphite-coated mold of a coin is plated. Then this thin shell is filled with base metal and joined to the shell for the other side. Many were made after the Civil War for educational purposes. If expertly done, it is difficult to detect. When two electrotypes of the obverse and reverse of a coin are skillfully soldered together and then plated to hide the joint, they can be very deceptive. More than one have been accepted as genuine by gullible collectors. A solid electrotype is one that continued the plating process until the inside of the mold was completely filled with the plating metal.
? I have a set of early American coins issued in a cardboard holder that explains a bit about each one. What is the set worth?
I?m afraid you are in for a bitter disappointment. The entire set of early coins are modern copies or reproductions that have no numismatic value. These pieces turn up every day, usually without the board that identifies them. All are cast base metal, and some are plated to simulate gold or silver. Check the edges and you will probably find the evidence of casting.