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Seldom-Seen 1839 No Drapery Dime, PR66
1839 10C No Drapery PR66 NGC. This extraordinarily scarce
1839 dime, in its last appearance with us, was a featured rarity in
the Phil Kaufman Collection. It was purchased from the Allen F.
Lovejoy Collection (Allen Lovejoy was one of the five coauthors of
Early United States Dimes 1796-1837), and it is the finest
of the five or six known proof 1839 No Drapery dimes. Indeed, it is
two full points better than the second-place entry in our roster,
although one other coin appears on the NGC Census Report as
Ex: Lovejoy-Kaufman Collections
Finest Known Survivor
NGC and PCGS have reported a total of five 1839 proof dimes, including possible resubmissions. The PR66 NGC Kaufman example is the finest certified, followed by a PR65 NGC piece. That service has also certified a PR62 specimen. PCGS has graded two pieces: PR64 and a PR62.
Our roster below suggests survival of a few more pieces than earlier estimates, although some duplication may still be present. Walter Breen posited "possibly three proofs" in his Complete Encyclopedia of U.S. and Colonial Coins (1988), and the Bowers and Merena cataloger of the Eliasberg specimen suggested three to five known examples.
1. PR66 NGC. The present specimen. ANA Sale (Stack's, 8/1976), lot 816; Allen F. Lovejoy (Stack's, 10/1990), lot 184; Phil Kaufman Collection Part Three / Central States Signature (Heritage, 4/2008), lot 2374.
2. PR64 PCGS. Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr. (Bowers and Merena, 5/1996), lot 1114; Long Beach Connoisseur Collection (Bowers and Merena, 8/1999), lot 103; Richmond Collection (David Lawrence, 3/2005), lot 1234.
3. PR64. Superior (6/2002), lot 4157.
4. Choice Proof. Hans M.F. Schulman (4/1951), lot 1206; Stack's (1/1991), lot 203.
5. PR62 PCGS. Kamal Ahwash; Jascha Heifetz Collection (Superior, 10/1989), lot 3546; Long Beach Signature (Heritage, 5/2008), lot 102.
6. PR62 NGC. Baltimore ANA Signature (Heritage, 7/2008), lot 1613.
7. Proof. Virgil Brand; New Netherlands (12/1958), lot 444. This example appears to match none of those listed above.
The present Premium Gem example displays lovely medium cobalt-blue toning in the open fields, changing to gray-rose hues in the areas immediately adjacent to the design elements. The devices are mostly silver-gray with occasional splashes of blue, especially on the Liberty motif. In addition to the alluring coloration of the impeccably preserved surfaces, the strike is sharp throughout. The only identification mark is concealed within the toning beneath the O in ONE. Regardless of the exact number of survivors, this coin clearly is at the top of the Condition Census and will be a highlight of any collection. (NGC ID# 23BR, PCGS# 4722)
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