HomeUS Coins1797 Draped Bust Dime : A Collector's Guide

1797 Draped Bust Dime : A Collector’s Guide

The 1797 Draped Bust dime is the scarcer of the two Draped Bust, Small Eagle dimes. United States Mint records indicate that 25,261 dimes were struck in 1797, but researchers believe that some may have been struck using 1796-dated dies. The two obverse dies are identified by the number of stars appearing on the obverse. The JR-1 variety features 16 stars and was likely put in service first. The 16 stars refer to the number of states in the Union after the admission of Tennessee in June 1796.

Approximately 300 specimens survive in all varieties and in all grades.

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Market Data and Noteworthy Specimens

1797 Draped Bust Dime, 16 Stars, John Reich-1

1797 Draped Bust Dime, 16 Stars, JR-1. This example was graded MS61 by PCGS. Image: Stack's Bowers / CoinWeek.
1797 Draped Bust Dime, 16 Stars, JR-1. This example was graded MS61 by PCGS. Image: Stack’s Bowers / CoinWeek.

The JR-1 variety features 16 stars and was likely struck first. The Mint abandoned its policy of adding a star to its designs each time a new state was admitted into the Union.

All 16 Stars 1797 dimes come with weak dates due to the long die crack that runs along the lower two stars on the right and across the bottom of Liberty’s bust, just above the date.

In terminal die state, the date is practically gone, along with final S in STATES. This die crack is similar to the die crack found on the 1797 Bass Dannreuther-1 quarter eagle. It’s likely that the die steel was defective.

The 16 Star variety is more prevalent than the 13 Star variety. The two varieties do not share the same reverse die.

In their Bust Dime Variety Attribution Guide (2015), authors Winston Zack, Louis Scuderi, and Michael Sherrill account for only six or so examples in Mint State. In late die state, the 1797 Draped Bust dime with 16 Stars is quite rare, with only seven to 10 examples known. Rarity 4.

Top Population: PCGS MS66 (2, 3/2024). NGC MS66 (1, 3/2024). CAC MS66 (1:0 stickered:graded, 3/2024).

  • PCGS MS66 #11398218: “Lorin G. Parmelee Collection”, New York Coin and Stamp Company, June 1890, Lot 744; “The Milton A. Holmes Collection”, October 1960, Lot 2675; “The James A. Stack Collection”, Stack’s, January 1990, Lot 3; Jay Parrino; The Knoxville Collection; “The D. Brent Pogue Family Collection, Part I”, Stack’s Bowers / Sotheby’s, May 2015, Lot 1035 – $199,750. Attractively toned in grey, periwinkle, orange, and blue.
  • PCGS MS65 #13437010: “The Adolphe Menjou Collection”, Numismatic Gallery, June 1950, Lot 145; John Jay Pittman; As “Very Choice Uncirculated, a virtual Gem”. “The John Jay Pittman Collection”, David Akers, October 1997, Lot 533; Graded NGC MS66. As PCGS MS65 #13437010. Heritage Auctions, January 10, 2013, Lot 5576 – $99,875. Liberty Collection on insert.
  • PCGS MS64 CAC #25362293: As Heritage Auctions, January 6, 2011, Lot 5473 –$40,250; Legend Rare Coin Auctions, December 17, 2015, Lot 126 – Passed. Attractive toning on both sides. Green, orange, and grey toning on the obverse. Cobalt, aubergine, and green toning on the reverse.
  • NGC MS63 #3604300-002: “The Hamilton Collection, GreatCollections, May 25, 2014; Stack’s Bowers, March 30, 2017, Lot 3034 – $28,000 Reserve Not Met; Stack’s Bowers, August 3, 2017, Lot 2057 – $35,250. Certification number no longer active. 
  • NGC MS63: Dawson; Heritage Auctions, September 25, 1998, Lot 6578 – $8,050.
  • PCGS MS62 #34969490: Stack’s Bowers, August 15, 2018, Lot 1107 – $27,000 Reserve Not Met. Pleasing cobalt toning. Certification number no longer active. 
  • PCGS MS62 CAC #90020614: “The Robert Michael Prescott Collection”, Stack’s Bowers, January 3, 2006, Lot 242 – $23,000; Stack’s Bowers, July 30, 2009, Lot 295 – Passed; Heritage Auctions, August 3, 2012, Lot 5081 – $38,187.50. CAC added; Stack’s Bowers, March 2, 2010, Lot 628 – Passed; “The Jim O’Neal Collection of U.S. Type, Part One”, Heritage Auctions, April 24, 2014, Lot 5560 – $35,250; Heritage Auctions, December 4, 2014, Lot 3502 – $31,725; Legend Rare Coin Auctions,  May 18, 2017, Lot 173 – $27,000. Faint gold hue with wisps of blue toning. Dark spot to the left of Liberty’s bow. Certification number no longer active. 
  • PCGS MS62 #25003992: Heritage Auctions, January 5, 2017, Lot 5573 – $54,050.
  • PCGS MS62 #50004407: “The Empire State Collection”, Stack’s, January 1997, Lot 507; “The Eugene H. Gardner Collection, Part II”, Heritage Auctions, October 27, 2014, Lot 98223 – $41,125; Heritage Auctions, August 10, 2016, Lot 4004 – $27,025. Certification number no longer active. Darkly toned.
The R.L. Miles, Jr. 1797 Draped Bust dime appeared as lot 1126 in Stack's section of Auction '80, where it was described as "Choice Brilliant Uncirculated" and "one of the finest known".
The R.L. Miles, Jr. 1797 Draped Bust dime appeared as lot 1126 in Stack’s section of Auction ’80, where it was described as “Choice Brilliant Uncirculated” and “one of the finest known”.
  • NGC MS62 #3122634-010: “R.L. Miles, Jr. Collection”, Stack’s, April 1969; Stack’s, August 1980, Lot 1126; “Ed Price Collection”, Heritage Auctions, July 31, 2008, Lot 1415 – $37,375.
  • PCGS MS61 #29542271: Stack’s Bowers, August 11, 2016, Lot 3062 – $28,200. Certification number no longer active. 
  • NGC MS61 #406760-001: Heritage Auctions, January 10, 2013, Lot 5575 – $24,675. Certification number no longer active. 

1797 Draped Bust Dime, 13 Stars, John Reich-2

1797 Draped Bust Dime, 13 Stars, JR-2. This example was graded MS64 by NGC. Image: Stack's Bowers.
1797 Draped Bust Dime, 13 Stars, JR-2. This example was graded MS64 by NGC. Image: Stack’s Bowers.

1797: John Reich-2. Scarcer than JR-1. 13 Stars. Same reverse as JR-1. Likely struck after JR-1, as the Mint abandoned its policy of adding stars when new states were admitted into the union.

Top Population: PCGS MS64 (2, 3/2024). NGC MS64 (1, 3/2024). CAC MS62 (1:0 stickered:graded, 3/2024).

  • NGC MS64 #4440855-038: Abe Kosoff, August 1968, Lot 1374 – $1,704.35; Lyn Knight, June 2017, Lot 10039; Stack’s Bowers, November 9, 2017, Lot 10032 – $78,000. Purple and orange toning on both sides.
  • PCGS MS64 #06936151: Thomas Cleneay, before 1887; “The Thomas Cleneay Collection, December 1890, Lot 1470; unknown intermediary to William Cutler Atwater; “The William Cutler Atwater Collection”, June 1946, Lot 888; Lester Merkin, April 1966, Lot 89 – $7,250; “The Charles Kahn Collection”, Stack’s, October 1980, Lot 564; Allen F. Lovejoy Collection. As NGC MS64.”The Allen F. Lovejoy Collection of United States Dimes”, Stack’s, October 1990, Lot 9 – $26,000; Rarcoa and David W. Akers, Inc, November 1995, Lot 2005; Larry Whitlow to Ed Price, by private treaty sale; As NGC MS65 #3122634-011. “The Ed Price Collection”, Heritage Auctions, July 31, 2008, Lot 1416 – $402,500; “The D. Brent Pogue Family Collection, Part I”, Stack’s Bowers / Sotheby’s, May 2015, Lot 1036 – $176,250. Pedigree research by Stack’s Bowers. Likely the finest known. Attractive gold, orange, and purple toning on both sides. 
  • PCGS MS62 #83600504: Heritage Auctions, June 8, 2017, Lot 3593 – $51,700. Tiny tick to the left of star 9. Tick above the ribbon in Liberty’s hair. Thin diagonal dark mark underneath the ribbon in Liberty’s hair.
  • PCGS MS62+ #38759827: As PCGS MS61. “The William H. LaBelle, Sr. Collection”, Stack’s Bowers, July 25, 2005, Lot 979 – $27,600. Upgraded 1.5 points. Imaged at PCGS CoinFacts. Toned. Two small dots to the right of Liberty’s forehead. indention in front of Liberty’s nose. Dark spot on rock below eagle’s talon.
  • PCGS AU55 CAC #10174615: Stack’s Bowers, August 16, 2023, Lot 5025 – View.

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Coin Specifications

Country: United States of America
Year Of Issue: 1797
Denomination: Ten Cents (USD)
Mint Mark: None (Philadelphia)
Mintage: 25,261 Reported, likely fewer with 1797 dies
Alloy: .8924 Silver, .1076 Copper
Weight: 2.70 g
Diameter: 19.00 mm
Edge: Reeded
OBV Designer: Robert Scot
REV Designer: Robert Scot (engraver)
Quality: Business Strike

 

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CoinWeek Notes
CoinWeek Notes
CoinWeek Notes presents expert analysis and insights from Charles Morgan and Hubert Walker, the award-winning editors of CoinWeek.com.

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