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    Finest Known 1802 JR-2 Dime, MS61

    1802 10C MS61 NGC. JR-2, R.5. A strictly Mint State coin, although an understanding of the way these pieces were made will be necessary to accept its grade. Most of Liberty's face, from the mouth to the top of the head, is flat, lacking all its detail. A similar area on the reverse is also flat. The remaining detail on both sides is boldly defined. The underlying surfaces beneath delightful heather, gold, and sea-green toning are quite reflective.

    Die State.
    Perfect obverse die. The reverse has extensive cracks. The most prominent is a heavy crack from the border to the arrow feathers, shield, right wing and upper right border. This is State c in the die state listing below.

    Condition Census.
    The finest known and only existing Mint State 1802 JR-2 dime. We are unaware of any other Mint State 1802 dimes of any variety except JR-4.

    Plated in Stack's catalog of the Robison Collection.

    Obverse Die.
    Tip of the hair curl is under the center of the B. Star 1 is distant from the hair curl, star 13 is closer to the drapery, and stars 7 and 8 are each very close to the L and Y. The 1 is close to the lower curl, and the 2 is about centered between the bust and border. The stars are all separated with star pairs 2-3 and 5-6 closer than the others. LIBERTY is evenly spaced with all letters separated and the L slightly low.
    State a. Perfect. State b. Faint clash marks at the throat and a die line at upper right. The clash marks may only appear with reverse State e, described below. State c. The die line is weak, probably due to die lapping.

    Reverse Die.
    Space between clouds is below right side of E, diagnostic. Star 2 is recut with eight points. Star 12 enters the eagle's mouth but touches neither beak. Its lower point joins the scroll above the center of U. Star 13 is far above the scroll and points to the left side of U. AME are extremely close with all other letters widely spaced.

    Reverse die states.
    Ed Price is particularly interested in the die states of the reverse die, and provided his notes about five distinct states. He further comments: "on States b and later there is generally apparent reverse damage near ERI in AMERICA. This damage is definitely in the die. I have owned multiple State b coins, including the JR plate coin, with the full 'damage.'"

    State a.
    Cracked from star 5 to star 11, ribbon, and right shield tip, and also from the right wing tip through the tops of AMERIC. Both cracks are very light. Diagonal die scratches are visible under the D, near the wing. No reverse die damage.
    State b. The same die cracks and die scratches of State a are present, perhaps slightly heavier. Die damage is now visible through ERI.
    State c. In addition to the State a and b cracks and die scratches, a crack from the right border crosses the right wing to the shield, arrow shafts, and rim. Another crack extends from the rim to I of AMERICA and the top berry on the branch. Other minor cracks include one from the rim to tail between the second and third feathers from the left.
    State d. Immediately recognized by a small triangular rim cud near the right wing. Other cracks are the same as State c.
    State e. As State d with clash marks left of and below star 1, through star 6, and from the top of cloud 4 through the O in OF. A light crack from the border extends through the E of STATES to clouds 4 and 5.

    Heritage Commentary.
    The flat areas on this piece are the result of some form of die damage that is only apparent in the middle die states. The exact nature of the damage is unclear. Also unknown is how the damage may have been repaired, as it does not appear on the later die states.

    Consignor Commentary.
    This has always been one of my favorite coins in the collection. The weak obverse die state is a wonderful example of the varied output of the first U.S. Mint. I have always believed it to be Uncirculated. The Stack's Robison description mistakes the weakness for wear and understates the condition of the coin. I was pleased to see that NGC understood that it is actually Uncirculated.

    Robison Collection (Stack's, 2/1982), lot 979; William L. Subjack (1/1992).
    From The Ed Price Collection.
    (Registry values: P7) (NGC ID# 236K, PCGS# 4472)

    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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