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    Description

    1796 JR-1 Dime, SP67 -- Formerly CAC Certified as MS67
    Sole Finest Certified of the Variety
    Clearly a Specimen Strike
    The Hayes-Whitney-Gardner Coin

    1796 10C JR-1, R.3, SP67 PCGS. Ex: Hayes-Simpson. This 1796 JR-1 dime certified SP67 PCGS is the sole finest certified of this variety. The fields on this unparalleled first-year, first strike coin are fully prooflike throughout both sides. Not only does the coin show clear and special care being taken in its preparation, striking, and preservation, it is also the earliest die state known, by far, for the 1796 JR-1 dimes.

    This early strike is an incomparable specimen and, as the earliest known die state, is likely the first struck example of the 1796 JR-1 dime. While an exact emission sequence is not possible, the authors of Early United States Dime 1796-1837 considered this variety the first-struck of 1796 dimes. As the first coin of the first variety, struck in the first year of the denomination, this exact dime might well be the first dime coined at the Philadelphia Mint. The quality of manufacture certainly points to a special occasion.

    This Superb Gem exhibits immaculate preservation and stunning eye appeal. Pale mint-green and light aqua shades complement pastel pink and amber hues. The fields are highly reflective and mirrored throughout, with the devices covered with thick mint frost and grayish-pink patina that creates a pronounced cameo effect against reflective fields. The strike is uncommonly -- preternaturally -- bold, showing full detail in the eagle's breast feathers. The senior cataloging staff at Heritage and the graders at PCGS agree that this is a specimen or presentation strike.

    This example is the earliest die state known of the 1796 JR-1 dime. Every other known example of this die marriage shows a pronounced die cud joining star 1 on the obverse with several dentils at the rim. That die cud is absent here. Could this have been the very first example struck? It goes without saying that neither do any traces of later-state die cracks appear on either side.

    When we last offered this coin in 2014, we wrote that the Gene Gardner Collection is a remarkable pleasure for the Heritage cataloging team to work on, a phenomenal assemblage literally rife with finest known coins. Even a so-called "common" date assumes a well-earned aura of importance when it is the finest known, or tied for finest known, or well within the Condition Census. Now, six years later, our words ring equally true as they pertain to the Bob Simpson Collection.

    In the present 1796 dime certified SP67 by PCGS, we have a coin of such importance that it is the single finest known of its variety. This JR-1, struck with extraordinary, special care from dies in their earliest known state, is the only Specimen that PCGS has certified. The strike is so bold that there is a partial wire rim visible on each side.

    The year 1796 was the first in which the important dime (or ten cents) silver denomination was struck. The U.S. Mint began regular production in its new Philadelphia facility with copper cents and half cents in 1793. The year 1794 saw the first strikes of half dollars and silver dollars, while half dimes soon followed in March 1795. The first gold coins were also struck in 1795, in the form of half eagle and eagle pieces, and 1796 would finally see a full suite of every authorized denomination struck at the U.S. Mint for the first time, an occurrence that would not be seen again until 1849.

    The confluence of a full complement of U.S. coinage denominations for the year 1796 -- and yet, a year full of absolute and, even more so, conditional rarities -- has exerted a powerful attraction for numismatists over the decades, few more so than John Whitney Walter, also known as "Mr. 1796" or simply John Whitney. The Stack's auction of his coins in 1999 brought together the most remarkable grouping of 1796-dated coins in one place that the American numismatic market has ever seen. The 96 lots in that auction-- beginning with lot 1701 and ending with lot 1796 -- included 92 1796-dated federal U.S. Mint issues and varieties, along with four 1796-dated Castorland and Myddelton tokens.

    The present 1796 dime was one of the keystone coins in that collection. It is, without exaggeration, simply a landmark coin, one that will continue to bestow immense importance on any cabinet in which it resides.

    This coin not only brings incredible technical and aesthetic appeal, it also comes with an important pedigree to Eugene H. Gardner, John Whitney Walter, and Congressman Jimmy Hayes before him -- and now to Bob Simpson. This is the only Draped Bust dime of any date that PCGS has certified as a Specimen strike. It was previously graded MS67 by PCGS and was CAC approved at that time; CAC has not been able to review this coin again since it was recognized and reholdered as a Specimen.
    Ex: Empire Sale (11/1957), lot 728; Jimmy Hayes Collection (Stack's, 10/1985), lot 16; John Whitney Walter "Mr. 1796" Collection (Stack's, 5/1999), lot 1763; Eugene H. Gardner (Heritage, 6/2014), lot 30229.

    Coin Index Numbers: (NGC ID# 236B, Variety PCGS# 38742, Base PCGS# 4461)

    Weight: 2.70 grams

    Metal: 89.24% Silver, 10.76% Copper


    Learn more at the Newman Numismatic Portal at Washington University in St. Louis.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    September, 2020
    17th Thursday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 33
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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