FS-801s and "bald spots" on devices

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Tundra
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FS-801s and "bald spots" on devices

Post by Tundra »

I have not seen this topic discussed that I can recall, so please direct me to it if so.

Having never given it much thought, I guess I have assumed that what I will call bald spots, or spots that lack frosting on devices such as lettering on proofs was caused by post-strike handling. If this were the case, the pattern would be random and unique to each coin, much like post-strike hits on MS coins. However, something I have found tells me this is not the case but rather the pattern results from the die itself. You would likely have to look at hundreds of proofs to find a matching pattern, but what about looking at a much smaller population, such as among a rare single-die variety? Could this give some indication of the population of this rare variety?

I was recently fortunate enough to cherry pick a raw 1971 proof FS-801 Ike off ebay. That got me interested in looking at the other 801s out there to compare for possible grading results. I found that the 4 major TPGs have graded 22: 13 at PCGS, 5 at NGC, 3 at ANACS and 1 at IGC. From a thread I read here, I believe one coin accounts for 3 of these, bringing the total down to 20, of which there are almost certainly other crossovers and re-grades. I started looking for photos of as many as I could find and discovered something, the bald spot pattern on one of these is a match to mine. In the photo below, clips from the registry set photos of the graded "twin" are on the left and my raw "twin" in the OGP are on the right. Note the pattern on the "F of OF, the D of DOLLAR and the question-mark-like pattern on the crater.
Combined.jpg
I have not found this pattern in the photos of any of the other 801s that I have been able to locate. Does this mean that the population of 801s is represented by coins from both before and after at least one re-treatment? Or could the pattern be more transitory, changing quickly as the die wears, possibly even, say within the 105 possible population of EDS 801s speculated in another thread, and the two coins above with twin patterns just happening to be minted very close to each other in time?

Any thoughts on this would be appreciated. Maybe owners of other FS-801s could post similar images to compare?
Last edited by Tundra on Sat Aug 14, 2021 5:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

BrianVaile
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Re: FS-801s and "bald spots" on devices

Post by BrianVaile »

Very Cool!
I love the question mark marker.
Does this mean that the population of 801s is represented by coins from both before and after at least one re-treatment? Or could the pattern be more transitory, changing quickly as the die wears, possibly even, say within the 105 possible population of EDS 801s speculated in another thread, and the two coins above with twin patterns just happening to be minted very close to each other in time?
I would say yes, both, and yes. What you propose is very possible. Nice job on the research!
I'm still hoping to find an 801 one day...... :oops:

Happy Hunting!
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Re: FS-801s and "bald spots" on devices

Post by Tundra »

Another set of "twins" but with different bald spot patterns than the first set:
combined 2.jpg
The photo on the left is from a PF67CAM specimen and on the right is a PF69DCAM coin (both PCGS). I would think that the fact that there are two sets with overlapping patterns out of a population of no more than 20 known coins would suggest a very small population of FS-801s. Any statisticians in the group that could weigh in with an estimate?

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Re: FS-801s and "bald spots" on devices

Post by SteveP »

Great research, Tundra!

I can confirm that the one ICG FS-801 has been crossed to PCGS. IOW, that one can be deleted from the total.

I also have four FS-801 Ikes in hand. Of the four, one matches the "bald spots" in the first photo set (I'm going to call pattern 3), and had a nearly completely de-frosted earth (the most defrosted of the four that I have in hand). Two of the four match the "bald spots" in your second set of photos (I'm going to call pattern 1), and these have the most frosted earth of the set of four. That said, of the two that have the second pattern, the northwest half of the earth is showing progressive loss of frosting between the two. There is one of the four coins that has different bald spots than what you have shown (I'm going to call pattern 2), and has an earth with significant frosting loss, but is intermediate between the later die state of pattern 1 and the die state represented by pattern 3.

The W1 steel dies used in 1971, had an average die life of 3500 minted proofs for the reverse dies, and 2500 minted proofs for the obverse dies. All four of the specimens that I have in hand have the same obverse die marriage.

Hypotheses: there were fewer than 2500 FS-801 Ikes originally minted
1) One die marriage, ergo production run more limited by obverse die life (2500 coins) than reverse die life. And based on population reports, I suspect that even fewer than 2500 were minted. There would be more found and submitted if 2500 were minted...it is not as if people aren't trying to cherry pic these things.
2) I am uncertain of the approximate number of strikes that passed before the mint pulled dies for re-frosting. However, I suspect that these ran through only one frosting, and when pulled for re-frosting, the die doubling was discovered and the dies were pulled from production. If dies were frosted after about every 1000 coins struck, this hypothesis would account for less than a full run of 2500 coins, perhaps as few as 1000. I see no other evidence for a shortened die life in examining these four specimens.
3) The Kalantzis die stage of all four specimens were die stage G, meaning that perhaps the reverse die was paired to the obverse die later in the obverse die's life (eg, after the obverse die already struck 1000+ coins, pulled for die work, then paired with the FS-801 reverse), and once the obverse die was "done", the reverse was also pulled at that time. Again, this, if true, would account for less than 2500 FS-801 coins produced.

Thank you for posting, and providing me a stimulus to take a look at what I had in inventory.
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Re: FS-801s and "bald spots" on devices

Post by SteveP »

SteveP wrote:
Sun Aug 22, 2021 1:34 pm
The W1 steel dies used in 1971, had an average die life of 3500 minted proofs for the reverse dies, and 2500 minted proofs for the obverse dies. All four of the specimens that I have in hand have the same obverse die marriage.

Hypotheses: there were fewer than 2500 FS-801 Ikes originally minted
1) One die marriage, ergo production run more limited by obverse die life (2500 coins) than reverse die life. And based on population reports, I suspect that even fewer than 2500 were minted. There would be more found and submitted if 2500 were minted...it is not as if people aren't trying to cherry pic these things.
2) I am uncertain of the approximate number of strikes that passed before the mint pulled dies for re-frosting. However, I suspect that these ran through only one frosting, and when pulled for re-frosting, the die doubling was discovered and the dies were pulled from production. If dies were frosted after about every 1000 coins struck, this hypothesis would account for less than a full run of 2500 coins, perhaps as few as 1000. I see no other evidence for a shortened die life in examining these four specimens.
3) The Kalantzis die stage of all four specimens were die stage G, meaning that perhaps the reverse die was paired to the obverse die later in the obverse die's life (eg, after the obverse die already struck 1000+ coins, pulled for die work, then paired with the FS-801 reverse), and once the obverse die was "done", the reverse was also pulled at that time. Again, this, if true, would account for less than 2500 FS-801 coins produced.
I took a look again, the reverses of all four FS-801 specimens were in Kalantzis reverse die stage A. Relatively early die state. Again, with progress loss of frosting on the earth across the three identifiable patterns of "bald spot" representation.

Again, the obverses of all our FS-801 specimens were in Kalantzis obverse die stage G. Relatively late die state.

I then went to the PCGS pop report, and clicked through to the CAM and DCAM photos. They had photos of a a 67, 68, and 69 in CAM, and of a 69 in DCAM.
  • The PR69CAM had full frosting of the earth and no bald spots! The Kalantzis die stage for the obverse was a stage E or F - same obverse die / MMP. The reverse was stage A. So 0 bald spots, full earth frosting, early stage on the reverse, same obv die marriage, but slight earlier die stage obv than the ones with various "bald spot" patterns. (None of the specimens that I have examined in hand match this stage / pattern.)
  • The PR67CAM and PR69DCAM have some loss of NW earth frosting, and what I will refer to as pattern 1 bald spots (Tundra's second set of photos). Same obv die marriage - obv die stage F, rev die stage A. (Two of the specimens that I have examined in hand also match this stage / pattern.)
  • The PR68CAM have more progression of the NW frosting loss on the earth, and a different bald spot pattern (I will refer to this a bald spot pattern 2). Same obv die marriage - obv die stage G, rev die stage A. (One of the specimens that I have examined in hand also matches this stage / pattern.)
  • There were no images on the PCGS pop report site that depicted bald spot pattern 3 (Tundra's first set of photos). One of the specimens that I have examined in hand also matches this stage / pattern. Again, near complete absence of frosting on the earth (a bit on Florida). Same obv die marriage - obv die stage G, rev die stage A.
From examining four FS-801 coins in hand, and the four additional PCGS coin images (all photos of good quality):

1) The appears to be four distinguishable bald spot patterns: 0, 1, 2, 3. Die wear progresses through these various stages. All have same obv/rev die marriage. (Tundra's first set of photo are pattern 3, Tundra's second set of photos are pattern 1, and pattern 0 has full frosting on the earth and no discernable bald spots on image review)

2) I have seen no images or coins in hand with a Kalantzis die stage beyond A, suggesting that the reverse die did not likely strike even close to even 2500 coins. Further that there are no images with full earth frosting with rev die stage B or C (ie re-treated dies), it is likely that the reverse had a limited production run, last only through the wear life of the original die frosting. I would conjecture easily fewer than 1000 coins struck, if that.

3) That there is only one apparent die marriage documented (obverse MMP remained consistent across all coins and images), and the earliest pattern for the reverse matches up with a later die stage (stage E to F) for the obverse, it is possible that the 1S1-351 (FS-801) reverse die was paired was paired to the obverse die later in the obverse die's life (eg, after the obverse die already struck 1000+ coins, pulled for die work, then paired with the FS-801 reverse), and once the obverse die was "done", the reverse was also pulled at that time.

4) I will add this from 2012:
So that would be 3500 x 0.03* = potentially 105 FS-801 coins in EDS, assuming that the FS-801 was a product of a single working die?
*0.03 = 3% (the estimated production of EDS coins in die deterioration)
Meaning that to not wear beyond the early die state (Kalantzis die stage A), and extrapolating Romines' estimation of on 3% of coins produced exist in early die state (EDS), the number of 1S1-351 (FS-801) Ikes can be even less than above-conjectured 1000 coins, and as low as perhaps 105 coins.
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Re: FS-801s and "bald spots" on devices

Post by Tundra »

Steve, thanks for all your expertise on this. I had in mind to look at the other photos today just as you did, recalling that several had no bald spots and curious about the frosting on the earth on those, but unfortunately I had to spend the day mowing instead.

Not sure if I am allowed to do this or not, but I'll take the chance...the Ike on the left in my first set of photos, the twin to mine, is PCGS cert. #38953774 and is the PF68CAM sold by Stack's Bowers in Aug 2020. I guess its ok to post that since it is on a site open to the public. It, like mine, shows little frosting on the earth...a little on Florida, South America and around the SE rim.

Now something that really confuses me, Stage B and Stage D FS-801 reverses??? Tom Kalantzis, in his IDDD book, under the FS-801 listing on Page 2, says:

"Reverse Stage D Carlson specimen - 10th eastern twin star points are washing away due to die polishing. In general the entire reverse shows signs of polishing of the die. Has a larger space between star tip and wing of star 10 as well as the top star tip points are fading away due to polishing. Die polishing between the breast and the eagle's right wing is polished down to field level. Scribbled die scratches are seen to the right of the upper R of DOLLAR."

He also references a State B Reverse Kalantzis specimen. I have not fully wrapped my head around "die state" vs "die stage" as of yet, but my understanding is, as you have also indicated, that the known population of FS-801s were in the earliest die state/stage, certainly not Stage D. Do you, or anyone else, know anything about these two specimens and what their current certification numbers or grades might be? I'm not so sure this is not an error in the book. The "Reverse Description" on page 2 for the FS-801 seems to have been used with some modifications to describe the reverse of the FS-103 on Page 4, which would certainly be news to me, so it makes me cautions about editing errors in the book.

Could you post a photo of your bald spot pattern 2 that is different than my two patterns?

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Re: FS-801s and "bald spots" on devices

Post by SteveP »

I'll try to post a close up photo of pattern 2. In the interim, you can look at the PCGS PR68CAM by clicking on the CAM link in the pop report. The F is reasonably seen by right clicking on the photo and select open in new tab, then magnify.
the Ike on the left in my first set of photos, the twin to mine, is PCGS cert. #38953774
...it is also one of the FS-801 Ikes that I was able to examine in hand.
I have not fully wrapped my head around "die state" vs "die stage" as of yet
...in my post, I use the term die state based on terminology used in the Ike group and by Romines. Tom preferred the use of die stage when referring to Ike proofs, and in his descriptions (see page 84-88 of his book).
The "Reverse Description" on page 2 for the FS-801 seems to have been used with some modifications to describe the reverse of the FS-103 on Page 4, which would certainly be news to me, so it makes me cautions about editing errors in the book.
....as great as Tom's research was, the meticulousness of his editing did go lacking at times.

For example, in his page 2 write-up, he lists the reverse of the Kalantzis specimen as stage B. Yet, on page 87, he uses that exact same star 10 photo to demonstrate "Reverse Stage A: Tenth star star point touching wing tip." As I wrote in my own examination, the specimens that I examined were Kalantzis stage A, based on the page 87 photo. IOW, I dispute his use of reverse stage B in describing the Kalantzis specimen, although admittedly, we could be splitting a hair here. Further, his photos on page 3, if from the Kalantzis specimen (uncertain whether they are from the Kalantzis specimen or the Carlson specimen, but likely from the Kalantzis specimen, since he had it in hand, and he bolded Kalantzis specimen on page 2), are likely from a "bald spot" pattern 0 coin, given that a) there are no bald spots on AMER that are already present on a pattern 1 coin, and b) the obverse die stage appears to be E or F, consistent with the pattern 0 photos of the PCGS PR69CAM coin. I'll stand by the description that I wrote, in which all four bald spot patterns (0-3) are in Kalantzis die stage A.

As for the Carlson specimen:
Scribbled dies scratches are seen to the right of the upper R of DOLLAR
...present on all bald spot patterns 1,2,3, and unable to verify on PCGS PR69CAM photos or examine a pattern 0 in hand for this pup.
Die polishing between the breast and the eagle's right wing is polished down to the field level.
......present on all bald spot patterns 1,2,3, and verified to be not present on PCGS PR69CAM photos.
Has a large space between star tip and wing of star 10 as well as the top star tip point are fading away due to polishing.
...WRT to the space, even the latest of the patterns (bald spot pattern 3) is certainly not significantly beyond stage A (as I said, I would call it stage A, and we can split hairs here...certainly not stage D)...WRT to fading tips of star 10: not present at the top tips in all bald spot patterns, and perhaps a bit on the tip pointing right (towards the I) seen on bald spot pattern 3 (verifying bald spot pattern 3 as the latest of the die states of the four bald spot patterns (0-3).
In general, the entire reverse show signs of polishing of the die.
...can be applied to bald spot pattern 1, 2, or 3, but most appropriate to bald spot pattern 3.

While the Carlson specimen could be representative of yet another die state later than that represented by bald spot pattern 3, I have strong doubts that this is the case. Instead, I contend that it is likely that the Carlson specimen could be a bald spot pattern 3 coin.
I'm not so sure this is not an error in the book.
... I agree!
Do you, or anyone else, know anything about these two specimens and what their current certification numbers or grades might be?
... I certainly do not know their TPG holder, nor their cert number, nor their whereabouts. I do know that Tom owned the Carlson plate FS-103 coin in an ANACS holder (I was unsuccessful in my attempt to contact the family to purchase the coin from his estate.) That said, it would not surprise me that Tom also owned the Carlson specimen FS-801, although I cannot verify this assumption. If so, then the coin resided in Tom's estate, and I do not know how/whether Tom's holdings were handled after his passing. Also on that note, as saddening as Tom passing was to me, to further pains me to have lost all of his great work made freely available on the old IDDD web site.
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Re: FS-801s and "bald spots" on devices

Post by Tundra »

Steve, thanks for all your invaluable insight.

I found the 68CAM with pattern 2, thanks for the pointer.

With regard to Tom's Stage D description, I can't help but wonder if it was intended to apply to the Carlson FS-103 instead of the Carlson FS-801, except that he refers to "twin star points" which definitely points to the 801. Guess we'll never know.

It looks to me like the pattern 1 bald spots are more extensive than on 2 and 3. I'm sure you are right about the sequence of minting based on the frosting on the earth, so there must be a different explanation for the increase in frosting on the letters on later minted coins. My theory is that "press goop" began obscuring the frosting in the die. I would guess the operator stopped to clean this out to maintain quality, maybe more than once. The question mark shaped image on the pattern 3 examples may be a thread or fiber left from such cleaning. The mark on the 68CAM appears continuous whereas on my coin it is broken, possibly because it was minted later and only part of the fiber remained on the die.

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