Possibly Unique Perfect Obverse 1805 JR-2 Dime, MS63
1805 10C 4 Berries MS63 NGC. JR-2, R.2. Previously
PCGS-certified MS64, this splendid piece has deep gray patina with
lilac, blue, and gold toning on both sides. Sharply struck with
satiny luster. Just a little brighter luster would increase the
grade and overall eye appeal.
Die State. No die cracks or clash marks are seen on either side, with only a small patch of die rust near D in UNITED. To the best of our knowledge, this earliest die state is unique.
Condition Census. Quite a number of high grade 1805 JR-2 dimes exist, but the present example is the finest and the only example known with a perfect obverse die.
Appearances. Plated in the R.M. Smythe catalog.
Obverse Die. The 1 nearly touches the lowest curl and the top of the 5 has a spine extending into the bust. LIB are close and BERTY are wide. Star 1 is far from the curl, star 7 is farther from L, star 8 is very close to the Y, and star 13 is close to the bust.
State a. Perfect with no crack through ERTY. State b. Cracked from the rim through ERTY. Minor clash marks. State c. Cracked from the rim below star 13 into the bottom of the bust. The die is lapped, removing most of the clash marks. State d. Cracked from the rim between stars 9 and 10 into the bust, about one-third of the distance down from the base of the neck to the bottom of the bust.
Note. The reverse is rotated about 20 degrees on all State a and State b examples, and is normally aligned on State c and State d pieces. The rotation was apparently corrected when the die was removed and lapped.
Reverse Die. Four berries in the branch. All letters in the legend are separated from each other and from the devices. AMER are extremely close together, with AM slightly higher than ER. The star pattern is unusual with two rows of six stars each, and a single star touching the back of the eagle's neck. Stars 1, 2, and 5, touch the clouds above.
State a. Perfect. State b Minor die rust near D of UNITED.
Heritage Commentary. The pattern of stars on the reverse is known as a "line pattern," a layout that was generally abandoned about 1798 in favor of the more aesthetically pleasing "arc pattern." The only other Heraldic Eagle reverse die from the 1800s with a line pattern is the 1804 with 14 reverse stars. The authors of the dime book suggest that the line pattern 1804 and 1805 reverse dies were left over from 1798.
Consignor Commentary. 1805 JR-2's have a die crack from the rim above B through ERTY to the rim. 1805 JR-1's do not have this crack. That's what the dime book says and that was my experience for my first 12 years of looking at Draped Bust dimes. 1805 dimes are plentiful and I looked at lot of them. But, I always wondered if it really was the case that the crack developed in the die after striking all of the JR-1's and before striking any of the JR-2's. Finally in the fall of 2000, at a relatively obscure sale of U.S. coins I found this coin--a JR-2 without the crack! I was not able to attend the sale so I arranged for Stu Levine to purchase the coin for me.
Provenance. Ex: R.M. Smythe (11/2000), lot 1227.
From The Ed Price Collection.
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