A previously unreported 19th century brass hub reduction produced at the Philadelphia Mint bearing an eagle design by U.S. Mint Engraver Christian Gobrecht has been authenticated by Numismatic Guaranty Corp.
A hub reduction is a transitional piece, between the sculptured model and the hub used to create coining dies.
NGC has graded the newly discovered hub reduction as NGC Mint State 65. Its composition is 64.5 percent copper and 34.7 percent zinc, with a few trace elements. The weight of this example is 74.1 grams.
The hub reduction just identified is square in shape, with a circular area or disc at the center bearing the hub design on one side. The item measures 51 millimeters across its flats. The disc portion containing the eagle impression has the normal 38.1-millimeter diameter of a silver dollar.
From ANA to NGC
According to NGC, the brass hub reduction was brought to the attention of the grading service through a student in NGC grader John Schuch’s American Numismatic Association Summer Seminar class in 2013.
The student, Alexandrea Zieman, told Schuch that her father, John Zieman Jr., owned an unidentified brass plate bearing an eagle and they believed it to be of U.S. Mint origin.
John Zieman Jr., it was learned, had documentation tying the piece to Robert Maskell Patterson, director of the Mint from 1835 to 1851.
The brass hub reduction was submitted to NGC by Alexandrea and her father when they attended the Florida United Numismatists Summer Convention in Orlando in July 2013.
“All that was known initially about the brass trial is that within its square was a hub image of silver dollar size depicting a Gobrecht eagle not known to have been used with any dollar patterns,” according to an NGC press release. “This same device, however, had been reduced to half dollar size for use on silver and copper half dollar patterns dated 1838. These are varieties Judd 80 and -81, respectively.