US Coins

Inside Coin World: Feuchtwanger's Composition token

In 1837, Dr. Lewis Feuchtwanger issued tokens in an alloy he called “Feuchtwanger’s Composition,” and promoted it as a potential replacement for the copper used in half cents and cents.

Original images courtesy of Heritage Auctions.

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Tokens to Collect: Feuchtwanger’s Composition tokens

In 1829, Lewis Feutchwanger left his native Bavaria for the United States, settling in New York City where he established the first German pharmacy. As I write in my “Tokens to Collect” column in the Dec. 24, 2018, issue of Coin World, he also embraced his interest in natural science by introducing a particular variant of German silver: an alloy that despite its name carries no silver at all.

In 1837, Feuchtwanger approached the federal government and offered to supply them with his German silver alloy — which he immodestly called “Feuchtwanger’s Composition” — as a replacement for the copper used in making half cents and cents. He even produced sample 1-cent pattern pieces, or tokens, and gave them to members of Congress and to the Mint to promote his alloy.

Learn more about his proposal, and why the U.S. Mint rejected his German silver alloy, in the column, which is found only in the print and digital issues of Coin World.

About VAMs: VAM-4 1880-O Morgan dollar

As John Roberts writes in his “About VAMs” column, the VAM-4 die marriage of 1880-O Morgan, Small O dollar has been known to variety experts since 1966. The obverse with its distinctive overdate (the 80 in the date is punched over a 79, and the 18 is repunched as well) and Small O Mint mark on the reverse make it popular with collectors.

Roberts writes that he recently acquired a prooflike example with strong cameo effect and “very deep mirrors.” He writes that the piece is exceptionable for the VAM-4 die marriage.

Read more about the coin and how to identify it in the latest “About VAMs” column, found only in the print and digital editions of Coin World.

Collectors’ Clearinghouse: Rim-to-rim cuds

Mike Diamond explores extraordinary examples of the cud type of error in his latest “Collectors’ Clearinghouse” column. Cuds, or corner die breaks, result when a flake of die steel adjacent to the rim breaks away, leaving a void in the die into which coin metal flows, leaving a corresponding raised area on the coin.

Rarely, a cud extends across the face of a die, connecting two points on the rim. He details six ways in which this might happen, then illustrates two examples and offers theories about how the errors might have occurred.

To learn more about the error to see illustrations of the two coins, see Mike’s column in the Dec, 24 issue of Coin World

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