US Coins

Draped Bust dimes among offerings at Legend’s Regency auction in December

Estimated to sell for as much as $250,000, an 1803 Draped Bust dime carries top billing at Legend Rare Coin Auctions’ Regency 56 auction in Las Vegas on Dec. 8.

Listed as JR-3 in the reference Early United States Dimes 1796–1837, it is graded Mint State 64 by Professional Coin Grading Service and carries a green Certified Acceptance Corp. sticker.

The coin is the finest-known example of the date of any variety, though the JR-3 is the most “common” of the 1803 die pairs.

When it last sold in 2015 at Stack’s Bowers Galleries and Sotheby’s first installment of the D. Brent Pogue Collection, the catalogers observed, “The surfaces are mostly brilliant, surrounded by a blush of peach and gold inside the rims.” It reached $211,500.

The colors have deepened in the past seven years, with Legend commenting on its currant look, “The obverse is richly toned with a gorgeous mix of cobalt at the upper rim, melding into a tangerine-gold, lightening to a softer golden hue, before returning to an original pearlescent antique silver.”

The dime was struck from dies that were nearing the end of their working lives, with plenty of die cracks and clash marks seen on both sides, though the overall strike is bold save a bit of weakness at the peripheries.

It features a provenance that goes back to 1890. Pogue purchased it at Heritage’s July 2008 auction of the Ed Price Collection for $322,000, so its current estimate of $200,000 to $250,000 may represent a value proposition to bidders today for the only undisputed Mint State example of the date known.

Two great 1798 Draped Bust dimes

Legend’s sale also includes a duo of 1798 Draped Bust dimes representing the Large 8 and Small 8 varieties. The auction’s JR-3 1798 Draped Bust, Small 8 dime carries a top estimate of $150,000 and is graded MS-65 by PCGS, residing in the same holder it did when it was offered at the first Pogue auction on May 19, when it realized $141,000. Legend praises the bold strike, adding, “The luster is very strong, ranging from a thick, frosty satiny texture on the obverse and distinctly reflective on the reverse.” Another noteworthy former owner is Louis E. Eliasberg Sr., and when the offered dime sold at Heritage’s 2008 Price Collection sale — then graded MS-66 by Numismatic Guaranty Co. — it realized $253,000.

The 1798 Draped Bust dimes are distinguished by an overdate variety (8/7) and the “normal date” varieties, the latter of which are further distinguished by the size of the final digit in the date. The reverse branch carried by the eagle has four berries, which is seen on all “Normal Date” 1798 varieties. Legend’s JR-4 1798 Draped Bust, Large 8 dime is graded MS-64 by PCGS, and carries a green CAC sticker.

Providing evidence of the obverse die’s productive life, the obverse shows a broad network of cracks including an arc that touches Liberty’s nose, while the eagle’s wing connects to the rim on the reverse. It sold in the 2015 Pogue auction for $82,250 and brought $37,375 in the Price offering. Legend estimates it at $75,000 to $85,000 and writes, “This coin is technically finer than the grade designated (we make no promises), and has a look that surpasses most GEMS in the series.”

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