The Finest Known 1797 13 Stars JR-2 Dime, MS65
1797 10C 13 Stars MS65 NGC. JR-2, R.4. The central
obverse and reverse are a trifle weak, but all remaining details
are boldly defined. The impression is nicely centered on the flan,
with full obverse and reverse borders. Full satin luster is visible
beneath delightful ivory, gold, and pale blue toning. Pristine
surfaces are free of any significant marks.
The Cleneay-Atwater-Lovejoy Specimen
Die State. Both sides have scattered die rust and the reverse has light clash marks.
Condition Census. This is undoubtedly the finest existing 1797 JR-2 dime, by a wide margin.
Appearances. The plate coin in Early United States Dimes 1796-1837, and illustrated in the Lovejoy catalog.
Obverse Die. 13 stars arranged with seven stars left and six stars right, diagnostic. This is the only Small Eagle dime variety of either year with 13 obverse stars. The date has a knobbed 9, with the 1 distant from the hair curl, and the right top of the 7 barely touching the drapery. A diagonal die line from the knob of the 9 extends up to the top of the 7 and continues to the drapery. Stars 1, 7, and 8 are distant from the hair, L, and Y, and star 13 nearly touches the drapery. All stars are separated, although several are extremely close to their neighbors. Star 8 is doubled. LIBERTY is widely spaced with IBE and RTY especially far apart.
State a. Perfect die. State b. Minor rust marks. State c. Heavy clash marks.
Reverse Die. A leaf tip ends below the right upright of E in AMERICA, diagnostic. The left branch of the wreath has 18 leaves and five berries, and the right branch has 13 leaves. A leaf of the lowest inside pair in the left is a mere outline, and it is probably only visible on high grade specimens. The lowest outer leaf appears to touch the bottom of the U, and a leaf touches the base of the first T in STATES, below the left base. The leaf tip below the upright of E in AMERICA just misses touching, and another leaf joins the right side of the C. AME are extremely close, and ER join at the base. The M is low, its left and right bases below the A and E.
State a. Scattered die rust. State b. Heavy clash marks.
Heritage Commentary. Clearly struck after 1797 JR-1, and the final dime variety of the Small Eagle type. This dime has amazing aesthetic appeal and will easily please any connoisseur, much as it pleased Ed Price, who considers the piece a highlight of his collection. With a long pedigree, this coin has been a highlight of every auction where it has appeared, always realizing a strong price for the time. As an example, in Lester Merkin's 1966 auction, it realized $7,250, an extraordinary amount at the time. In that catalog, it was called "one for the perfectionists."
Consignor Commentary. I was quite fortunate to purchase this coin. I had noticed the coin in Larry Whitlow's Coin World ad, and believe he had purchased the coin from the collector who bought it at the Bolen sale. I spoke with Mike Printz at Whitlow's office, who told me the coin had been sold. I was disappointed because I had seen the coin at the Bolen and Lovejoy sales and knew that it was special. I knew Mike and Larry from some previous dealings, and told Mike that both the buyer and Whitlow could have an immediate and significant profit if he could arrange for me to get the coin. Mike made the transaction happen.
Provenance. Thomas Cleneay (Chapman Brothers, 12/1890), lot 1470; possibly DeWitt Smith and H.O. Granberg; William Cutler Atwater (B. Max Mehl, 6/1946), lot 888; Lester Merkin (4/1966), lot 89; Stack's (10/1980), lot 564; Allen F. Lovejoy (Stack's, 10/1990), lot 9; Chicago Sale (RARCOA and David Akers, 8/1991), lot 229; Waldo Bolen (RARCOA and David Akers, 11/1995), lot 2005; Larry Whitlow (11/1999).
From The Ed Price Collection.(Registry values: P7) (NGC ID# 236D, PCGS# 4463)
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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