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How to cherrypick a low ball coin.


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I am an avid cherrypicker,  over the years I have trained my eyes to explore each specimen for any anomalies that aren't quite correct.  Now its no secret just a bit of common sense as to whats correct...and what isn't. Its sort of like where's Waldo....! 

So basically a game one plays to train your eyes as well brain as to exactly what they see.  Now there maybe times that one talks themselves into seeing something that isn't actually there.

I highly suggest that one begins by researching a particular variety ,or by having a little knowledge of the series they are picking.

I start by looking over the obv.and rev. Sides of the specimen.  Then examine both sides of the specimen.  To determine a normal or mis aligned strike.

Now sometimes the variety is very prevalent other times it takes more steps to determine if it is indeed the real deal.

I recently picked 3 US shield nickels that were low ball grades. They were evenly worn, And even thought they are worn there's are items still visable enough to idenfy the variety.

The 3 items I picked a 1868  RPD with rev. Of 68. An 1870 thats a mule strike with a clashed Indian head cent, and a ddo that jusy isn't any old ddo.... its a ddo, a mpd,and a rpd.....all on one specimen. 

First the 1868 a rpd and a new reverse for the series . There were several reverse dies for the Shield nickel series. These are distinguished by the star placement on the reverse. See image below. Enlarging the image one can see the repunched date.


Next the 1870 Shield nickel....thoughtout US coinage, there has been many specimens being clashed with  a different series. This one a clashed die with a Indian head cent . If one studies the vertical plain lines in the shield  you will notice within those lines ghost like features are from the clashing of the obv. die.  The date placement is just another 'pup' which stands for " pick up point" .See image using your references it makes it easy to ID the variety as well the pups that are the road map to your find.

This particular variety is very rare and given a R-8 rating as to how rare this variety actually is... 

Lastly the 1872 another very rare variety. As again this date has not just 1 item going on to make it a variety....it has 3! RPD, an MPD, misplaced date,as well its a DDO! 

And what so crazy is the MPD ...mostly found near the rim or coins denticles...this one the '2' has been placed in the ball in the coins design.

No my specimen the 2 isn't that visible ,but is there ...and the other pups are proof enough to determine it in fact is the variety in question and another R-7+ variety.

On the shield nickel series there are more unknown or not discovered varieties than those that are known and listed.

Now the reason for such is that the 1866 CN three cent piece,as well the shield nickel was the first time in the history of the US mint coined money in a medal that composition was that hard. As prior they struck in gold,silver,and copper...which arent as hard medals as nickel-copper alloy. 

The amount of dies used to mint the 1866 shield nickel can easy be figured out...as the early shield nickel dies only lasted up to 10,000 strikes....after that the die would explode and fail.

One may also find many different die cracks...on shield nickels. Again the thickness and hardness of the NC alloy would cause  major die failure if over used.

The shield nickel was also produced in a time  peroid where dead presidents where not on US coins. There were symbols that could be recognised as symbols of the American liberties,as well symbols that truly represents the country as the united states of  "America."  And the coinage designs reflected the gift of freedom, liberty for all..... I hope you enjoyed this post....and it has passed on some knowledge for your future useage.  Regards Paddy 









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