The story of the 1804 Draped Bust Large Eagle 14 Star Reverse dime closely mirrors that of the 1804 Draped Bust Large Eagle 13 Star Reverse dime.
A single obverse die was paired with two distinct reverses to render two varieties of the 1804 Draped Bust Large Eagle dime. The varieties are easily distinguished -- one has 13 stars, while the other has 14 stars. Numismatists recognize the 1804 dime die pairs as JR-1 (13 stars) and JR-2 (14 stars).(1)
The mintage of the 1804 dime was reported as 8,265 pieces, the lowest of the Draped Bust era. Scholars have reason to believe many of the dimes delivered in September 1805 were also dated 1804, placing the actual mintage somewhere around the 17,000 level.
Mint records do not show how many of the JR-1 were struck nor the JR-2 dimes, but we know today the JR-2 (that’s the one with 14 stars) is the rarer of the two varieties.
The 14 star reverse die is considered a blunder. It should have had only 13 stars. Based on the layout pattern of the stars, we can surmise the die was engraved prior to 1799. After it was realized the die had one too many stars, it was placed into storage rather than tossed out.
Fast forward to 1804… the need for a large eagle die arose and someone remembered there was one held in reserve. It was put into service first to make $2.50 gold quarter eagles. After reconditioning, the die was given the task of striking the JR-2 dimes.
Die sharing between the quarter eagle and dime was possible because they were nearly equal in size and both featured the Large Eagle reverse (often called the “Heraldic” eagle). There was no indication of face value in the design, so that was not a problem.(2)
There were not many opportunities at the early U.S. Mint for die sharing. The only other denominations where it was feasible was with $10 gold eagles and half dollars. However, there is no evidence this die interchangeability was ever exercised.
Pricing for the 1804 dime with 14 star reverse has a volatile pricing history, but the overall trends are very favorable over the long term. That’s because informed collectors understand the desirability of this coin, providing demand that always outpaces the supply.
|Estimated survivors in all grades: 20
? 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.
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|PCGS Rarity Scale: 9.1
? 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.
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