An 1836 Die Alignment III Circulated Gobrecht Dollar
by Mike Carboneau
June 26, 2000

I've been researching the Die Alignment characteristics of Gobrecht Dollars since 1993. The primary purpose of this research has been to understand the emission sequence for these coins, estimate their actual mintages, and determine which coins represent the "original" (circulation) issues and which ones represent the "restrike" issues. This topic has been debated for several years and has yet to be resolved. The results of this research has already revealed some interesting new ideas in this area which will be published in a future journal article. However, the purpose of this note is to document an interesting Gobrecht Dollar that I discovered at the June 2000 Long-Beach Show.

As a part of my research, I have compiled detailed notes on all Gobrecht Dollars which I have personally inspected at all coin shows that I have attended (bourse floor data as well as auction data during the last seven years). In addition, information collected by myself and James C. Gray from published auction house data (i.e., information that has been personally verified by us) has also been included in this database. The database also includes information on coins held by some museums and a few that reside in private collections. No un-verified data has been retained in our study. During the last seven years of complying these data, I have personally inspected nearly 100 Gobrecht Dollars. The most common examples have been J-60 coins in Die Alignment I, followed by Die Alignment IV coins, and then Die Alignment II and III coins, with the Alignment II and III coins appearing in about equal numbers. After seven years of observation I have never seen a circulated Die Alignment III coin; however, I have seen circulated examples of J-60 coins in all other Die Alignments. In fact, for the first three years of research I did not examine even one Die Alignment III coin. Some incorrectly attributed "circulated" Die Alignment III coins have been advertised or reported in a few auction sales. However, it is difficult for most people to correctly distinguish a Die Alignment IV coin from a Die Alignment III coin, and all past cases that I have checked into, the reported coin has always been incorrectly described as Die Alignment III when in fact it was a Die Alignment IV specimen.

During the last two years I have begun to see a few more Die Alignment III coins than usual, with both Die Alignment II and III coins always being fairly difficult to locate. One major difference between the Die Alignment II and III coins that I have observed is: about half of the Die Alignment II coins are found in circulated condition and come with perfect reverse dies, and (until recently) all Die Alignment III coins have been in high grade condition (e.g., Pf-62 or higher), and have had evidence of reverse die cracks through the letters of "NITED STATES O". While at the June 2000 Long-Beach Show I noticed a well circulated (ANACS identified "restrike") Gobrecht Dollar in VG-8 condition. At first, I thought the coin would be in Die Alignment IV, but to my surprise when I turned the coin over it proved to be a Die Alignment III specimen! In addition, it had no visible reverse die cracks. Some might argue that the excessive wear on this coin may have obliterated any evidence of the reverse die cracks; however, all previous Die Alignment III coins that I have seen come with extensive and clearly defined cracks. These die cracks are located through and in between some of the reverse letters. Since most of the lettering on this coin is still quite readable, and since the letters themselves would have protected (to some extent) a die crack falling in between two adjacent letters, I tend to believe that some evidence of a die crack should still be present on this coin if it was originally there in the first place. Not even the slightest hint of a die crack is evident. The reverse looks just like many other well worn J-60 Die Alignment I coins that I have observed. A photo of the coin is shown at the top of this Webpage. This coin is the first Die Alignment III 1836 (J-60) Gobrecht Dollar that I have ever observed in circulated condition; and also, it is the first one without any reverse die cracks. Nevertheless, this coin may not be unique since at least two other circulated Die Alignment III coins (in grades of VF-XF) have been reported in a previous survey (see: "RESULT OF LIBERTY SEATED AND GOBRECHT DOLLAR SURVEY " by Robert Spangler, Garey Sutherby and Jim Gray - THE GOBRECHT JOURNAL, Collective Volume Number Three, pp. 402-403), but have not been personally inspected nor verified.

The main questions are: (1) when was this coin made, and (2) is it a restrike? I have some preliminary ideas concerning this subject but do not want to speculate at this time. Instead, I would like to first locate other J-60 coins in Die Alignment III that are either in: (a) circulated condition, or (b) are observed without reverse die cracks. Any readers that are aware of J-60 coins meeting either of the above two conditions are asked to e-mail me at: or write to me at the following address:

Mike Carboneau PO Box 50075 Idaho Falls, ID 83405