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    1796 Draped Bust Dime, MS63
    JR-3, Terminal Die State
    Tied for Finest of the Variety

    1796 10C JR-3, R.5, MS63 NGC. This renowned dime is pedigreed to the Dr. George P. French, T. James Clarke, and Lester Merkin collections. More recently, it appeared in the John Walter Whitney collection of 1796 coinage. At the time of its appearance in the New Netherlands (47th) sale of the T. James Clarke collection, it was described by Ford and Breen as "unique" in the terminal die state.

    Since then, we are aware of just one other coin struck from the terminal die state, with a triangular rim break over the first T in STATES, which has advanced to a full cud. An XF40 example appeared in a Bowers and Merena June 1990 sale, lot 481. Both coins indicate a piece had fallen out of the die, with the dentils missing and, in the case of the present coin, adjustment marks remaining from the raw planchet untouched by the strike of the coin.
    The current example is a lustrous, Select coin with silver-gray and multicolor patina. The fields on both sides are semiprooflike beneath deep steel and iridescent toning. Slight weakness on the obverse border left of the date is clearly the result of the reverse rim break. All design details on both sides are more than adequately defined, with nearly full plumage on the eagle, flat only on a few breast feathers. Mint-made adjustment marks appear at the lower-right border and to a lesser extent elsewhere on the reverse.

    This coin rivals a second MS63 NGC piece for the finest JR-3 dime, one that we have handled in the past. That coin appeared with us in 2005 and 2007 and last appeared in the Ed Price Collection, [Heritage, 1/2013], lot 5574, certified as JR-3. The Price coin was also struck from a late state of the die, but not quite from the terminal die state as the cud was retained and shows dentils.

    The JR-3 variety is the second-rarest of the year, representing only about 5% of all known 1796 dimes. High-grade examples are especially elusive. This coin and the 2005 specimen are essentially tied for top honors in the Condition Census. We are unaware of any finer specimens. Census: 2 in 63, 0 finer (4/15).
    Ex: Dr. George P. French; T. James Clarke (New Netherlands, 4/1956), lot 1621; Lester Merkin (Stack's, 11/1994), lot 767; John Whitney Walter (Stack's, 5/1999), lot 1767; Milwaukee ANA Signature (Heritage, 8/2007), lot 1614; David Lawrence (10/2007), lot 5336. (NGC ID# 236B, Variety PCGS# 38744, 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.

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    Auction Dates
    June, 2015
    4th-7th Thursday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 14
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