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    The 1803 JR-5 Discovery Coin, XF Details, Still Finest Known

    1803 10C XF Details, Environmental Damage, NCS. JR-5, R.7. Mostly light silver-gray surfaces exhibit some dark verdigris around the devices, and some roughness on both sides. Minor scratches are evident, especially on the obverse, but they are not readily apparent unless this piece is closely examined.

    Die State.
    No apparent die damage is noted on either side, other than a faint die crack from the right wing tip to the border.

    Condition Census.
    Today, four examples are known. The other three are: an example that grades Fine to VF, with scratches, ticks, and a grainy look, according to Stack's, which cataloged the coin for their March 2005 sale, lot 480; an example that grades Good, in a private collection, and another that grades AG at best, also in a private collection.

    Plated in the John Reich Journal, volume 7, issue 3.

    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.
    Star 1 is boldly recut with nine distinct points. The branch has five berries, and only the lowest berry is free of leaves. A leaf joins the right base of I. No letters touch, but AMER are extremely close. The first S is low and nearly touches the cloud below it. Star 12 joins the upper beak and star 13 is far from the eagle's head, pointing to the right side of U.
    State a. A crack joins the right wing tip to the border at 2 o'clock. Faint clash marks are visible above the right wing. A vertical die line connects the left shield point to the scroll above.

    Heritage Commentary.
    Ed Price announced the discovery of the 1803 JR-5 dime in the April 1993 issue of the John Reich Journal (volume 7, issue 3, pp. 14-17). The article is a technical review of the new variety, and the revised emission sequence that resulted from its discovery. A follow-up article, "A Lucky Day in Long Beach," appeared a year later in volume 8, issue 3 of the same journal. The second article is a personal interest story, where Ed recounts the events of his acquisition and discovery:

    "[Back at my hotel room] I checked the new coin against 'The Book,' Early United States Dimes 1796-1837, and confirmed that it was a new variety. A little later my wife returned to the hotel room to find me with my books spread out in a state of eager anticipation. Would an inexperienced coin observer see the variety as clearly as I had? I said to her, 'now we are really in the big time.' She looked a little startled. A few days earlier she had been with me when I bought the fairly high priced 1800 JR-2 dime at the Superior auction. It must have sounded as though I had done something very expensive. I showed her the varieties in the book and the new coin. She lit up. 'This isn't even subtle,' she exclaimed, having seen me excited in the past over apparently trivial differences in die states. The coin had passed the first critic."

    Consignor Commentary.
    I discovered this variety at the Long Beach show in February 1993. The discovery was a major highlight of my numismatic activities. Jonathan Kern had just received the coin on consignment from another dealer and only had time to glance at it and correctly determine that it was not the very rare JR-1. I arrived at the right moment, recognized what it was, and bought it. Jonathan did not learn what he had sold until he saw the article on the front page of Coin World. Jonathan was and is one of my favorite dealers. He is very knowledgeable and very willing to share his knowledge. He is always a pleasure to deal with. When he later saw me, he just smiled and said that he wished he had known what it was so he could have sold it to me for more. The discovery was a big deal. The dime book had been published in 1984 covering 29 varieties of draped bust dimes and 122 varieties of Capped Bust dimes. This was the first new discovery since publication.

    Ex: Jonathan Kern (2/1993). Apparently earlier from Stack's sale of the Slawson Collection (4/1970), lot 282, but not plated in that catalog. At the time Ed Price acquired this coin, it was accompanied by the auction flip from the Slawson sale.
    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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