The story of the 1804 Draped Bust Large Eagle 13 Star Reverse dime closely mirrors that of the 1804 Draped Bust Large Eagle 14 Star Reverse dime.
If you ever find yourself in a busy room full of coin collectors, just speak out loud the year “1804” and watch what happens. All activity and talk will suddenly come to a screeching halt, as ears strain to hear what comes next. Very much like the old E.F. Hutton commercials.
What is so magical about 1804? That year, the United States Mint issued many coins that are today considered great rarities: The cent, the dime, the quarter, the $2.50 quarter eagle (13 Stars), and the $10.00 eagle all stir the hearts of collectors. There were no half dimes or half dollars from 1804. Only the half cent and $5.00 half eagle of that year are viewed as “common.”(1)(2)
Of course, there is the 1804 dollar, considered by many to be the most famous coin in American numismatics. Although the coin was actually struck in 1834 and later, because of the date it bears, it is closely associated with the year 1804 and has a “rising tide” effect on the scarce 1804 coins.(3)(4)
There are two varieties of the 1804 Draped Bust Large Eagle dime – one has 13 stars on the reverse, the other displays 14 stars. The same obverse was used for both. Their die varieties are known as John Reich-1 (JR-1 for short) and JR-2, respectively.(5)
According to Mint records, a total of 8,265 dimes were struck in 1804, but there is no breakdown on the mintage by variety. Some researchers contend some 1804-dated dimes were struck in 1805, bringing the true mintage of the 1804 to approximately 17,000 pieces.(6)
It probably will never be known how many 1804 dimes were produced, but there is one thing we are certain of: both varieties are extremely rare today. PCGS estimates there are only 75 survivors of the 13 star reverse. If the 14 star variety is your goal, good luck… just 20 examples are thought to exist.(7)
Fascinating Fact: The 13 Star reverse die employed to strike the JR-1 dime was also responsible for striking some of the $2.50 gold quarter eagle reverses from 1802 and 1804. This diameter similarity between the dime and quarter eagle made this cross-denomination striking feasible, and is another indication of the funding struggles of the early U.S. Mint.(8)
The price performance history of the 1804 dime with 13 star reverse has experienced wild fluctuations at times. Nevertheless, this diminutive rarity can still bring a boisterous crowd to an instant standstill when an example is put up for sale.
|Estimated survivors in all grades: 75
? The survivor estimate from PCGS represents an average of one or more experts' opinions as to how many examples survive of a particular coin in all grades. Survival estimates include coins that are raw, certified by PCGS, and certified by other grading services.
Learn more at PCGS.
|PCGS Rarity Scale: 8.2
? The 'PCGS CoinFacts Rarity Scale' assesses the relative rarity of all U.S. coins, based on estimated surviving examples. The scale runs from 1.0 to 10.0. The higher the number, the rarer the coin.
Learn more at PCGS.
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