High Census Level 1798 JR-3 Dime, MS66
1798 10C Small 8 MS66 NGC. JR-3, R.5. The first five
stars on the right are noticeably weak, but all other design
elements on both sides are bold. The impression is nicely centered
with full obverse and reverse borders. Amazing surfaces display
scintillating silver brilliance with satin mint luster. Splashes of
subtle gold and iridescent toning are most visible near the
From the Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr. Collection
Die State. The obverse has a crack from the border at star 3 to the lower point of star 4 to the upper fork of the hair ribbon. A second crack begins in the field to meet the first at the hair ribbon. A third crack grazes the upper point of star 4 and lower point of star 5 to the hair above the ribbon. A fourth crack is evident in the upper right obverse from the eyebrow to star 9. The obverse has minor die rust and the reverse has light clash marks.
Condition Census. This piece is probably the finest known 1798 JR-3 dime, or it is tied for the finest known example. A small number of lower quality Mint State coins apparently exist, although the variety is usually found with extensive wear.
Appearances. Plated in the Eliasberg catalog.
Obverse Die. The R in LIBERTY has a curved tail. Normal date spaced 179 8, with the 8 slightly smaller than the other digits. Actually, the size difference between the Small 8 and Large 8 punches is very slight. The serif of the 1 is close to the curl with its left base is missing, and the 8 is clearly separated from the drapery, although it is closer to the drapery than the border. Star 1 is far from the hair curl, star 7 is closer to the L, star 8 is closest to the Y, and star 13 is close to the drapery, about the same distance as star 7 and the L. Star 5 is minutely recut. Fine die lines follow part of the obverse border. All stars are separated with stars 6 and 7 the widest, and the stars on the right all extremely close.
State a. Perfect die, may not exist. State b. Cracked from the rim to star 4 and the hair ribbon. State c. Also cracked from star 5 to the hair above the hair ribbon. State d. Cracked from the eyebrow to star 9; this last crack unlisted in the dime book.
Reverse Die. The branch has four berries, diagnostic for the 1798 Normal Date varieties. The constellation consists of 13 stars with six in the top row. Star 4 is weak or missing on nearly all known examples. Star 12 is free of the ribbon and clear of the upper beak, although extremely close to it. Outer arrow is extremely close to both U and N. The legend has AME joined, and all other letters separated. The upper outside leaf is below the space between I and C, closer to the C. The lower leaf tip is below the left base of A, with a berry below the right base of that letter.
State a. Perfect die, may not exist. State b. Minor die rust.
Engraving Note. The R in LIBERTY has a perfectly formed, curved tail, while the R in AMERICA has a straight tail. This is the only instance throughout the entire series of early dimes from 1796 to 1807 that a curved tail R appears on either side. See our engraving notes at the 1798 BD-1 quarter eagle for a similar situation in that denomination.
Heritage Commentary. The obverse and reverse dies are unique to this variety, so it is impossible to determine the order of emission. We assume that the two normal date varieties, JR-3 and JR-4, were coined after the overdates. The rarer of two Normal Date varieties, the Small 8 has its own listing in the Guide Book that creates considerable demand. In fact, all four die varieties of 1798 are individually listed in that reference.
Consignor Commentary. I owned the Garrett, Lovejoy, Bolen coin for many years. It was clearly inferior to the present Eliasberg Collection specimen. I have not seen the Bareford coin. Although it does not appear to be as nice in the catalog photo, it may be tied with the present coin for finest known.
Provenance. Eliasberg Collection (Bowers and Merena, 5/1996), lot 1044; Stuart Levine (7/2002).
From The Ed Price Collection.(Registry values: P6) (NGC ID# 236E, PCGS# 4467)
View all of [Ed Price Collection ]
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