Buying a piece of history

Auction disperses Davis dimes
Published : 10/06/12
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The David J. Davis Collection of Capped Bust Dimes was sold in August by Stack’s Bowers Galleries during the American Numismatic Association World’s Fair of Money in Philadelphia.

David was one of the authors of Early United States Dimes 1796-1837, the standard reference on the early dimes. The book was published in 1984 by the John Reich Collectors Society, with dime varieties attributed by John Reich or JR numbers. The collection was offered as single lots in its entirety as a tribute to the collector. Professional Coin Grading Service certified all of the dimes.

Three of the most valuable coins were listed in the Aug. 9 Rarities Night catalog. The prices realized include the 17.5 percent buyer’s fee. They were the 1822 Capped Bust dime, JR-1, Extremely Fine 45 ($10,575); the extremely rare 1827 JR-10, PCGS Very Fine Details — Cleaning ($12,650); and the 1829 Curl Base 2 dime, JR-10, PCGS Fine 15 ($12,925). The 1827 JR-10 coin was the bargain of the dimes.

Bidding in an auction can be an exciting, nerve-racking experience. Good preparation is necessary to make split second decisions. I put necessary condition notes in my catalog along with pertinent pricing information from multiple sources so I would not have to cross reference materials during the auction.

The auction began at Lot 5340, an 1809 Capped Bust dime, About Uncirculated Details — Questionable Color, selling at $2,070. A friend sitting next to me purchased a beautiful JR-1 1814 dime, EF-45, for $1,528 — more than twice market.

My first success was the 1820 Small O dime, JR-7, in EF-40, at $529. One of the bargains turned out to be the 1821 Capped Bust, Large Date dime, JR-2, PCGS Fine Details, one of 15 known, at $3,055. I was the underbidder. One of the highlights was the 1823/2 Large E’s dime, JR-2, Mint State 64, which sold for $16,100. A surprise, to me, was the 1824/2 Pointed Top 1 dime, JR-2, VF-20, at $3,290. This coin, although very rare, was not much nicer than the 1821 JR-2 and quite a bit more common. I now knew I should have bid more on the 1821 dime.

Another of the highlights was the 1827/7, JR-1, in MS-62. It was an early die state showing the recut 7 very plainly. It sold for $10,350.

Both of the 1828 dimes seem to have brought good prices.

The 1829 Capped Bust, Small over Large 10C dime, JR-9, MS64+, realized $10,925.

One surprise was that the 1830 Medium 10C dime, without the cud or die cracks above UNI in UNITED, JR-1, sold for $881 in Very Good 8. Soon Lot 5533 signaled the end of the Davis Collection.

Brad Karoleff is a vice president of the John Reich Collectors Society and editor of the club’s journal. He can be reached via email at

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