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    Description

    Beautiful 1796 JR-1 Dime, MS64

    1796 10C MS64 NGC. CAC. JR-1, R.1. A stunning near-Gem 1796 dime with fully brilliant and lustrous silver surfaces beneath delicate lilac, gold, and iridescent toning. The central obverse hair details and the eagle's breast feathers are weak or flat, retaining much of the original planchet texture in those locations. The balance of the designs are bold, including full border details that frame a nicely centered strike. Three dentils over and left of the first S are weak, a result of the cud on the obverse.

    Die State.
    This late die state example has a full cud at star 1. Arcing clash marks in the right obverse field were incorrectly described as a die crack in the dime book. Heavy clash marks are evident above Liberty's head, in front of the bust and profile, and along the lower left obverse border.

    Condition Census.
    Several high-grade pieces are known, including examples that grade up to MS66.

    Appearances.
    No past appearances are noted.

    Obverse Die.
    In the date, the 1 is close to the curl, and the 6 is high and out of position, its top joined to the drapery. Star 1 has two points appearing to touch the lowest curl, the lower point touching and the upper point extremely close. Star 8 is distant from L, star 9 is slightly closer to Y, and star 15 is even closer to the drapery, but does not touch. LIBERTY is unevenly spaced with LI close, and the tops of TY extremely close. The curl point is beneath the left base of E. Liberty's forecurl is shallow and detached from the forehead, and curl 2 behind the shoulder consists of two isolated arcs in the field
    State a. Only a slight crack joins star 1 to the border. No other die deterioration is evident. State b. A variable cud connects the bottom points of star 1 to the border. State c. A fine die crack crosses Liberty's shoulder to her neck and throat. The "arc-like crack" in the right obverse field that is described in the early dime book appears to be a clash mark. Several prominent clash marks are visible in the obverse fields.

    Reverse Die. Leaf point below the right side of O, diagnostic for the Small Eagle reverse dies.
    The wreath has 17 leaves and five berries in the left branch, and 13 leaves in the right branch. A leaf tip joins the lower right corner of E in AMERICA, and another appears to touch the extreme left base of the final A. The tip of the left (facing) wing touches the rock.
    State a.
    Perfect. State b. The reverse is cracked from the border through the E of AMERICA, the right branch, and the right (facing) wing tip, to join a vertical crack from the lowest inside right leaf tip to the right wing. Another crack bisects the C of AMERICA, crossing leaves into the rock. An additional crack from the right side of the eagle's breast extends across the head to the left terminal leaf. A few clash marks and other die lines may appear as additional die cracks. The order of appearance of the various reverse cracks is unknown.

    Engraving Notes.
    The Ed Price Collection presents an unusual opportunity to study high grade examples of the various 1796 varieties in an effort to understand their similarities and differences. Six different obverse dies and five different reverse dies were combined to produce the seven known varieties. All six obverse dies appear to be produced from a single central design punch, although each die exhibits slight differences among the various curls. JR-1 has a shallow forecurl, fully defined top curl, and detached arcs at curl 2 behind the shoulder. JR-2 has a sharp forecurl, weakly defined top curl, and a bold curl 2 behind the shoulder. JR-3 and 4 have a weakly defined top curl, with the forecurl and curl 2 both entirely absent. JR-5 has a noticeable forecurl, weak top curl, and full curl 2. JR-6 has a noticeable forecurl, full top curl, and weakly defined curl 2. JR-7 has a weak or absent forecurl and visible top curl. The most apparent difference on the reverse is the relationship between the left facing wing tip and the rock immediately below. JR-1 has the wing tip lightly joined to the rock, JR-2 and JR-4 (same reverse as JR-5 and JR-7) have the wing overlapping the rock, and JR-3 and JR-6 have the rock lapped away from the wing tip.

    Heritage Commentary.
    Authors of the dime book listed JR-1 first, suggesting it is the first dime variety produced at the Mint. Varieties JR-1, JR-2, and JR-6 are each unique die marriages that are unlinked to any others. The 1796 reverse dies have two slightly different styles, and this may be a key to the emission sequence.

    The JR-1 dimes are more plentiful than any other 1796 dime variety with at least two dozen Mint State pieces known. The variety is an ideal choice for date and type collectors, and it is popular in high grades with the usual star 1 rim break. The variety represents about 40% of all known 1796 dimes with examples known in all grades.

    Consignor Commentary.
    The majority of JR-1 dimes that I have seen are intermediate die states with a partial cud at star 1.

    Provenance.
    Ed Milas via Stuart Levine (8/1/2003).
    From The Ed Price Collection.
    (Registry values: P7) (NGC ID# 236B, 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
    Jul-Aug, 2008
    30th-3rd Wednesday-Sunday
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