Probably Census Level 1798 JR-4 Dime, MS641798 10C Large 8 MS64 NGC. CAC. JR-4, R.3. The central design motifs are soft, as are the stars along the left obverse border, but most peripheral details are sound. The obverse and reverse surfaces are only a few tiny ticks away from perfection. Both sides exhibit incredible gold luster with lavender, blue, and iridescent toning. A highly appealing near-Gem for the connoisseur of coin dates or types.
Die State. This is the latest known die state for 1798 JR-4, with a crack from Y to the nose that now continues through the right obverse field and between stars 11 and 12 to the border. The continuation of the obverse crack was unrecognized by the dime book authors. The reverse has a heavy break from the second wing feather to the border between D and S, with rim crumbling almost continuous from D to the first S. Additional rim crumbling is nearly continuous from the final S to the F.
Condition Census. Most likely high in the Condition Census for the variety, this piece is apparently the finest known example of the terminal die state.
Appearances. Plated in the 1982 Paramount catalog and in Auction '85.
Obverse Die. The date is widely spaced with the 1 well below the curl, and the 8 about centered between the drapery and border. The 1 is complete with a full base. LIBERTY is widely spaced with LIB slightly closer than other letters. Stars 1 and 7 are distant from the hair and L, while stars 8 and 13 are close to Y and the drapery. Star pairs 1-2, 3-4, 8-9, and 9-10 are closer than other star pairs.
State a. Perfect die, may not exist. State b. Cracked from the Y to the nose. State c. An additional crack from the eye joins the State b crack. State d. A crack develops from the chin down toward star 13. State e. A crack connects the Y to stars 8 through 11. State f. The state b crack continues to the right obverse border.
Reverse Die. The branch has five berries, diagnostic for 1798. The reverse has 13 stars with six in the top row. Star 12 joins the scroll over the left top of the U, and nearly touches the lower beak. All letters in the legend are separated, with ME extremely close. The outside arrow ends under the right curve of the U in UNITED. A leaf is solidly joined to the right base of I.
State a. Perfect die, may not exist. State b. The reverse is cracked from the second feather of the left wing to the border. State c. Various stages of rim crumbling develop as the die is used.
Heritage Commentary. The order that 1798 JR-3 and JR-4 were coined is believed the same order as their variety numbers. The reverse die was used for the 1798 BD-2 quarter eagle and the 1800 JR-1 dime. It is believed that the quarter eagles were coined first, followed by the 1798 JR-4 dimes, and finally the 1800 JR-1 dimes. Reverse die states support this emission order. In addition, see our commentary regarding delivery dates.
John Dannreuther writes in Early U.S. Gold Coin Varieties that the 1798 BD-2 quarter eagles were delivered on December 28, 1799, under Warrant 149. Since the only delivery of dimes in 1798 or 1799 was 27,550 coins delivered on July 23, 1798, it was impossible for the 1798 JR-4 dimes to be included as part of that delivery, unless Dannreuther's speculation is incorrect. More likely, in fact almost certainly, the 1798 JR-4 dimes were actually coined early in 1800, and delivered in March of that year. Carefully analysis of delivery dates for all early dimes and quarter eagles may help pinpoint the exact emission sequence for these coins.
Consignor Commentary. This is the finest late die state piece and almost surely within the Census for the variety.
Provenance. Paramount (5/1982), lot 905; Auction '85 (RARCOA, 7/1985), lot 95; Julian Leidman (1/2004).
From The Ed Price Collection.(Registry values: P6) (NGC ID# 236E, PCGS# 4466)
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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