US Coins

Collector finds rare dime variety in eBay bulk lot

A Texas collector has found a heavily worn example of an 1829 Capped Bust, Curl Base 2 dime, and it has been authenticated, graded and encapsulated by ANACS.

The new JR-10 die marriage as attributed in Early United States Dimes 1796-1837 by David J. Davis, Russell J. Logan, Allen F. Lovejoy, John W. McCloskey and William L. Subjack, becomes the 41st example of the die marriage since the first was identified by McCloskey in 1973. ANACS has certified the latest example verified as About Good 3 Details, Holed.

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Overall 1829 Capped Bust dime production at the Philadelphia Mint is believed to be 770,000 for all varieties, although no official mintage is reported.

Details on the obverse and reverse were so heavily worn that ANACS senior numismatist and grader Michael Fahey had to make the JR-10 determination through a process of elimination, ruling out any other possible variety designations based on the details that were discernible.

ANACS grader Kathleen Oviatt conducted the initial analysis of the coin discovered by collector Chris Mason before Fahey began his variety-by-variety assessment. Mason suspected that he had the elusive JR-10 variety, and Fahey said this is one case where the final attribution matches the original suspicions.

Fahey said despite the circulation wear, the top half of the date was of the right size and spacing for the JR-10. The tip of star 11 on the top left of the obverse pointed to the lock of hair on Liberty’s forehead. The tip of star 4 at the 3 o’clock position points to the lock of hair on the back of Liberty’s neck. Also, a hair curl is positioned above the 9 in the date, according to Fahey.

On the reverse, according to Fahey, the individual elements of 10 C., the denomination, are the correct size and spacing for the JR-10 die marriage. The end of the scroll or ribbon where E PLURIBUS UNUM used to be points to the middle of the M in AMERICA. 

The reverse die for the JR-10 was used only one other time, according to Fahey, in producing the JR-2 variety of 1830 Capped Bust dime.

Surprise find

Mason says he has been a collector since childhood but only collecting in earnest the past 18 months.

Mason says he hasn’t concentrated on any particular series, but has been participating in online auctions seeking lots containing multiple coins from a single series. His JR-10 1829 Capped Bust, Curl Base 2 dime came from an eBay auction about six months ago that contained approximately 25 heavily worn Capped Bust dimes.

Mason said he filled gaps first in his dime collection then stopped when he got to what he believed was an 1829 coin, and a Curl Base 2 coin specifically. Mason said depending on the angle in which he turned the coin and his light source, he was able to define the outline of the 2 in the date as the Curl Base variety. He had already shown the coin to several other people to examine, including a dealer at his local coin shop.

Mason says he has no current plans to sell the coin, because he’s unlikely to discover another one to replace his find if he were to part with it through auction or private sale.

Identifying a variety

McCloskey, who died Dec. 15, 2018, explained in the December 1987 issue of the John Reich Journal that he began collecting Capped Bust dimes in 1968, and within two years had completed a date set from 1809 through 1837.

By 1973, McCloskey reported he had identified 60 different varieties in the Capped Bust dime series, including eight different varieties for the year 1829.

McCloskey had written copious notes about the Capped Bust dime in his collection, detailing differences in the placement of the stars and date digits on the obverses, and spacing of the lettering on the reverses.

Numerals, stars and lettering were hand-punched separately into each die.

McCloskey’s notes would prove crucial in the writing and publication of the seminal dime reference in 1984.

While attending a one-day coin show in Dayton, Ohio, in 1973, McCloskey acquired from a dealer’s stock, for $20, an 1829 Capped Bust dime that he graded Fine 15, having no idea at the time that it would be identified as a rare new die marriage.

Upon arriving home, McCloskey said, he placed all of his 1829 dimes side by side, reverse side up, next to his new purchase.

McCloskey quickly noted the reverse on his new purchase was unlike the reverse on any of his other 1829 dimes. Now realizing he had found a new marriage, McCloskey wrote, he turned his attention to the date.

The numeral 2 on his new purchase was different than the other 1829 dimes he owned, exhibiting a digit with a Curl Base and not a Square Base like the others.

McCloskey updated his 1987 article in the April 1992 John Reich Journal, explaining that he was aware from Al C. Overton’s Early United States Half Dollar Varieties 1794-1836 that the 1827 and 1828 Capped Bust half dollars came with both Curl Base 2 and Square Base 2 punches in the date, so he was not surprised that two different date punches would be employed in the Capped Bust dime series.

While other examples of the JR-10 1829 dime were found by other collectors, McCloskey never found a second example beyond his discovery coin.

In a July 2011 John Reich Journal article, numismatist Louis Scuderi noted that, when McCloskey penned his 1987 journal article, only five examples of the JR-10 1829 dime were in the John Reich Collector’s Society dime census.

By the 1992 article, the number known had reached a dozen. Now, the number of known pieces is more than 40.

Trading hands

Coin World’s Coin Values records values for the JR-10 1829 Capped Bust, Curl Base 2 dime at $6,250 in Good 4, $10,000 in Very Good 8, $17,500 in Fine 12 and $20,000 in Very Fine 20.

The finest known example is a Very Fine 35 example graded and encapsulated by Professional Coin Grading Service. The coin realized $25,850 in a June 8, 2017, public auction by Heritage Auctions.

One PCGS VF-30 example realized $32,900 in a May 12, 2015, Heritage sale, but in a Jan. 5, 2017, sale a different PCGS VF-30 coin realized $15,275.

Certified examples

The number of submissions recorded by PCGS, Numismatic Guaranty Corp. and ANACS exceeds the 41 examples known to exist, indicating that some of the same coins were submitted more than one time to the same service or were crossed over between the third-party grading services.

As of Feb. 6, PCGS records 36 submissions — two in the Poor to About Good classification, 14 in Good, 14 in Very Good, two in Fine and four in Very Fine, with the highest example certified VF-35.

The NGC Census records nine submissions — six in Good, one in Very Good and two in Fine. 

ANACS lists eight submissions, with the latest example becoming the ninth submission. The previous eight submissions comprise one each in Fair 2, Good 4 and Good 6, three in VG-8 and two in VG-10. 

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