1878 8TF $1 MS (PCGS# 7072)

2000 Santa Clara Signature Sale #242

  • Auctioneer:
    Heritage Auctions
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Lot Description
1878 Morgan Dollar Die. A fascinating piece of numismatic history, this item has created much conversation around the office recently. The story from the consignor is that this die was discarded from the Carson City Mint. He purchased it from a 70-year old man whose father gave it to him. The story goes that "a friend gave it to his dad." The friend had worked in the Carson City mint when it closed. This die was cancelled and tossed in the dump. His friend returned and retrieved this die and three or four more from the dump. He gave it to his father several years after the Mint's closing to repay a debt of some kind. When closely inspected, there are several obvious differences between this and other known dies. First, the beveled edge closest to the die itself is not as long or as angled as on other dies. Second, there are no numbers on the shaft. This would make sense if the die was never used, and if numbers were applied at the branch mints rather than in Philadelphia where they were prepared. Frankly, we just don't know. Third, the shaft is smooth. On other dies the shaft is scored. But that may be from usage. And it seems obvious this die was never used. But again, we just can't say for certain. Why wasn't this die used? There are a couple of flaws that may have rendered it unusable. There are several places in the fields that show pronounced lint marks, apparently transferred from the hub. Also, the letters TY in LIBERTY are missing. Perhaps the missing letters alone would not have rendered the die unusable, but coupled with the heavy lint marks both of these defects may have made this die undesirable. The cancellation is actually much lighter than other dies which have been X'ed from rim to rim. There are several spots of corrosion around the periphery on the die face and many more on the shaft. The complete story of this die has yet to be written, and we welcome any input others may have regarding the questions brought up by this interesting item.
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