With permission, below is a republication of Len Augsburger's review of the new Kevin Flynn seated Dollar book, from the March 2014 issue of the E-Gobrecht, an electronic publication of the Liberty Seated Collector's Club (LSCC). Thanks!
The Curious Collector
by Len Augsburger, LSCC #1271
Dollar Book Review
This month we look at
Kevin Flynn's latest book,
The Authoritative Reference
on Liberty Seated
Liberty Seated dollars in general are not as
well covered in the current literature as other denominations
of seated coinage. The reason is obvious
- they are scarce, expensive, and variety collecting
is not for the faint of wallet. It's not quite as severe
as collecting double eagles by die variety, but
you get the idea.
By coincidence, I note that the current Heritage
sale, the Spring ANA in Atlanta, features well
over a hundred Liberty Seated dollars, many of
them damaged. I haven't seen the coins, or know
who consigned them (perhaps one of our eagle-eyed
E-Gobrecht readers can tell us), but this has the
hallmarks of a die variety study. Problem coins are,
of course, cheaper, and in many cases the researcher
has no choice - new varieties don't come in grading
sets where you get to pick and choose. This is
sometimes referred to as "taking one for the team,"
i.e., you buy a coin you don't necessarily want because
of the compulsion to complete the research.
Flynn's book does not go down that
path. This is not an a detailed guide to Liberty Seated
dollar die varieties. The grapevine indicates that
Dick Osburn and Brian Cushing are busily engaged
on that front, and we eagerly await the fruits of their
labors. What we have here is rather a mixture of
topics. The most valuable contribution, and the reason
I bought the book, is the reproduction of U.S.
Mint correspondence related to Liberty Seated coinage.
This section (Appendix A) is fully one-third of
the book, and with an 8.5x11 format using small
font, you get a lot of bang for your buck. This presents
the background on the origin and evolution of
seated coinage, and to have all this material gathered
together in one place is worth the price of admission.
Flynn has included an analysis of doubled
obverse and reverse dies, as well as misplaced and
repunched dates. The photography in this section of
the book is well done and the features described are
readily visible. This is not like one of the math textbooks
where the writer says things like "it is clear
that...," when it is not clear at all, and especially not
to the mathematically impaired like me. Flynn
worked with institutional collections - the Smithsonian
and the American Numismatic Society - to help
put this material together.
There are also specialized essays here from
other experts - John Dannreuther tackles the issue of
1853 proof restrikes, while Ron Guth has written up
the so-called "1851-O" Liberty Seated dollar. To
these "hot topics" Flynn adds additional sections on
the 1851 and 1852 restrikes, the 1866 no motto dollar,
and the San Francisco issues of 1870 and 1873.
The weakest section of the book is the date-by-
date analysis, which does not include much information
that is not available elsewhere. If you are
actively putting together a date and mintmark set of
Liberty Seated dollars, your best tools will be the
Heritage auction prices archives, the PCGS and
NGC population reports, and a good relationship
with a dealer specializing in this area. On the other
hand, if you are interested in learning more of the
background of Liberty Seated coinage, and in getting
a look at the original documents, this book belongs
in your library.
To order your copy, contact Kevin Flynn at
Wayne Homren, Editor
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