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1797 16 Stars Draped Bust Dime, MS64
Possible Condition Census Example
Scarce JR-1 Variety

1797 10C 16 Stars MS64 NGC. JR-1, R.4. The 1797 Draped Bust, Small Eagle dime claims a mintage of 25,261 pieces, but the authors of Early United States Dimes 1796-1837 believe 10,244 of these dimes were actually dated 1796. The 1797 dimes are seen less than half as often as their 1796 counterparts. Of the remaining 15,017 examples, it is thought the JR-1 variety, with the 16 Stars obverse, probably accounts for 9,099 pieces, about 40% of the reported mintage figure. While VF and XF specimens can be located with a little patience, Mint State examples are very rare. Experts estimate a half dozen or so Mint State examples of JR-1 are extant. Allowing for resubmissions and crossovers, population data from the grading services coincides well with this rarity estimate. Currently, NGC has graded three coins in MS64, with three finer, while PCGS has certified no specimen at the Choice level, with three coins in higher numeric grades (11/10).This is the first time Heritage has been privileged to handle a 1797 16 Stars dime in MS64.
The 16 obverse stars on the JR-1 1797 dime indicate this variety was the first die marriage struck with this date. The 16 stars reflect the admission of Tennessee to the Union as the 16th state. Mint officials realized it would be impractical to continue adding a star to the design every time a state was admitted, so the JR-2 dies reverted to the original practice of including only 13 stars on the obverse. All JR-1 specimens display a prominent die crack from the edge near star 2 , above the date, through the bust, to the edge near star 1.
The present coin is a rare Choice Mint State example, with iridescent gold and violet toning over prooflike reflective fields. The devices are sharply detailed in most areas, with a little softness on the obverse stars and the eagle's breast. Visual appeal is strong on this historically interesting specimen, which is a realistic candidate for Condition Census status.(Registry values: P7) (NGC ID# 236C, PCGS# 4462)

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Auction Dates
January, 2011
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