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Jan. 2003 Book Review
 Collectible Treasures Antique and Collectibles
Book Review Jan. 2003

Major Variety and Oddity Guide of United States Coins
by Frank G. Spadone

Major Variety-Oddity Guide of United States Coins 7th Edition by
F. G. Spadone Listing All U.S. Coins From Half Cents Through Gold
Coins Fully Illustrated, With Values

Contains Technical Data From Surveys and Years of Research,
Estimates of Quantity Known, and Rarities.

All Rights are reserved.  No Part of the contents or illustrations may
be reproduced or used to quote, in part, from these pages in critical
articles, for educational and reviewing purposes, and when proper
acknowledgment is made only.

Copyright MCMLXXVII    
Florence, Alabama   Exclusive Distributors

The Author welcomes you to hours of enjoyment that can be yours
through use of this seventh edition of the Major Variety-Oddity
Guide.  The purpose of this book is to be of service to the hobby, and
in it we have endeavored to be as accurate as possible.  There may be
room for improvement, and we welcome your ideas and suggestions
for the  bettering of future editions.  Letters, photos and inquiries are
welcome;  if you wish an answer, please enclose a stamped, self-
addressed envelope.

The prices shown here have been determined through reference to
auction sales,  advertisements, dealer, and contributor experience.  In
addition to these printed price references, we make available a limited
service in the examining, attributing and appraising of new finds and
oddities.  If you send in your special find, please enclose $5.00 per
coin to cover our small service charge, return postage, handling and
insurance.  For rare coins 10% of the estimate value.

For the sake of simplicity, the mintages shown have been rounded off
to the last three digits.  Since many coins are lost, mutilated, destroyed
and otherwise banished from view, it is safe to say that coins actually  
in circulation are fewer than the mintages shown.

The collecting of mint errors has become an increasingly  popular field
within the coin hobby.  It has attracted thousands of new enthusiasts and
established a need for its own specialized coin clubs, publications and
market supplies.  This book contains  a listing of clubs you may join and
mint error publications you may subscribe to;  they are a good media to
help you buy and sell your coins.  The author does not solicit to buy or
sell any items listed.

It is possible that you may not find every one of your  specific finds listed
here.  We have limited new find listings in the "filled die" and "cracked die"
categories.  A study of the two categories shows that there could be literally
thousands of these minor oddities to be listed,  the majority of them virtually
the same except for size and location of the oddity.  To list them all would
require several large volumes.  We have,  however, listed all the important
and popular oddities.

A feature of this guide is the code index for classifying every date and its
varieties.  The code will help collectors and advertisers to list and recognize
specific dates and types of oddities.  It also will allow future entries to be
readily listed and located.  The index column on the far  left margin of the
pages lists the code number for every date and a small letter for each variety
of that date.  Thus, the book's first listing, S1, is the 1793 half cent, S2 is the
1794 half cent, and S2a is the 1794 half cent divided date variety.  The S
stands for Spadone.  A column next to the mintage figure is for your record

What is a given  variety or oddity worth?  There is no pat answer to this
often asked question.  There are no fixed prices in the variety-oddity field;  
the law of supply and demand prevails.  Thus, any specific coin or variety
is worth what someone is willing to pay for it at the time you want to sell
it.  Eventually we can expect the give and take of the market to evolve
some standard values, but this is a comparatively new field of collecting
and it  will take time.

Even so, there are a few areas in which approximate values can be cited.   
Interesting examples of overlooked varieties that bring fabulous prices are
the overdates on which one or more numbers have been repunched or recut.  
The 1918/7-D nickel sold for less than $35 in 1954 and today it sells for
over $4,000.  I recall buying the 1942/1 dime at $8 in XF, and at $18,
uncirculated;  today it brings over $2,000 uncirculated.  Another variety is
the 1955 double die shift cent which used to sell for 50 cents and now brings
over $400.  Other cent varieties include the 1960 double D mint mark, the
1961-D over  horizontal D, and the 1960 small date.  The latter when first
discovered was ignored by many, but it now brings $4 or more.

Beyond these are many other items, considered minor oddities, which once
sold for a few cents and now bring premiums of several dollars each.  The
law of supply and demand is making itself felt.

In time we can expect the common accumulation method of collecting to
give way more and more to specialized collecting.  Some of the categories
already proving popular with specialists are double mink marks, Liberty
(BIE), overdates, double struck coins and off  center pieces.

Commercial supplies for the oddity-variety collector  are always open to
improvement.  Perhaps you have procedures that would help, such as a
unique method of housing your coins or an unusual system of collecting.  
We would like to hear from you so we can serve you better.

This guide was originated in response to growing collector interest.  While
varieties and oddities have existed for centuries, this phase of coin collecting
waited until recent years to come into its own with a tremendous rise in
popularity.  Today it provides a fascinating challenge to thousands of
collectors seeking new and often valuable pieces among our millions of
circulated coins.  It has opened new avenues of pleasure and excitement in
the numismatic field.

The essence of a hobby is the enjoyment of the undertaking and a sharing
of that enjoyment with others.  Knowledge and fulfillment are the goals.  
So collect for fun and enjoyment, the profit will take care of itself.  
Happy hunting to you.

F.G. Spadone

Mail to the author, should be sent to:
House of Collectibes
F.G. Spadone
P.O. Box D
Florence, Alabama  35630
For Replys, please send self addressed
stamped envelope.

How Varieties or Oddities Come About

The new collector no doubt would like to know  how the many types of
varieties and oddities originate.  Also, under what classification would they
be assembled.  The following listing shows categories, and how the coins
are attributed.

Filled Dies:  A blank or missing part of the date, lettering or design is caused
by metal filings, or foreign matter.  These particles clog the incused area,
thus when the die strikes the blank it leaves a missing portion.  An
excessively polished die and misaligned dies will produce the same results
of a filled die.

Cracked Dies:  Are due to over working, foreign matter, or improper
annealling which can cause brittle metal.  A chip or crack in a die will leave
a corresponding raised mark on the coin.  Both the obverse and reverse
dies  have the designs, lettering and dates incused.  When the die strikes the
blank planchet the metal is forced into the incused parts and raised, similar
to moulding.

Clash Dies:  Exactly as stated, both dies strike each other without a blank
planchet between them.  Depending on sharpness of the incused designs
and the metal temperament, one or both dies will have a raised outline of
the other's design.  Since this is cut into the die metal and leaves a permanent
cut, the result will appear on many coins until it is worn out.  The procedure
is similar to Cracked Dies as above.  What may appear as a cracked die
variety or a scratched surface, under a strong glass will prove to be a clash
die variety.

Off Metal:  This means the coin was struck in a metal other than the intended.  
For example, a cent design struck on a dime planchet, a nickel struck with a
quarter design.  This off metal type occurs when blanks remain in the hopper
when the dies are changed to a different denomination.  This error can cause
different denomination sizes also.

Dots:  A dot is sometimes placed on dies to help identify them.  For example a
half cent has them on the reverse side,  some  Morgan silver dollars have them
on the reverse side on the left bow of ribbon, and near the designer's initial near
the neck hair curl.  The 1884 dollar is noted for many of these dots.

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