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By Q. David Bowers, Co-Founder

When the dies of a coin in a coining press were spaced slightly apart, the metal in the planchet didn’t fill the deepest recesses of the dies, and the resultant coins were lightly struck in areas, especially on the high points. Sometimes in a series, scattered varieties are usually weak, while others are sharp. Among the Morgan silver dollars, those made at the New Orleans Mint are often weak at the centers of the obverse and reverse, while most struck at San Francisco are sharp. Among Buffalo nickels, many Denver Mint coins of the 1920s are weak, and the 1926-D is sometimes so weak that many features are blurred and indistinct.​

By Q. David Bowers, Co-Founder

In 1969 Jim Ruddy purchased a small cache of Indian Head cents found in an attic of a mansion in Virginia. These had never been examined by a numismatist. Jim had been interested in die varieties for a long time, and over a span of years had discovered several remarkable items, one of which was a new die for the 1786 Date Under Plow Beam New Jersey copper, a classic in that series. ​

By Q. David Bowers, Co-Founder

There are many coins that are presently thought to be unique in numismatic hands (just one known to exist) or that were thought to be unique in the past. The 1817/4 Overdate half dollar is one such example. In The Numismatist, October 1930, editor Frank G. Duffield had this comment: “E.T. Wallis, of Los Angeles, Cal., writes that he has recently discovered a heretofore unknown variety of the 1817 half dollar, the last figure of the date being cut over a 4.​

By Q. David Bowers, Co-Founder

Popularity is probably the single most important determinant of value. Basically, if rarities and grades are comparable, a numismatic item in a widely collected series will bring a much higher price than one in a narrow, specialized series with few adherents. Thousands of Mint State 1889-CC Morgan silver dollars exist, and yet the Guide Book prices an example in MS-60 grade for $24,000. In contrast, only 11 to 20 specimens of a certain Abraham Lincoln patriotic Civil War token exist, but a MS-63 specimen is valued at just $750 to $1,000.​​

By Q. David Bowers, Co-Founder

Joseph Menna, who grew up in the Blackwood area of Gloucester Township in New Jersey, received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia in 1992 and a Master of Fine Arts degree in sculpture from the New York Academy of Art in 1994. He then studied in Russia at the Saint Petersburg Stieglitz Academy of Art and Design.​

By Q. David Bowers, Co-Founder

Born in Philadelphia on April 27, 1943, John Mercanti was educated at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts (briefly), the Philadelphia College of Art, and the Fleisher Art School. He joined the U.S. Mint staff in 1974 and served as sculptor and engraver. 

By Q. David Bowers, Co-Founder

​Born in Clayton, New Jersey in 1939, T. James Ferrell graduated from the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, where he pursued studies in painting, sculpture, and graphics. Upon leaving art school in 1963, he worked as an artist on the staff of the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin for six years. In the decade after his graduation he served as monitor of the Professional Artists’ Graphic Workshop at the Academy. He studied art at the Barnes Foundation in Merion, Pennsylvania for two years.

By Q. David Bowers, Co-Founder

​Elizabeth Jones stands tall as one of the most accomplished artists of the United States Mint. Born in Montclair, New Jersey on May 31, 1935, Jones earned a Bachelor of Arts degree at Vassar College in 1957, studied at the Art Students League 1958-1960, briefly at the National Academy of Design, and in Rome at the Scuola dell’ Arte della Medaglia (receiving its diploma in 1964).

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