Monday Morning Brief for Oct. 24, 2022: When dreams come true
- Published: Oct 24, 2022, 7 AM
Collectors dream of a big discovery — finding a hoard of gold coins, for example, or a new example of a rare die variety or marriage, or even a new die marriage.
Take, for example, our news article about the discovery of a new die marriage for an 1800 Draped Bust, Heraldic Eagle half dime. As Paul Gilkes reports this week, the first new die marriage discovered for the entire series in nearly 30 years has been authenticated by Professional Coin Grading Service.
For collectors of earlier series of U.S. coins — those pieces struck when dies were individually distinctive — finding a new die marriage is the accomplishment of a lifetime. Fellow collectors will salute and envy the lucky numismatist who discovers a pairing of obverse and reverse dies (hence the term “die marriage”) that no one else had ever identified.
Of this latest find, Paul writes, “According to PCGS numismatists Dylan Dominguez and Edward Van Orden, the new discovery, designated LM-5 by Federal Half Dimes 1792–1837 by Russell J. Logan and John W. McCloskey, pairs Obverse 3 die with Reverse C.”
PCGS certified the coin as About Good Details, Holed. For many coins, a low grade and a hole would make it worthless or nearly so, but not for this piece. The coin is unique by die marriage and its owner has bragging rights. Not only is it a new marriage, it is one that no one else has.
However, count on collectors of the series to check their coins to see whether they might have an unattributed examples in their collection.
Hoard discoveries are exciting, too, and very much in the news. John Andrew, our longtime London correspondent, follows up this week on earlier news coverage of the Ellerby Hoard, 266 gold coins discovered during alterations to a kitchen in an 18th century house in 2019.
Imagine ripping up the floor of your house and finding, amidst the dirt and spiderwebs and other worthless stuff, a pile of gold coins hundreds of years old.
The coins in the hoard have now been auctioned as John reports, and the results well exceeded the auction house’s expectations. Undoubtedly the owners of the coins recouped enough to pay for those kitchen renovations made in 2019.
Of course, most of us will never be as lucky as the finders of the new Draped Bust half dime die marriage or hoard of English gold coins. But it could happen to you just like these fortunate individuals.
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