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    Description

    1863 Postage Currency Ten Cents in Billon
    Judd-326A, PR64
    Struck From Uncracked Dies

    1863 10C Ten Cents, Judd-326A, Pollock-394, Cassel-3, High R.6, PR64 PCGS. 24.8 grains. The usual obverse design that features the Federal shield with arrows, surrounded by an inverted laurel wreath, with the inscription EXCHANGED FOR U.S. NOTES around. The reverse contains the denomination 10 CENTS in two lines above the date, with the inscriptions POSTAGE CURRENCY and ACT JULY 1862 around. Struck in billon with a plain edge. These interesting Civil War patterns were struck clandestinely to reduce the weight of dimes and thus produce a "token" silver coinage for use during the war. SEM-EDX testing by S&N Labs on certificate number 60485.64/9460714 revealed this piece was composed of 84% copper and 16% silver. Perhaps the most significant aspect of this piece is the lack of die cracking, indicating its first-strike status. Like other billon pieces in this collection the surfaces show deep blue-green patina with a trace of red around the reverse margin. Fully struck, spot-free, the only pedigree identifier we see is a shallow planchet flake out of the reverse to the right of the 0 in the denomination.

    In pattern production, the Mint greatly abbreviated the usual process of die production. Normally, a galvano was placed on a reducing lathe, a hub was cut, and then sunk into a die blank. The stars, lettering, dentils were then added. Once it was hardened, a working hub was raised that could be used to produce working dies. But with patterns, where production runs were usually no more than a couple of dozen pieces, that process was greatly reduced. A die would be directly made for a pattern, and if more pieces were needed a hub could be created from the die. A new die could then be fashioned from the existing hub. (Thus, the argument could be made that most patterns were struck from a master die.) The fact is, no hub was ever created for the Postage Currency patterns. Not long after this coin was struck, the only existing obverse and reverse dies suffered cracks. As the cracks advanced, the resulting coins showed larger and more progressive cracks. Die crack progression is how we can demonstrate the order of striking of these coins. It is more than likely that a Mint employee created the rare early die state pieces, showing only minor cracking, before striking the coins that were authorized in silver, aluminum, and tin.
    From The David Cassel Collection.

    Coin Index Numbers: (NGC ID# 29F8, PCGS# 60485)


    Learn more at the Newman Numismatic Portal at Washington University in St. Louis.

    View all of [The David Cassel Collection ]

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    August, 2015
    12th-16th Wednesday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 14
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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