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    Description

    Imposing 1796 JR-2 Dime, MS64

    1796 10C MS64 NGC. JR-2, R.4. Rich golden-brown and gunmetal-blue patina embraces this nicely preserved and imposing example. On this marriage, the borders are well struck, while the centers and the eagle's head are typically defined. A minor handling mark in the field below the eagle's beak will identify this piece to future collectors.

    Die State.
    An intermediate state (b/b) with light clash marks on each side, but no evidence of the obverse rim crumbling encountered in later states.

    Condition Census.
    Mint State examples are extremely rare. This is only the sixth time that we have offered a Mint State piece in any of our auctions, including reappearances of this and other specimens. We are only aware of one finer example of the 1796 JR-2 variety.

    Appearances.
    We are unaware of any previous plated appearances of this example prior to our 2004 auction.

    Obverse Die.
    Star 15 appears to touch the drapery, diagnostic. The obverse has 15 stars arranged eight left and seven right. Star 1 nearly joins curl 2, stars 8 and 9 are distant from L and Y, and star 15 appears to touch the drapery. No stars actually touch each other, but stars 13, 14, and 15 are all extremely close. All digits in the date lean sharply right, and the 6 is about centered between the drapery and the border.
    State a. Perfect obverse. State b. Obverse clash marks are visible. State c. Rim crumbling develops over stars 7 and 8, if centering or grade permits it to be visible. State d. Additional rim crumbling develops over stars 10 and 11.

    Reverse Die.
    The left branch has an inside berry between the ribbon bow and first leaf pair, diagnostic. The wreath has 16 leaves and five berries in the left branch, and 13 leaves in the right branch. Leaves touch the N and T in UNITED, and the E and final A in AMERICA. Outside berries are located under the upright of E in UNITED, and below the left serif of the first S in STATES.
    State a. Perfect reverse. State b. Reverse clash marks are visible.

    Heritage Commentary.
    The dies were only used for this single die marriage, although there is no apparent reason that they were taken out of service. From January to May 1796, the Mint coined 22,135 dimes, the total production for the year. Some students of the series believe that the actual mintage of dimes dated 1796 included the first two deliveries of 1797, increasing the mintage to 32,379 coins. If it did, then the 1796 dimes were coined both before and after 1796 quarter eagles.

    The emission sequence for 1796 dimes is indeterminable. Three of the seven known die pairs are unique combinations of obverse and reverse dies, and it is impossible to know the exact order in which the unique die pairings were actually used. The current early dime reference and the earlier variety reference by Robert P. Hilt, II, both record this variety as the second die combination minted. Both references also suggest that this variety encompassed the dime delivery dated February 13, 1796, consisting of 1,750 coins. Correlating coinage delivery dates with specific die varieties is nearly impossible, although there are a few exceptions.

    Only about 10% of surviving 1796 dimes are examples of this die combination. The authors of Early United States Dimes 1796-1837 gave estimates of the survivors for each variety: JR-1 40%, JR-2 10%, JR-3 5%, JR-4 10%, JR-5 5%, and JR-6 30%.

    Consignor Commentary.
    This coin is clearly within the Condition Census, probably the second finest known. The Eliasberg-Whitney coin is clearly better, but almost all of the really nice JR-2 dimes are Choice AU at best. The Lovejoy coin, from the Earle Collection, grades Choice XF. This variety is very difficult to find in this condition. I was looking to upgrade two nice AU coins for several years, before this one became available.

    Provenance.
    Heritage (11/2004), lot 6175; Stuart Levine.
    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.

    View all of [Ed Price Collection ]

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    Auction Dates
    Jul-Aug, 2008
    30th-3rd Wednesday-Sunday
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