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    Important 1804 JR-2 Dime With 14 Reverse Stars

    1804 10C 14 Stars on Reverse JR-2, R.5. Reiver state a.--Obverse Damage--NCS. XF Details. Light silver-gray surfaces which show moderate hairlines from a past cleaning. In the left obverse field there are two scratches, one runs straight from the first to fifth star, the other is a broken, curving scuff from the lower curls up past the ribbon to the sixth star. Another short scratch is seen above star seven and the L of LIBERTY. A couple of fainter scratches cross Liberty's drapery and chest. The reverse has minor handling ticks but no lengthy scratches or other problems. Poorly struck on the left side as nearly always seen on this variety with the tops of a few letters worn into the rim.
    Examination of the layout of the stars on the reverse die shows that the engraver had used the "star cross" pattern seen on the original Great Seal. In 1798 when the Heraldic Eagle dies were adapted for silver and gold coinage, several of the initial dies were engraved using the "star cross" pattern where the stars were arranged in straight lines instead of in arcs over the eagle's head. As the engravers quickly learned, it is very hard to fit the stars into straight lines with the curved clouds and the eagle's head in the way. Some of the stars overlap the clouds or were otherwise squeezed between devices. It is almost certain that this reverse die was a leftover from 1798 that remained unused until there was simply no other die available. A similar "star cross" pattern is found on the rare 1798 JR-2 dime, but this is a different die.
    This reverse die, with its unusual star count, was used for both dimes and quarter eagles as were many of the dies used to coin early dimes. The Mint was interested in economy, and since these two denominations had exactly the same diameter, it was possible to use the reverse dies for both silver and gold coins as they employed the same designs. Among the early silver and gold coinage, the dimes and quarter eagles were the only two denominations where this die sharing occurred. Quarter dollars had the denomination on the reverse, so die sharing was not possible, and Heraldic Eagle half dollars, which were about the same diameter as Eagles, could have had similar die sharing, but to this day, all known reverse dies in the respective denominations are different.
    Ex: Legates (September 1978). Envelope Included.(Registry values: P8) (NGC ID# 236P, PCGS# 4475)

    Weight: 2.70 grams

    Metal: 89.24% Silver, 10.76% Copper

    Learn more at the Newman Numismatic Portal at Washington University in St. Louis.

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    Auction Dates
    January, 2006
    24th-28th Tuesday-Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 17
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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