The Finest Known 1803 JR-2 Dime, AU581803 10C AU58 NGC. JR-2, R.6. A boldly defined and deeply toned near-Mint example with a trace of highpoint wear. Both sides have deep heather toning with hints of gold and traces of lighter ivory luster around the devices. Scattered and entirely trivial marks are noted on each side, consistent with the grade.
Die State. Perfect obverse with no clash marks or die cracks. The reverse die is shattered: a crack from the border through the final A continues to the inside curve of C and beyond, to the leaf at I. A faint crack from the border to the center tail feather curves to the right and joins the end of the stem. Another from the border joins the longest arrow feather and the left side of the tail feathers. A heavy crack begins at cloud 6 to star 6, star 11, and the ribbon, continuing across the shield to the left claw, arrows, and border. A branch crack travels west from the shield to the E of UNITED and the border. An additional crack joins the tops of NITED to the second wing feather.
Condition Census. Undoubtedly the finest known 1803 JR-2 dime.
Appearances. Plated in the Pittman catalog.
Obverse Die. The 3 leans left, its right top close to the drapery. The 1 nearly touches the lowest curl and 03 are close. LIBERTY is close and even with all letters separated. Stars 1 and 7 are far from the curl and L. Stars 8 and 13 are close to the Y and drapery.
State a. Perfect.
Reverse Die. Star 4 well below cloud. All three E's have their upper left serif missing and extended by hand. No letters in the legend are joined. The U is slightly low with its bottom very close to an arrow shaft. D is close to the fourth feather but clearly separated. Letters in STATES OF are centered between the border and clouds. The upright of the E is over a cloud space. AMER and CA are close with the final A very close to the claw. A leaf joins the base of I, right of center. The upper inside berry is stemless. The outer arrow point is slightly left of the left base of N, with the longest arrow below the inside foot of the left upright. Star 12 touches the ribbon and upper beak, and star 13 is isolated in the field.
State a. A short die crack or die scratch joins the second feather on the right with the left side of first A in AMERICA.
Heritage Commentary. Authors of the dime book called JR-2 the second rarest variety of the date. There is no doubt that they would have called it third rarest if they were aware of 1803 JR-5. Only about 20 examples of this die marriage are known in all grades.
Consignor Commentary. This is the finest I have seen or heard of. The dime book lists the Miles coin as the finest seen. For many years I owned both this coin and the Miles coin. They are not very close in quality. The Miles coin was obviously cleaned and much too bright. The dime book and the Stack's description both called it cleaned. The Pittman coin is original and beautiful. Russ Logan bought this coin at the Pittman sale in 1997. I had always been uncomfortable with the Miles coin. For two years, I pestered him with various explanations as to why the Pittman coin should be in my collection. I tried every argument I could think of. Finally in late 1999, Russ wanted to buy a special half dollar and agreed to sell this coin to me. I was delighted and he was glad to know where it was in case he wanted to visit it.
Provenance. Ex: James Kelly (11/1957), lot 790; John Jay Pittman (David Akers, 10/1997), lot 540; Russell J. Logan (11/1999).
From The Ed Price Collection.(Registry values: P7) (NGC ID# 236L, PCGS# 4473)
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