Perhaps the Finest 1804 Dime, JR-2, AU58
1804 10C 14 Stars on Reverse AU58 NGC. CAC. JR-2,
R.5. When we offered it in 2007, we stated: "This piece is a
lovely example with exquisite central obverse and reverse details.
The left side of the obverse and reverse exhibit some weakness, a
characteristic of the variety and similar on every known piece.
Pale golden-brown toning is visible across much of the obverse and
reverse with some areas of lighter silver color. Light wear is
evident only on Liberty's shoulder, a few of the hair strands, and
the clouds over the eagle. While faint hairlines are typical for
these coins, few can boast the quality of surfaces seen here."
Die State. The obverse has a short crack from a dentil between stars 8 and 9 that first appeared in the earlier JR-1 marriage. Clash marks behind the lower curls to star 2 also appeared in the JR-1 marriage. A new die crack through star 10 curves up toward the eyebrow, and another through star 13 crosses the chin, cheek, and most of the hair, eventually disappearing in the upper hair strands below Another unlisted die crack from the lower point of star 13 crosses the drapery and eventually reaches the throat.
Condition Census. This is easily the finest existing 1804 JR-2 dime, and it is probably the finest existing 1804 dime of either variety. Other important pieces: 1. Bolen/James A. Stack--Ed Price purchased this coin at the Bolen sale and owned it until he purchased the Eliasberg coin. It is also graded NGC AU58 and is a lovely coin. Unfortunately, a light cleaning detracts from its eye appeal and this always bothered me. 2. Lovejoy/Robison--EF with a scratch across the obverse. This is the JR plate coin. Price also owned this coin for a while, having acquired it when he bought Bill Subjack's collection. 3. Miles--listed as finest seen in the dime book and graded XF45. 4. Norweb--AU50--appears to have a few scattered marks on the obverse
Appearances. Plated in our January 2007 catalog.
Obverse Die. The 1 joins the lowest curl and the 4 is about centered between the bust and the border. LIBERTY is widely spaced with LIB closer than BERTY. Stars 1 and 7 are far from the curl and L, star 8 is closer to the Y, and star 13 is closest to the drapery.
State a. Clashed and cracked as State c of 1804 JR-1. State b. Cracked as described above for JR-2. Intermediate states probably exist.
Reverse Die. Legend completely free of the devices, except as noted. No letters touch each other. U is close to the claw and D is very far from the feathers. Approximately centered between clouds and border. The upright of E is right of center over cloud 4. First A is separated from the wing feathers. AM are close. Other letters are well-spaced. Final A is distant from the claw. Four berries with the center outside berry merged with a leaf tip. A leaf joins right base of I. Outer arrow point is below the center of the left base of N. Arrows extend slightly past center of N. Fourteen stars arranged in rows of 6, 6, 1, and 1. The stars are arranged in such a manner that any three adjacent stars form a nearly straight line. Stars 1, 2, 3, and 6 touch clouds with star 4 extremely close. Star 1 has two points buried in the eagle's wing. Star 9 is centered above the eagle's head, star 13 touches the lower beak and ribbon, and star 14 touches the back of the head and the ribbon.
State a. Perfect.
Heritage Commentary. This piece was not part of the 1996 Eliasberg sale, but appeared at a later date.
Consignor Commentary. This is easily the finest 1804 dime of either variety that I have seen or heard of. I was a little surprised that this coin did not grade as Uncirculated. In any case, it is clearly finer than any others I am aware of.
Mark Borckardt called me in late 2006. He mentioned that Heritage had a group of coins consigned from the Eliasberg Collection for the 2007 FUN sale that included an 1804 14 Stars dime I might like. I have known Mark for many years. He knows a lot about early Federal coinage. Mark understands my collecting interests and has brought other coins to my attention over the years. We discussed the 1804 dime and others that I owned or had owned. The Eliasberg coin sounded at least as nice as the Bolen/James A. Stack example I then owned. After talking to Mark, I studied the coin on-line and realized that it was an exceptional coin. There was no wear apparent and it seemed to have extraordinary eye appeal. I discussed the coin with Stu Levine. One concern I had was that I would not be able to view the coin before the FUN sale. Stu agreed to view the coin in Dallas. When Stu called from Dallas, he confirmed that it was extraordinary. We discussed the coin at length--Stu had the coin in his hand and I was looking at the image on-line. Later Stu and I discussed pricing and concluded that $125,000 hammer would be reasonable. Stu would be at the auction to bid. On the night of the sale, I watched the bidding at the Heritage website. The coin sold for $140,000 hammer. I was disappointed that I had not been a little more aggressive. Then the phone rang. Stu had been the buyer--understanding the importance of the coin and my strong interest in owning it. I was delighted, but I still had never seen the coin. A few days later I saw the coin and realized that it was easily the finest 1804 dime of either variety.
Provenance. David Wilson Sale (S.H. Chapman, 3/1907), lot 694; Clapp Collection; Eliasberg Collection; Heritage (1/2007), lot 861.
From The Ed Price Collection.(Registry values: P8) (NGC ID# 236P, PCGS# 4475)
View all of [Ed Price Collection ]
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