1796 Draped Bust Dime, MS65
1796 10C JR-6, R.3, MS65 NGC. Although the denomination was
authorized by the Mint Act of 1792, the Philadelphia Mint did not
strike any dimes until 1796, when a small production total of
22,135 pieces was accomplished. Six different obverse and five
different reverse dies were combined to produce seven distinct die
varieties for the year, one of which was only discovered relatively
recently. This coin represents the popular JR-6 variety, easily
recognized by the dramatic die cracks through the date, the widely
spaced letters in LIBERTY, and the position of the berries below
the T in UNITED and the first T in STATES. The JR-6 is often called
the "Hyphenated Date" variety, because of the prominent die cracks.
The JR-6 is the second most available variety, accounting for about
30% of all 1796 dimes seen. This was the only use of both the
obverse and reverse dies.
Ideal First-Year Type Coin
Popular JR-6 Variety
The 1796 Draped Bust, Small Eagle dime is always in demand from type collectors and series specialists alike. Aside from its status as the first year of the denomination, it garners special attention as the first year of a two-year design type, since the Small Eagle reverse was retired after 1797. Some collectors actually consider it a one-year type, because it only shows 15 stars on the obverse, compared to the 13 and 16 star obverses employed on the 1797 varieties. The record price realized for a 1796 dime was the $881,250 brought by the magnificent MS67 PCGS example in lot 30229 of the Eugene Gardner Collection (Heritage, 6/2014).
The coin offered here is a delightful Gem from a late state of the dies. The design elements are sharply detailed in most areas, despite the extensive network of die cracks that bisect the surfaces of both sides. No mentionable surface flaws are evident and there are no planchet adjustment marks. The well-preserved surfaces are blanketed in attractive shades of violet, blue, and golden-brown toning, with much prooflike reflectivity underneath. Eye appeal is spectacular. Census: 9 in 65, 9 finer (11/15). (NGC ID# 236B, Variety PCGS# 38747, 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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