The James A. Stack 1804 14 Stars Reverse Dime, JR-2, AU58
1804 10C 14 Stars on Reverse AU58 NGC. Ex: James A. Stack.
JR-2, R.5. This piece is likely the finest known example of this
rare variety, as it is the single finest 14 Stars 1804 dime
certified at NGC, and there are none to equal it at PCGS. As
recently as the Platinum Night portion of our Signature Auction 422
(lot 861), a Heritage cataloger wrote of the Eliasberg Collection
coin, a 14 Stars graded AU53 by PCGS (finest at that service),
"This is the first auction appearance of this example in several
decades as it did not appear in any of the previous Eliasberg
sales. Two varieties are known for the 1804 dimes, identified by
either 13 stars or 14 stars on the reverse. This 14 Stars
variety is considerably scarcer, and the present example is almost
certainly the finest known of these pieces, arguably the finest
known of the date. Only one piece has received a higher certified
grade, an AU55 example of the 13 Stars reverse certified by
Single Finest at Either Service, Likely the Finest Known
The present AU58 NGC-graded coin appears to have only recently entered the certified population data, by all measures. The Heritage cataloger of the Eliasberg AU53 was manifestly unaware of this piece in late 2006, when the cataloging for the FUN Platinum Night was occurring. The www.coinfacts.com website, which appears to have suffered benign neglect the last couple of years or so, mentions an XF45 PCGS example as the finest 14 Stars certified. Delving back further into the history of finest-graded examples, we find that Early United States Dimes 1796-1837 notes an XF45 piece (Stack's Miles Sale, 4/69, lot 606) as the finest known at the time that volume was published, in 1984.
In a clever and remarkable stroke of pragmatism and frugality, the early Mint personnel designed the dies for silver dimes and gold quarter eagles to be interchangeable. This commendable idea was made doubly logical since the quarter eagle mintages were minuscule, at best. It made no sense to custom-manufacture extra dies specifically for the little-used gold denomination.
Thus it is that the reverse die of this rare variety, before it was ever used to stamp the first silver dime, had apparently already been used to strike an estimated 2,300-2,800 examples of the 1804 14 Stars Reverse quarter eagle (BD-2), according to Bass-Dannreuther. A footnote to the BD-2 variety notes that "some believe the 1804 dimes (JR-2, in this instance) were struck after the quarter eagles, stating that the dies were lapped after use with the quarter eagles. Neither use of this reverse seems to have resulted in an injury to the die, so unless a cracked state is found, the question is still open. More research is needed to prove either case, but the dime researchers seem to be correct." Dannreuther, however, provides no evidence why he supports the dime gurus' conclusion.
The obverse of this variety is shared with the 1804 13 Stars, while the reverse was used solely for the noted BD-2 quarter eagles and the 14 Stars dimes. The recorded dime mintage is 8,265 coins, but numismatists believe that some of the reported 1805 emission included coins dated 1804. The left rims on both sides show weakness that is characteristic of every known example of the 1804 14 Stars. The Stack's cataloger described this coin as "Fourteen stars on the reverse. About Uncirculated, frosty lustre, struck from lightly shattered dies. The stars at the left weak as always. The first use of the reverse dies was to strike the 1804 quarter eagle. Lovely gray, golden and lightly iridescent. This could be the finest known example of this variety and certainly one of the finest of the date."
Ex: James A. Stack Estate, Part III (Stack's, 1/1990), lot 13; Bolen Collection, NUMISMA '95 (RARCOA, 11/1995), lot 2019.(Registry values: P8) (NGC ID# 236P, PCGS# 4475)
Weight: 2.70 grams
Metal: 89.24% Silver, 10.76% Copper
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