Intriguing 1805 JR-1 Dime, Medal Turn Alignment, Fine 15
1805 10C 5 Berries Fine 15 PCGS. CAC. JR-1, R.3.
Medal turn alignment; the reverse is rotated nearly 180 degrees
from normal. A spectacular coin for the grade, with natural medium
gray surfaces accented by rose, gold, and blue toning. The surfaces
have a few old scratches and abrasions that are entirely consistent
with the grade.
Die State. The obverse is perfect. The reverse has a crack through the base of ICA, across the branch and tail feathers, to the arrows. A second heavier crack (or die rust) extends from the end of the branch to the border.
Condition Census. This may be the finest known example with medal turn alignment.
Appearances. No previous appearances.
Obverse Die. The 1 nearly touches the lowest curl and the top of the 5 has a spine extending into the bust. LIB are close and BERTY are wide. Star 1 is far from the curl, star 7 is farther from L, star 8 is very close to the Y, and star 13 is close to the bust.
State a. Perfect.
Reverse Die. Five berries in the branch. Each of the six stars in the top row touch the clouds, and star 12 joins the upper beak and ribbon, and star 13 is close to the ribbon and eagle's head, but touches neither. The first A touches the third and fourth feathers, ME are lightly joined, and a leaf touches the right base of I. All other letters in the legend are separated from each other and none touch any of the devices or border. The middle outside berry is on a long stem and the other four berries are all on short stems. Unlike most other Heraldic Eagle reverse dies of the denomination, the eagle holds 12 arrows. Most dies have but 10 arrows.
State a. Perfect. State b. A fine crack joins the based of ICA, crosses the stem, tail feathers, and arrows. A heavier crack or die rust joins the stem to the border. State c. The State b crack continues to the U in UNITED.
Heritage Commentary. Regardless of the experience any of us have, there are always new things to learn. The present amazing piece is one of those for this cataloger, who was previously unaware of such a rotation on 1805 dimes. There is no mention of medal turn alignment in the dime book. The next thing to discover relative to this variety is an example with normal coin turn alignment that has clash marks from the medal turn alignment, or vice versa. Such a discovery, if it even exists, might help us learn the order of striking for the two die alignments.
Consignor Commentary. This was my first experience with Brian Greer. The coin had been listed in a Coin World ad as "5 berries reverse, reverse rotated approx 180°." I called Brian and was pleased to find a knowledgeable and very pleasant person. At that stage neither Brian nor I had seen another like this. I believe that neither of us knew what it was worth. I paid the listed price and received the coin quickly. I have since seen one or two other much lower grade specimens. The rotation was the same, so there may be others.
I have had some fun with this coin. I have shown it to several collectors and dealers and told them it was "special." They generally spend quite a while studying the obverse and reverse before realizing why it is special--if they realize it all. The only exception I recall--not really a surprise--is Jonathan Kern, who identified the medal turn almost immediately.
Provenance. Ex: Brian Greer (3/1993).
From The Ed Price Collection.(Registry values: P5) (NGC ID# 236R, PCGS# 4478)
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