"J325a" does not exist!



A letter from: David Cassel e-mail DavCassel @aol.com

August 2, 1999 To: William T. Gibbs, "Coin World" News Editor

e-mail: bgibbs@coinworld.com

Re: J330a., ex: J325a. NGC Certificate # 140042-009

Dear Mr. Gibbs,

Late this afternoon, Mr. Robert Klein phoned me with the scientific results of metal analysis performed on his Postage Currency 10 cent, NGC, J325a, Proof 65 coin of 1863 at NGC’s direction to Ledoux & Company of Teaneck, NJ. The report is attached.

The x-Ray analysis showed the following metals present: Copper 73.6% Nickel 25.8% Iron 0.35% Cobalt 0.19%

Of importance, note the coin consists of, no silver. As certified by NGC with their Judd attribution of J325a., this coin was supposed to have been a reeded edge silver, not a reeded edge cupro-nickel coin.

Mr. Klein has informed me that NGC is reluctant to call this coin a J330a. because the Judd book refers to this coin J330a. simply as “nickel.” NGC insists that the coin should be slabbed as a NGC proof 65 J330b. This is a designation that NGC created. This coin already exists and is accepted by all educated numismatists as a J330a.

Whatever one wants to call this coin be it J330a. or J330b. it still is made of virtually the same cupro-nickel blend as one other J330a. (Lemus Coin) that I was fortunate to test and several other coins also that I have tested.

Undeniably, Mr. Klein’s coin went from a “unique” population one coin as a J325a. to an R-7 coin status.

The Judd book does not define what “nickel” refers to in any circumstance. Does nickel mean: pure nickel, some nickel, cupro-nickel, magnetic nickel, non-magnetic nickel , or nickel alloy? In just a few cases does Judd differentiate between nickel ingredients in other than the most general of ways. Probably he didn’t know of any differences, didn’t test any coins, didn’t think anyone would care, and just assumed that nickel meant “cupro-nickel” because he knew his readers would assume cupro-nickel also.

What follows is a short list of uncommon Judd descriptions involving “nickel”: J167a. “Pure Nickel,” J1704 “Nickel (pure)” and same design as previous, J1705 “Nickel nonmagnetic”, also the following coins with the same designs were listed: J1707 “Nickel pure magnetic” and 1708 “Nickel nonmagnetic”, J1767 “Nickel” and J1767a. “Pure Nickel magnetic”, J1770 “Nickel” and J1771 “Pure Nickel Magnetic”, and finally, my favorite, J1723a. “Nickel alloy.”

I dare say that most numismatists would believe that “nickel,” when describing a coin means “cupro-nickel” such as the Jefferson Nickel. We don’t refer to Jefferson Nickels as “Jefferson Cupro-Nickels.” Pure nickel and other out of the ordinary attributes of nickel coins need to be so indicated.

Very few coins are catalogued as specifically as J111 “Silver 50% Copper 50%” or J112 “Silver 60 copper 40%.” J113 is catalogued “Silver-copper.” How is that different than ordinary silver coins which traditionally have 90% silver and 10% copper or billon coins (example J326a.) which have more copper than silver by proportion?

In previous correspondence , I suggested the need for scientific analysis on United States Pattern coins of potentially dubious attributions. What value is there for a collector to have arbitrarily imposed certifications if they are not backed up by more than a grader / authenticator opinion?

In this correspondence, I suggest also that PCGS, NGC, and the other coin encapsulation firms, coin dealers of U.S. pattern coins, pattern coin collectors, and the numismatic press take a good look at the U S Pattern Club web site: http://uspatterns.com/uspatterns/ We have constructed a concordance of important information on as many as we know of U.S. pattern coins. We have the ability to expand the categories as new information on patterns is available. It should never be the case that a dealer or encapsulation firm assign an attribution based upon anything but good reliable information. No longer should a dealer or encapsulation firm assign a Judd number which limits attributions to the choices offered in the Judd or Pollock books.

Attached please also find a recent e-mail I received from a collector Mark Rush. He sent a J325 PCGS encapsulated coin (his only Postage Currency pattern coin) to Rick Montgomery, president of P.C.G.S. The coin was tested and returned to him as a J326a. He seems delighted to have discovered the true identity of his coin and he was unconcerned what price he had to pay for the truth. There are a lot of Mark Rush inquisitive collectors that read your newspaper. Please come to their aid.

Very sincerely,

David Cassel



July 20, 1999

William T. Gibbs Coin World News Editor

Dear Mr. Gibbs,

Robert Klein's NGC J325a. was removed from it's holder today at NGC. The coin was weighed. Its weight is 2.08 grams which equates to 32.16 grains. The weight of all known J330a. nickel coins range from 32 grains to 33.29 grains. By deduction, if the reeded edge J325a. coin weighed 38.3 grains, it would have been produced on a regular silver dime planchet.

NGC informed Mr. Klein that a scientific analysis would be performed on this coin but the results would not be known for two weeks.

I of course will inform you of the test results when known. In the mean time, I feel certain that Mr. Klein's coin is in fact the J330a (cupro-nickel) coin as I had always felt it was.

The knowledge of the facts will surely demonstrate that some coin attributions are falsely made and the need for coin scientific testing is a very legitimate need. We now know there is no reeded edge silver Postage Currency ten cent coin of 1863. We also know the reeded edge cupro-nickel coin known as J330a numbers at least five.

Mr. Klein's coin fell from what he believed to be a unique coin to an R-7 coin.

You may wish to wait for the "official" test results before a follow up article to your request to locate this coin for me.

Once again, thank you and Coin World for the generosity you have extended in aiding in my search and research.

Very sincerely,

David Cassel