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Rare Money Blog

The Finest Known 1820 JR-8 Capped Bust Dime to be Featured in our May 2019 Baltimore Auction

By James McCartney, Senior Numismatist

Author: James McCartney / Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Among the rarities consigned to our May 22-24, 2019 Baltimore Auction is a spectacular 1820 Capped Bust dime of the JR-8 variety. Certified MS-65 (PCGS) and approved by CAC, it ranks among the finest examples known.

Though readily available in a general sense, the JR-8 variety is a considerable condition rarity in higher grades. Writing in 1984 the authors of Early United States Dimes called this variety "difficult to find above VF-30 condition" and noted that the "finest seen is EF-45." Though a few Mint States examples have appeared in the three decades since, the overall sentiment remains true.

We first handled this particular example nearly 25 years ago as part of our 60th Anniversary Sale in October 1995, where we called it "Gem Brilliant Uncirculated and an absolutely splendid specimen...almost certainly the finest known." In fact, the incredible Lovejoy Reference Collection that we had sold just five years earlier included an EF-45 example, testifying to the rarity of this variety in Mint State. The superior nature of this piece is exemplified by its recent inclusion in the spectacular collection of Eugene H. Gardner, which focused on eye appeal and quality. It ranks as the finest known example from the JR-8 dies and is a significant specimen within the larger context of the 1820 Large 0 issue. It is tied with just 10 other examples on the PCGS Population Report and only six rank finer.

Vibrant lemon, mint, orange, and plum are seen on the obverse of this Gem, with the deepest shades at the rim. The reverse offers more dramatic sapphire and teal iridescence. Trivial softness is typical of the variety and should not be mistaken for wear. The crack on the reverse from the eagle's neck through the left wing readily identifies this as a product of the JR-8 dies, as does the "old style" lettering in the legend missing the left bases of the T's. Satiny luster adds to the overall impressive eye appeal.

This MS-65 (PCGS) CAC example is a significant highlight of our Official Auction of the 2019 Whitman Coin & Collectibles Summer Expo and should attract strong interest from advanced collectors of this series. The sale will be available for viewing and bidding on our website www.StacksBowers.com, or you may contact our offices to secure a printed catalog. To speak with a numismatic representative, please call 800-458-4646 or email Info@StacksBowers.com. Also, download our mobile app to view and participate in our auctions via your Android or Apple device.

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