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    The Finest Known 1803 JR-4 Dime, AU55

    1803 10C AU55 NGC. JR-4, R.5. Both sides have pleasing gray-gold surfaces with hints of pale blue and violet patina. A few inconsequential abrasions and faint hairlines can be seen on each side. The surfaces are otherwise smooth with considerable remaining luster.

    Die State.
    The obverse appears perfect with no trace of die cracks or clash marks. A tiny rust mark is visible between the I and B of LIBERTY. The reverse is shattered and clashed, especially at the right.

    Condition Census.
    It is believed that this piece, which is slightly finer than the Garrett specimen that is plated in the dime book, is the finest known example of the die variety.

    Plated in our April 1999 catalog.

    Obverse Die.
    The 3 leans right with its top parallel to the bust line. The 1 is far from the lowest curl, and the 1 and 8 are close. Star 1 is far from the curl, star 7 is close to L, star 8 nearly touches the top of the Y, and star 13 is close to the drapery. LIBERTY is closely spaced with LIB especially close.
    State a. Perfect.

    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.
    The reverse die was used earlier for 1802 JR-2 dimes, and became extensively cracked and clash marked in that die marriage. See our listing, above, for the die states of that variety. By the time it was paired with the 1803 obverse, the reverse die was a mess. We can count at least 10 different die cracks, including the crack across the right wing that has developed a large internal cud. Clash marks through OF AMERI are so heavy that some of those letters are distorted.

    Heritage Commentary.
    Due to the shattered reverse die, the obverse is generally quite weak. As a result, this variety is often undergraded. Authors of the dime book mention that AU50 examples show little of the central detail. However, this example has bold central detail, especially on the reverse.

    Consignor Commentary.
    This is at least tied for the finest known. There are a few decent XF-AU specimens around, but they mostly have problems. The dime book plate is the Garrett coin which is also listed as the finest seen. I bought the Garrett coin at the Lovejoy sale, but I was never fully satisfied with it because of the clear scratches on the reverse. The Garrett catalog notes the scratches, but the Lovejoy catalog does not. However, the Lovejoy catalog does describe the Garrett coin as "probably the second finest of the variety," so Alan understood its problem. When I saw the present coin at Heritage lot viewing, I realized that it was the upgrade coin I had hoped to find since I bought the Garrett coin almost nine years earlier. The Heritage description was confusing since the Mint State example mentioned is my JR-3, not another JR-4. The bidding was moderately aggressively for the era, but apparently no one else recognized it as the finest for the variety.

    Ex: Heritage (4/1999), lot 5711.
    From The Ed Price Collection.
    (Registry values: P7) (NGC ID# 236L, PCGS# 4473)

    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 Info

    Auction Dates
    Jul-Aug, 2008
    30th-3rd Wednesday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 6
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 3,278

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