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    1798/97 16 Stars Reverse Dime, JR-1, MS65
    Among the Finest Graded

    1798/97 10C 16 Stars Reverse, JR-1, R.3, MS65 PCGS. Certified in an old PCGS green-label holder, this Gem 1798/97 overdate dime offers excellent eye appeal on pearl-gray centers bounded by sandy-rose patina on each side of surfaces that are basically free of post-Mint disturbances. The strike is nice and sharp on Liberty's hair and the right-side stars, with minor flatness on a couple of the left-side stars on the obverse and the upper horizontal shield lines/eagle's neck feathers on the reverse.

    Variety: JR-1, R.3. Small 8 over large 7. Star 7 is distant from L on the obverse, while star 8 is close to the Y. The reverse shows 16 stars, arranged 7-7-1-1. There are also 16 vertical stripes if one counts both the raised stripes and the spaces between them. Stars 8, 9, and 10 are quite close. Die State: The dies are boldly clashed on the obverse, signifying a later die state. A "collar" die clash appears at the throat. Other evidence of clashing appears in the field before Liberty's chin and above the date. On the reverse, a small die crack connects star 10 to the top of the eagle's head (a later state than known for the 1797 BD-1 quarter eagles; see below).

    Population Data (3/15): For the 1798/7 16 Stars Reverse variety, PCGS reports three in MS65 as well as one MS65+. There are none numerically finer. NGC reports a surprisingly large total of seven MS65 and three MS66, although we have confirmed some duplications among those numbers.

    Heritage Commentary: The 1798/7 dime is popular because of the small 8 punch, which fails completely to conceal the large 7 underneath, making this a "naked eye" overdate. The same obverse die was also mated with a 13 Star reverse to create the JR-2, a great rarity among the Bust dime series, far more elusive than the JR-1; perhaps 20 to 30 are known of the JR-2.

    The 16 Star reverse of this JR-1 variety was also used to strike quarter eagles, an interesting economic measure at the early Mint that was enabled by the negligible size difference between silver dimes and gold quarter eagles. Tennessee joined the Union on June 1, 1796, so the reverse die was likely created afterward. The reverse die was first used to strike the 1797-dated BD-1 quarter eagles, which show an earlier state of the reverse signifying their earlier striking compared to the dimes.

    Provenance: Benson Collection, Part II / Goldbergs (2/2002), lot 454. (NGC ID# 236F, Variety PCGS# 38750, Base PCGS# 4468)

    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
    May, 2015
    12th Tuesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 14
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