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1849 Liberty Seated Dime Proof : A Collector’s Guide

1849 Liberty Seated Dime Proof. Image: Stack's Bowers / CoinWeek.
1849 Liberty Seated Dime Proof. Image: Stack’s Bowers / CoinWeek.

By Charles Morgan and Hubert Walker for CoinWeek Notes …..
 

Fortin-107. Rarity-7+. The Philadelphia Mint struck 839,000 Liberty Seated Dimes for circulation plus a handful of Proofs. The total Proof mintage can only be estimated, but it is believed that no more than 10 were struck of those possible 10, only four are known – each is, or has been, connected to a major collector.

When researching past scholarship on this issue, we run into a confusing narrative published by numismatist Walter Breen:

“Dime. Normal date. (1) Wolfson:564, possible ex Parmelee:1023? (2) Dr. Green:1183, not choice . (3) Norweb, rev.unc., probably ex Cleneay:1559.

“- 1849/48. The 1848 date slanting down, clear, the 1849 level. J.C. Morgenthau 1/43:443, Phila. Estate. The “normal date” coins must be rechecked. Not to be confused with the heavy 9 with knob touching loop; traces of 8 are plain.”

Breen’s claim of an overdate does not bear out. Researchers have also observed that the Mint did not repurpose dime obverse dies during this period. Instead, what has been observed is a small impression of a repunched date, which series expert Gerry Fortin says on his reference website is visible in the lower loop of the “9”.

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1849 Liberty Seated Dime Proof Market Data and Noteworthy Specimens

Based solely on the available auction data, four verified coins have been certified by the leading grading services. Two are tied at PCGS PR66, while the third PCGS coin was graded PR64. The only coin certified by NGC is graded PF65. The PCGS population report now enumerates three coins at the Proof 66 level. Has the NGC PF65 been crossed and upgraded?

Top Population: PCGS PR66 (3, 7/2024), NGC PF65 (1, 7/2024), and CAC PR66 (2:0 stickered:graded, 7/2024).

Example #1: The J.C. Morgenthau Coin

Example #1: PCGS PR66. Image: PCGS.
  • PCGS PR66 #45313111: As Brilliant Proof. J.C. Morgenthau, January 1943, Lot 443 – $26; Floyd T. Starr; “The Floyd T. Starr Collection,” As Gem Brilliant Proof. Stack’s, October 1992, Lot 366; Unknown Intermediaries;  Stack’s Bowers, August 15, 2018, Lot 1115 – $49,000 Reserve Not Met; As PCGS PR66 #4120562.Stack’s Bowers, June 14, 2022, Lot 1249 – $69,000. Darkly toned. Light reveals toning in red, violet, blue, and green. Reverse is more dominated by blue and violet.

When this coin was sold by Stack’s Bowers at the company’s June 2022 auction, the coin was housed in a PCGS Generation 3.0 holder, meaning the coin earned the PR66 grade between 1990 and 1993. At the present, the coin is housed in a current generation holder (cert. #45313111) and is the plate coin for the issue on PCGS CoinFacts. This coin was previously listed for sale on Heritage’s website with an asking price of $103,425.

Example #2: The James A. Stack Coin

Example #2. PCGS PR66. Image: PCGS.
  • PCGS PR66: “The James A. Stack, Sr. Collection,” Stack’s, January 1990, Lot 86. As NGC PF66 #1898957-032. “The Phil Kaufman Collection of Early Seated Proof Sets, Part III,” Heritage Auctions, April 2008, Lot 2389 – $63,250. P. KAUFMANN on insert; “The Greensboro Collection, Part I,” October 2012, Lot 3948 – $41,125. Re-encapsulated. Pedigree removed; Bill Nagle to Eugene H. Gardner, via sale, October 2012; “The Eugene H. Gardner Collection,” Heritage Auctions, June 2014, Lot 30289 – $32,900.

Example #3: The Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr. Coin

Example #3. PCGS PR65. Image: PCGS.
  • NGC PF65 #601563-005: “The Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr. Collection,” Bowers and Merena, May 1996, Lot 1137. ELIASBERG on insert; “The Lark Collection,” Heritage Auctions, March 2006, Lot 458 – $25,300; Heritage Auctions, August 2013, Lot 5562. Darkly toned. with mottled cognac and turquoise toning on the obverse. Mostly cognac toning on the reverse.

Example #4: The John Jay Pittman Coin

Example #4: PCGS PR64. Image: PCGS.
  • PCGS PR64 #06666843: Hollinbeck Stamp & Coin Co., Lot 130; “The John Jay Pittman Collection, Part I,” David W. Akers, October 1997, Lot 602 – $17,600; “The Richmond Collection, Part III,” David Lawrence Rare Coins, March 2005, lot 1243 – $22,425; Heritage Auctions, June 2005, Lot 5378; Bob R. Simpson; Legend Rare Coin Auctions, July 2014, Lot 71 – $28,200; Heritage Auctions, January 2015, Lot 4070 – $21,150.

Designer

Born in 1785, Christian Gobrecht began working for the United States Mint in 1823 and became the Mint’s third Chief Engraver in 1840. He served in that position until he died in 1844. Gobrecht designed the Flying Eagle Cent (1857-1858), Seated Liberty type coins, and the Liberty Head Quarter Eagle gold coin (1840-1907). As a tinkerer, he invented a medal-ruling machine, created musical instruments, and developed a camera lucida, which projected images onto pieces of paper.

1849 Liberty Seated Dime Proof Specifications

Country: United States of America
Year of Issue: 1849
Denomination: 10 Cents (USD)
Mintmark: None (Philadelphia)
Mintage: 4 known
Alloy: 90% Silver, 10% Copper
Weight: 2.67 g
Diameter: 17.90 mm
Edge: Reeded
OBV Designer: Christian Gobrecht
REV Designer: Christian Gobrecht
Quality: Proof

 

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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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