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Important Gem 1844 'Little Orphan Annie' Dime

1844 10C MS65 PCGS. CAC. Few coins have attracted so much lore (and so much subsequent controversy!) as the 1844 dime, but through 1930, it was a rather placid issue, not much collected in the absence of Seated coinage enthusiasts, its low mintage largely ignored. Frank C. Ross, a collector surprisingly little-known in the numismatic world at large but deserving a place alongside Farran Zerbe as a coin promoter extraordinaire, made the 1844 dime his "pet crime," touting its low mintage and perceived rarity at every juncture.
Many of the legends that have sprung up to "explain" the perceived disappearance of 1844 dimes have been laid at the doorstep of Mr. Ross, though more than a few must have started out as some other collector's tall tale. Tom LaMarre, in his article "The mysterious 1844 dime" for the September 2007 edition of Coins magazine, gives a partial list of mysterious fates: buried following their looting from a Conestoga wagon, washed away by the Johnstown Flood of 1889, sunk to the bottom of the ocean in the hold of a doomed ship, melted in the Chicago Fire of 1871, and turned into jewelry in Mexico. Sensational demises all, none plausible.
As LaMarre writes, "It's hard to tell whether the 1844 Seated Liberty dime struck at the Philadelphia Mint is a great rarity or a somewhat elusive coin that has been promoted for the purpose of making a profit. As the debate goes on, however, so does the dime's rise in market value." The finest examples, such as this Gem, are particularly prized today. This piece offers elegant blue-green, peach, and gold patina over strongly lustrous, well-preserved surfaces. Pleasingly detailed and remarkably attractive. Population: 5 in 65, 0 finer (11/08).(Registry values: N7079) (NGC ID# 238A, PCGS# 4585)

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Auction Dates
January, 2009
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