1861 Three-cent silver piece misstrike?
Asked by: magellanic-ga
List Price: $5.00
24 Nov 2002 16:10 PST
Expires: 24 Dec 2002 16:10 PST
Question ID: 113870
Short version: I have an 1861 three-cent silver piece and the coin back appears flipped compared to any other US coin I've seen. Is my coin misstruck or is that how the coin is supposed to look? Long version (and more details): I have several three-cent silver pieces. My 1861 coin seems to have its reverse side flipped compared to the others. Ie, I hold all the coins obverse toward me and pointing up, then flip them around a vertical axis, four coins (1852, 1853, 1854, and 1858) show the reverse upside-down ("C" opening to the left). The 1861 coin shows the reverse right-side up ("C" opening to the right). I know that there are several variations of the three-cent silver pieces, and that my 1861 is the only "sub-type 3" (http://www.coinfacts.com/three_cents/three_cents_silver/three_cents_silver_by_date.html) that I have. But, the descriptions of all the variants seem to do with the number of outlines around the star on the observe and whether there's an olive branch near the III on the reverse. Nothing is ever said about how the reverse and obverse are aligned with each other. So, my question, then is: which of the following is true? (a) My coin is normal -- that's just how the mint struck all of them. (b) My coin is mis-struck -- the reverse really should be flipped, just like the rest of my three-cent silver coins. (c) My coin is a counterfeit -- someone faked an old coin (badly) to make some fast cash. (d) Some other hypothesis that I didn't think of.
Re: 1861 Three-cent silver piece misstrike?
Answered By: playhosea-ga on 24 Nov 2002 17:22 PST
Hi. Thanks for the detailed question. I've done about a good amount of research on it and I believe that the most likely possibility is that your coin is misstruck. After consulting numerous sources, none of them have suggested the possible error on the 1861 type 3 three cent piece that you've mentioned. Here is a link to a photo of the coin you mentioned and as you can see the "C" opens to the right. I believe this, along with the information from coinfacts.com confirms that the normal alignment orientation has the "C" opening to the right side. http://www.geocities.com/rodeodrive/9830/3c.html Here's a few other websites, with photos that imply the silver three cent pieces all have the "C" opening to the right. http://www.treasurecompany.com/knowledge/three_cent.htm http://www.coinsandstamps.com/uscoins/three_cent_pieces.htm Here is an article that gives a very thorough background on the 1861 type 3 three cent piece, but never the reverse-obverse alignment possibility. If the "C" opening to the left orientation is normal, I'd imagine that such a comprehensive article would mention it. http://www.oldcoinshop.com/coinhistory/03c-1859-73.htm My search revealed only a few mentions of counterfeit three cent coins. It appears, there have been more cases of counterfeit two-cent pieces. Here is a site that mentions counterfeit three-cent pieces from 1864. http://www.money.org/counterfeitlist.html Alas, this is only my conclusion and I am not a coin professional. To be certain you have a misstruck, I suggest you contact an expert in the coin industry. Here is a list of clubs and certification services that may be of further assistance. http://www.acsb.com/resources.htm#clubspubsresources I'm not sure how devoted of a coin collector you are, but if you haven't already, check out the site of Professional Coin Grading Services. They may be able to help you gain additional confirmation. http://www.pcgs.com Again, based on my findings, I think you can eliminate option A, as you described it, from the range of possibility. The most likely situation is option B or perhaps D, but I can't imagine another scenario than the original three you described. Options C remains a possibility, but I believe it's unlikely. Hope this helps! Search Strategy: "1861 Three Cent Pieces" "Three Cent Pieces" "1861 3 Cent Pieces" "Type 3 Three Cent Pieces" "Silver Three Cent Pieces" playhosea-ga
rated this answer:
Super; thanks! From the first link you provided I found http://www.geocities.com/rodeodrive/9830/ which is someone's attempt to build a census of all rotated die coins. My 1861 three-cent silver is definitely among the 180-degree rotated set. According to the site, there's at least 30 other such 1861 three-cent silver coins as well (the one pictured in the link you found being one in particular). That pretty much answers my question. Thanks!
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