An unusual case of machine doubling
What is called “machine doubling” is a fairly common occurrence on coins and is a manifestation of press instability, writes Mike Diamond in his “Collectors’ Clearinghouse” column. The featured coin this week displays an unusual form of machine doubling.
“A complex example of bifacial push doubling is seen here in a 1994 South African 20-cent coin,” Diamond writes. “The obverse shows a dramatic east-to-west die shift and a modest north-to-south die shift, both of which primarily affect the coat of arms,” he writes, adding, “The reverse shows a simpler pattern of doubling, consisting of a strong north-to-south die shift that is best seen on the number 2 and the tips of the flower petals.”
An overlooked VAM that deserves better
John Roberts writes in his “About VAMs” column that, for the past 20 years or so, VAM specialists have focused on the specific die marriages found listed in several references rather than the entire series. “While this approach has served the collecting community well, the dates in the Morgan dollar series that are not represented on any of the several lists are, because of this, largely overlooked,” he writes.
He adds, “The VAM-6 1898-S Morgan dollar can be thought of as the ‘poster child’ for this sort of dollar. The variety boasts one of the strongest repunched Mint marks in the entire series, with a more readily identifiable spread than most of the more famous RPMs that have made the lists.” The coin also has a repunched date, adding to its appeal.
Those disturbing vignettes on obsolete notes
Wendell Wolka’s “Collecting Paper” column looks at a frequent design theme found on 19th century obsolete notes — a theme often described as “Indians viewing ‘Civilization.’ ” Wolka calls this “One of the more unusual, yes, even disturbing, themes that seemed to be popular on antebellum obsolete bank notes. …” Scenes showing Native Americans viewing trains and cities spreading into their lands were commonplace.
“History records that while the Indians did resist the westward settlement and ‘civilization,’ they were ultimately overwhelmed by both technology and sheer numbers. These notes show how it all started,” Wolka writes.
Looting that is difficult to acknowledge
Dennis Tucker’s “Guest Commentary” writes that the systematic theft of art and other collectibles, including coins, by Nazi Germany during World War II is well known. American soldiers who were “boots on the ground” also committed what amounted to petty, spur of the moment looting.
He adds: “More difficult to accept — more difficult, emotionally, even to acknowledge — is larger-scale looting perpetrated by unethical American soldiers and officers during and after the war. An Iron Cross hastily torn off a dead German’s tunic is one thing; rare paintings or coin collections gathered and stolen at the point of a gun are quite another.”