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Finest Certified 1844 Dime, PR66
‘The Little Orphan Annie'

1844 10C PR66 NGC. Ex: Pittman-Kaufman. Like the 1844 half dime, this PR66 NGC example is the finest certified example of the date. In his 1988 Encyclopedia, Breen says of the 1844 dime that there are "Possibly 8 proofs." Our roster below shows just seven different examples, with two additional appearances. It is pedigreed to the John Jay Pittman Collection, Part I, cataloged and sold by David Akers in his October 21-23, 1997 sale. The coin was part of Pittman's 1844 Proof Set that was housed in the "Original Case of Issue." Akers opined that just six to eight proofs are known, consistent with our own observations.

The 1844 dime is dubbed "The Little Orphan Annie" and is extremely popular among collectors. Walter Breen attributes the nickname to Frank C. Ross, a Kansas City area writer who hoarded the issue at one time. Ross apparently gave no reason for the nickname, and Breen suggested it was an early instance of "media hype." Today, the nickname remains attached to the issue as a pleasant reminder of numismatic history.

The NGC and PCGS population figures tend to corroborate the estimates made by Akers and Breen of extant 1844 proof dimes. The two services combined have seen six coins of this issue. The current NGC PR66 Pittman-Kaufman piece represents the finest certified, followed by a PCGS PR65, two PCGS PR64s, an NGC PR64, and a NGC PR63.

A roster of 1844 proof dimes follows:

1. PR66 NGC. Numismatic Gallery (4/1948); John Jay Pittman (David Akers, 10/1997), lot 833; Philip Kaufman. Part of Pittman's 1844 proof set. The Seated silver coins have been kept intact by Phil Kaufman.

2. PR65 Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr.; Eliasberg Estate (Bowers and Merena, 5/1996), lot 1130, $88,000.

3. PR64 NGC Ex: Richmond. Heritage (4/2005), lot 23192; Heritage (7/2005), lot 10158.

4. PR64 PCGS. Heritage (12/1986), lot 362; Heritage (7/2003), lot 6568.

5. PR63 NGC. 1971 ANA (Stack's, 8/1971), lot 663; Lovejoy Collection (Stack's 10/1990), lot 223.

6. PR63. Bowers and Ruddy (1/1975), lot 220; Bowers and Ruddy (5/1976), lot 309; Bowers and Ruddy (2/1977), lot 106; RARCOA (8/1990), lot 605.

7. Proof. Smithsonian Institution.

Additional Appearances

A. Proof. Kreisberg-Schulman (3/1964), lot 2996; Quality Sales (9/1973), lot 731. This piece could be number 4, 5, or 7 in our roster. The plate is not suitable for study.

B. Proof. Dunham Collection (B. Max Mehl, 6/1941), lot 171. The Dunham catalog image may or may not be the actual coin that Mehl sold. He often used stock photos. The Dunham example could be any of the coins listed above, except for the Smithsonian Institution specimen.

Variegated, low to medium intensity cobalt-blue and tan-lilac in the fields of this Premium Gem highlights the mostly champagne-gold design elements, helping to accentuate the contrast between the reflective fields and lightly frosted motifs. A sharp strike translates into razor-sharp definition on the devices, and close examination with a loupe reveals impeccably preserved surfaces. Indeed, we are hard pressed to identify a pedigree marker, the only one being an as-made curvilinear lint mark below the right foot of the E in STATES. This is a charming proof dime for the aficionado of Seated Liberty proofs.
From The Phil Kaufman Collection of Early Seated Proof Sets, Part Two. (NGC ID# 23BY, PCGS# 4731)

View all of [The Phil Kaufman Collection of Early Seated Proof Sets, Part Two ]

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Auction Dates
January, 2008
9th-12th Wednesday-Saturday
Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 8
Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
Page Views: 1,485

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