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HK 154 and HK 155

The HK book says that there are "Two obverse and two reverse die varieties" of each type. I'm assuming that the varieties have the large or small "U.S. Govt Building" on them, but this note in the book seems to be referring to something else. If so, what should I look for to distinguish the die varieties?

Although I have never undertaken a careful die study I have noted there are several different obverse die varieties related to the location of the flag above the center of the capitol. Some flags are a little lower on the flag post. I believe the HK book is referring to the two distinct HK #'s 154 and 155. I have not noticed reverse die varieties but based on the number of these medals struck there likely are different die varieties out there.

154, Large letters: The quickest way to distinguish the two obverse dies is to look for the pearls under the ornate scrolls below the building. The scrolls are different on the two dies. One die has two pearls, the other has one pearl. The two reverse varieties can be distinguished by the location of the 1893 in relation to CHICAGO. 155 small letters: The quickest way to distinguish the two varieties is to look for the pearls at the points of the upper obverse banner. They are present on one variety and not on the other. The reverse dies are again easiest to spot by looking at the 1893 in relation to CHICAGO. From my limited experience, each die pair appears as a pair so there are only 4 varieties altogether. I cannot say that with certainty. It would take a larger sample than I have seen to date.

A recent purchase, a unique example of HK 154 struck on a Braided Hair Large Cent. The composite image shows the medal, a large cent superimposed on it, and a line drawing showing the surviving elements of the large cent. Since the large cent is smaller and thinner than the regular planchets, you can see the incomplete metal flow in the letters along the outer rim of the medal. The cent was placed face up on the reverse die (the anvil die). You can see more distortion in the cent's reverse design as it was flattened against the die. I suspect the piece was struck twice to better raise the obverse design. I say that because of image ghosting around 6 o'clock on the obverse. I really wanted to find traces of the date, but what appears to be traces of the date are actually ghosting of the medal design. Swoger lists this piece as a die trial, but that makes no sense. By the way, the obverse large letter die has the two pearls and the reverse location of the date in relation to Chicago is a correct die match.

The above information is wonderful. I thought i'd add a small afterthought?. that there are HK-154 type pieces in silver plate. Attached is one I have? which is about 25g. I suppose it could be solid silver, but I haven't done specific gravity testing on it. I've seen several of these silvered pieces from the World's Columbian Expo going in the $100-200 range over the past few years, but i'm not 100% sure of the rarity. I suspect they are not that rare given the large volume of the HK-154-155 pieces.

Attached is an HK-155 in what I think is silver plate... is had a 300DRV on the edge; any thoughts as to what that means ?