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QUERY: HOW TO COUNT REEDS ON A COIN'S EDGE?One of the key diagnostics identifying the forged U.S. Assay Office of Gold pieces is the number of reeds on the edge of the coin. But what's the best way to go about counting reeds? It's obvious how to count the number of legs on a buffalo or the number of exposed breasts on a Standing Liberty Quarter. But with reeds on the edge of a coin, which make a complete circle, how do you know when to stop counting?
I've never actually done this, but I suppose I would place the coin on a piece of paper, make a tic mark to mark the location of the "first" reed, then go around and count until I reached the end. Being anal retentive, I would probably make a tic mark for every single reed, and perhaps make every tenth mark longer for easier counting.
How do authenticators do it? How do they record their results? If I did this task frequently I might make up cards to record my tic mark counts. These could even be scanned and stored with the coin's computer files. Taking it farther, the coin's edge could even be photographed, but this requires special experience and a setup. Anyway, I'd be curious to know how the pros handle this tedious but crucial task.
Wayne Homren, Editor
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