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The E-Sylum: Volume 3, Number 10, March 5, 2000, Article 8


In response to D. Wayne Johnson's remarks on Breen's numbering system, Michael Schmidt writes:

"You liked this!??"

"I discussed this numbering system once with Walter. He said he had nothing to do with it and that it was all the publisher's idea. A straight-through numbering system is very foolish. The numbers bear no real relationship to the coins they are cataloging. Yes, they left empty numbers for later additions, but at the end of each denomination, not at the end of each series. Take the 1914/13 buffalo nickel. This is a major new discovery that deserves its own Breen number, but the next open number comes AFTER all of the Jefferson nickels. In fact, since the overdate was discovered several years ago, its number would now be contained WITHIN the Jefferson nickel numbers.

When it happens with older series the problem gets even worse. The 1796 NC-7 large cent has a new obverse and the only stemless wreath reverse for that date. Its Breen number would be mixed in with the copper plated zinc Lincoln cents. Secondly, even though empty numbers were left they are rapidly being consumed by the new issues each year. What do you do when the empties have been all used up? Re-number everything? Or does next year's Jefferson nickel just get a Breen number in the 8300 range? No, the numbering system in the Breen book is hopelessly flawed."

Wayne Homren, Editor

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