In last week's announcement of the new monograph on 1824 JR-2 dimes, there was a typo in author Jim Koenings' email address. The correct address is
. Thanks for Rob Galiette for being the first to point this out.
Below is my review.
Jim Koenings' new work is a 45-page monograph, 8.5" x 11" format, spiral bound with cardboard covers protected with plastic sheets. The meat is in the Ranking section (pages 5-38) where individual specimens of this die vsriety are listed one to a page with large color photographs of the obverse and reverse. Each listing includes condition census rank (from 1 to 33), grade, current owner and pedigree (where known), notes, and photo credit.
It's an oversimplification of course, but there are two main kinds of collectors, and thus two main kinds of one-coin numismatic books. One kind of collector is attracted to numismatics for the history and stories behind their coins. Books like The Fantastic 1804 Dollar" and "Million-Dollar Nickels" (about the 1913 Liberty Head Nickels) fall mainly into this category.
Another kind of collector is attracted to the intricacies of artwork and detail in coins themselves. Thus books like the Clapp/Newcomb/Sheldon works on Large Cent varieties, and the Beistle/Overton works on Half Dollar varieties.
Koenings' monograph is clearly in the latter category, taking earlier die variety studies to the next logical step - a detailed look, specimen by specimen, at individual examples of one variety. It's painstaking work, and Jim's efforts have laid the groundwork for the studies of future generations of collectors.
As Jim notes in the "How This Book Came About" section, he discovered early on the importance of identifying specific examples of the coin as they exchanged hands over the years. Indeed, this type of detailed study was a key part of "The Fantastic 1804 Dollar" book, one of my all-time favorites.
Doing the research on this book, I discovered how really important pedigree information has become. Many times the same coin is reported in different grades. For instance in the 1st JRCS Dime Census in November, 1987, there were 6 specimens reported (30, 15, 12, 8, 8, 6). Jules Reiver’s VF-30 coin was sold to Jim Matthews as a VF-25 coin in Heritage’s Sale of January, 2006. JRCS #010's F-12 coin was sold through Coin Galleries, 7-18-90 Sale as a VG coin. Then later again the same coin was sold by Coin Galleries, 7-14-93 Sale as a Fine coin.
Allen F. Lovejoy reported a VG specimen that was eventually purchased by Donald Peetz, who submitted it to ANACS and is now graded G-4. John McCloskey’s G-6 coin was sold to Russell J. Logan and later sold in the Logan Duplicate Sale, May 13, 2006, as a G-4 coin. William Subjack’s VG-8 is now owned by Mike Sherrill. The location of H. Roland Willasch’s F-15 is still unknown.
The book includes close-up photos of the key diagnostic points for attributing the variety. All of the photos are quite useful to collectors of the series.
If there's something missing from the book, it's prices (or "values"). As a non-collector of varieties, I'm clueless. Are these $100 coins? $1,000? $10,000? Even a general guide would help, as would a compilation of sale prices where known specimens changed hands in an auction. In the Summary, a couple sale prices are mentioned, but only in passing.
Despite that one omission, I think this is a a very useful work for collectors of the Bust Dime series, and a good example for single-variety monographs on other coins.
If you would like a copy, you can send a check or money order for $24, which includes shipping and packaging, to:
P.O. Box 2382
Riverside, CA 92516
Jim kindly forwarded me some text from his manuscript, and I've quoted several paragraphs below. Thanks, and congratulations on a nice product.
At the next coin show, I purchased 4 or 5 more Capped Bust Dimes in low grade and decided to see how inexpensive a set of "Red Book" varieties I could complete. I then noticed that a couple of 1835 dimes were different, but there was only one variety listed in the Red Book. So I asked one coin dealer if he knew of any reference book on dime varieties and he suggested that I purchase a copy of "United States Dimes" by A. Kosoff.
So I purchased, through the mail, a copy of the Revised Edition 1964 with current values. It was very disappointing as their were no real descriptions, for instance Kosoff listed two varieties for 1835, one with a small 0 in 10 C and one with a large 0 in 10 C. My real answer came in the January 9, 1985 issue of "Coin World" when they announced the new book "Early United States Dimes 1796-1837" by David J. Davis, Russell J. Logan, Allen F. Lovejoy, John W. McCloskey and William L. Subjack (EUSD).
I immediately purchased the book and the hunt began. The authors of this book formed an organization that they called the John Reich Collectors Society (JRCS) and I became a member the first chance I had. Its first publication "John Reich Journal" was printed in January, 1986. Persons interested in joining JRCS may email Brad Karoleff at firstname.lastname@example.org for additional information, or write to JRCS, P.O. Box 135, Harrison, OH 45030.
Over the next 15 years, I specialized in collecting Capped Bust Dimes by variety, finding 120 out of 122 known. In June, 1988, I found my first specimen of 1824 JR-2, it graded AG-3.
Sometime in the year 1985, I went to a local coin show in California. At that coin show, I met Brian Greer. For some reason, Brian pointed out to me, in my copy of "EUSD", that the 1822 JR-1 variety was the same rarity as the 1824 JR-1, R-3 (201 to 500 known). So I decided to go out of my way and look for 1824 dimes.
At my next dentist appointment, I mentioned that fact to my dentist, along with the fact that if we bought all of the 1824 dimes we could find, we might also find a few 1824 JR-2 dimes. So for nearly 20 years, my dentist gave me money each month to purchase 1824 dimes and other rare items.
In the nearly 20 years that we had the partnership, I had purchased one 1824 JR-2, attributed, for my personal collection (Coin Galleries, 7-14-93, Lot 2264) and found 3 others, a F-12 specimen and two AG-3 specimens. Not quite what I had hoped.
During this same period, I came upon another die variety that I thought was very underrated, 1827 JR-2. I was so fascinated with the 1827 JR-2 that I decided to do a pictorial census on it. It took me 14 months to complete, but by January, 2010 I had my first book printed. The book was so successful that I decided to do a second book, this time a pictorial census on 1824 JR-2 dimes.
Having accumulated hundreds of 1824 dimes and keeping photos and records of others that I didn’t purchase, I now have records of nearly 700 specimens. Later in this book you will find the grade distribution of all 1824 dimes. I will compare the grade distribution for 1824 JR-2 listed in this book with the grade distribution of 1824 JR-1 dimes.
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
NEW BOOK: 1824 JR-2 - THE 6TH RAREST CAPPED BUST DIME DIE VARIETY
THE BOOK BAZARRE
NOVEMBER 18, 2010 AUCTION HIGHLIGHT
Featuring a 17th Century Engraving of the St. Patrick’s Coinage. An exceptionally fine example of this numismatic landmark work, with a remarkable pedigree. From the library of Rogers Ruding, it was purchased by Edward Hawkins on November 27, 1838 at the auction sale of coin dealer Matthew Young. Beyond comprising the first major history of English medals written in English, it is also thought to be the earliest publication to depict a St. Patrick’s copper.
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