US Coins

Market Analysis: Transformed 1796 Draped Bust dime records history

Crafty engraving entirely transformed a 1796 Draped Bust dime that sold for $1,320 at Stack’s Bowers Galleries’ May 24 Baltimore auction. The obverse is engraved HB in the center with BORN AT SAL’Y MAR. 25 1782 around the periphery, while the reverse is engraved DIED AT SAL’Y NOV’R 12th 1802, with a faint E 20 in the center on the eagle’s breast.

The auctioneer grades the host coin Very Good, writing, “Both sides of the host coin in original light silver gray, the reverse retaining considerably more detail than the obverse.” 

Utilizing online research, the description adds, “This detailed engraving refers to Hannah Bartlett of Salisbury, New Hampshire, whose final resting place is South Road Cemetery in that town.”

Despite the substantial modifications, Stack’s Bowers was able to attribute it as the JR-5 variety in the John Reich dime series published in the book Early United States Dimes 1796–1837. It was struck with Reverse D, which is shared with JR-4, JR-5 and JR-7, featuring two berries below E in UNITED. The berries are on stems that appear to grow out of leaves. A leaf tip is below the right base of the A in STATES. 

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