Unique 1873-CC No Arrows Dime

    1873-CC No Arrows MS 64 PCGS. Ex: Eliasberg. Unique. This is the only example known of the 1873-CC dime with no arrows on either side of the date. The exact circumstances surrounding the production of this issue are unknown, but mint records indicate that 12,400 pieces were struck. Presumably all were melted and converted to Arrows dimes with the exception of a few saved for assay purposes. The theory is that this single coin was saved from the destructive testing done by the Assay Commission. Probably one of the assay members was able to trade it for face value at the time by merely exchanging another dime for it. It was apparently kept in the Mint collection for several decades where it was well preserved, not appearing again for 36 years.
    In 1909, Philadelphia dealers John Haseltine and Stephen Nagy sold a pair of 1877 gold half union patterns for the unprecedented price of $10,000 each. The buyer was future Secretary of the Treasury, William Woodin. A short paragraph from the Bower's Eliasberg catalog describes what happened next: "A furor arose, and it was said that the pair of $50 gold patterns never should have left the Mint. The two pieces were returned to the Mint by exchange, in which "several crates" of coins--thousands totally, primarily patterns, but possibly including some other issues as well--were given to Haseltine and Nagy by Mint officials. What a treasure trove this was!"
    The No Arrows '73-CC was apparently a part of this momentous trade and Woodin was the first owner of record of this important rarity. The coin was exhibited at the 1914 ANS Exhibit in the Spring of that year, and over the next several decades passed through the collections of several noted collectors. Charles Williams owned the coin and consigned it along with several other notable rarities (including a Class I 1804 dollar) to the auction of Adolph Menjou's collection. Kosoff (who cataloged the sale) knew the coin was rare, but did not have a full appreciation of its true status as a unique item. Apparently dealer James Kelly had a more complete appreciation of its rarity, as did Louis Eliasberg. Both men wanted the coin and both were prepared to pay top dollar to buy it at the Menjou Sale. Eliasberg had flown in from Baltimore specifically to buy two coins: the 1853-O No Arrows half dollar and the 1873-CC No Arrows dime. The half dollar he purchased for $890, but when it came time to sell the dime the competition was much stronger. Years later Kosoff wrote that Jim Kelly "had hypnotized himself into a state of conviction that here was a coin that was worth any price. Opening at $1,100 Eliasberg stayed in the bidding until he was convinced that Kelly had no limit, and he allowed Kelly to purchase the piece for $3,650. Several weeks later, on November 7, Kelly and Sol Kaplan sold the dime to Eliasberg as the final piece needed in his complete set of U.S. coinage.
    The coin remained in the Eliasberg Collection until sold by Bowers in May, 1996 for $550,000. The buyer from the Eliasberg Sale was noted collector Waldo Bolen. Bolen had already spent years assembling a collection of dimes--a complete set of every dime produced by the U.S. Mint, except for the unique 1873-CC No Arrows. He then sold his dimes at auction. When the 1873-CC finally came on the market, he purchased it, just for the pleasure of knowing that he had owned every U.S. dime. Bolen became so enamored of the issue that he decided to build a complete 11-piece 1873-CC set around the linch pin No Arrows dime.
    The coin itself is sharply struck. Its satiny luster is slightly subdued and both sides are draped in an even layering of golden-brown patina. Die polishing lines are noted on the figure of Liberty, and a die crack runs prominently through the mintmark, this same reverse die also being used to strike the 1873-CC With Arrows dimes as well as the 1874-CC pieces. The only abrasions of consequence are a pair of marks in the lower reverse field below the M in DIME.
    In our 23 years in the auction business we cannot think of another, more prestigious coin that has passed through our hands. Added to the obvious importance of the coin's unique stature is the allure of the Carson City mintmark, with coins from this mint being among the most romantic, storied, and highly collected in all of U.S. numismatics.
    Ex: U.S. Mint Collection until 1909 when traded along with "several crates" of mostly patterns for two 1877 half unions in the collection of William Woodin; 1914 ANS Exhibit; "Collection of a Prominent American" (Raymond, 5/15); Rudolph (Rud) Kohler Collection; unknown intermediaries; Charles M. Williams Collection; sold by Williams as part of the Adolphe Menjou Collection (Numismatic Gallery, 6/15/50), where it sold for $3,650; James Kelly and Sol Kaplan; sold by James Kelly to Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr. on November 7, 1950 as the last piece needed for his complete set of U.S. coins; The Louis Eliasberg, Sr. Collection (Bowers and Merena, 5/96), lot 1198, where it sold for $550,000; Waldo Bolen. (NGC ID# 27DA, PCGS# 4661)

    Weight: 2.49 grams

    Metal: 90% Silver, 10% Copper

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

    View all of [The Waldo E. Bolen, Jr. Collection ]

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    Auction Dates
    April, 1999
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