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Impeccable Superb Gem Proof 1825 JR-2 Dime

1825 10C PR67 NGC. JR-2, R.7 as a proof. Although the central obverse and reverse designs of this Superb proof show noticeable weakness, the peripheral design elements are all boldly detailed. The quality of strike is a characteristic of this variety. The Norweb and Pittman collections each included 1825 JR-2 proofs with virtually identical strikes to this coin. The Bareford proof is a bit sharper. This piece is intensely toned with deep gray, lilac, and gold at the centers, surrounded by lovely blue toning near the borders. Both sides have fully mirrored fields with no visible transition to the devices. In other words, the fields are entirely mirrored without any mint frost adjacent to any of the design details, and this characteristic is one of the most important traits for attribution as an early proof coin.
Just five die varieties are known for the 1825 dimes, with proofs recorded for three different varieties according to Walter Breen in his Encyclopedia of United States and Colonial Proof Coins, although today we believe that all known proofs of the date are attributed as the JR-2 variety. Interpreting Breen's data from his Proof Encyclopedia can be extremely difficult today. For example, he recorded proof dimes by his own numbering system with few clues to help us translate these to JR numbers. He listed the Norweb and Bareford coins as "Breen 3-B" with the comment "it is barely possible that one or other of these is a 3-C." In fact, both pieces are his 3-C variety, a.k.a. JR-2. A quick conversion of 1825 dime varieties recorded by Breen may be of assistance to present day readers: Breen 2-A is JR-4, Breen 3-B is JR-3, and Breen 3-C is JR-2.
In many instances, Breen identified specimens by 19th and early 20th century catalogs, not readily available to most numismatists. For example, he listed the following in his Census for proof 1825 dimes: Earle: 3172, Cleneay: 1496, Parmelee: 962, Winsor: 679, and Mills: 1105. These collections, mostly sold by the Chapmans, were offered in 1912, 1890, 1890, 1895, and 1904 respectively. An updated Census of early proof coins is clearly needed today.
This example is extremely similar in appearance to the "Flawless Gem Proof" piece in the Pittman Collection, earlier from the Earle Collection, although we do not believe these pieces are the same. Known proofs of this date include this coin and the Pittman, Bareford, and Norweb pieces. Possibly two or three others also exist, but the total population certainly does not exceed seven or eight coins. Just four proofs have been certified by NGC and PCGS with grades of PR63 NGC, PR65 NGC, PR66 PCGS, and PR67 NGC. None have received a Cameo designation. While it is the finest certified specimen, we hesitate to declare this piece the finest known proof 1825 dime. Both the Pittman and Norweb coins were described as the finest known proofs, and we are not certain how this piece compares to either of those specimens, although we are certain that it compares favorably.
Ex: Superior (5/1999), lot 2002. (NGC ID# 27CZ, PCGS# 4543)

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Auction Dates
January, 2007
3rd-6th Wednesday-Saturday
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 5
Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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