New York Americana: An Incredible Gem Mint State 1844 Seated Dime
In our upcoming January 26-27, 2011 New York Americana Sale there is an incredible Gem Mint State 1844 Seated dime. Bright silver and satiny, the surfaces are a delight, virtually free of bagmarks or handling issues normally found on a coin from this era. While most Philadelphia Mint dimes from this period are obtainable in Mint State for a price, 1844 is a low mintage date, with a mere 72,500 pieces produced and accounted for in Mint ledgers.
Virtually all entered circulation unnoticed, as the Seated Liberty design continued unchanged from 1839. The economy was a mess so few were saved by collectors of the day and the general events of 1844 left little reason to set aside a rather valuable silver dime that could be far more useful in procuring needed goods for survival than as a memento in a box of small change.
As date collectors can attest, finding a wholesome 1844 dime in any grade is a challenge. The populations of PCGS and NGC combined tally a few hundred certified, most in low to middle circulated grades. Certainly others exist in albums but not too many. Hence, collectors have always sought out this particular low mintage date for their collections. Impressive examples are few and far between and always disappear quickly from the market.
One other fact surrounds this particular date, due to the low mintage, a couple of collectors over the generations have hoarded all the examples they could find. One such hoarder was Frank C. Ross, who named this issue “The Little Orphan Annie” after the popular comic strip of the 1930s and 40s, applying the tried and true selling technique of imparting a story to make these even more desirable. The result of Ross’s efforts probably allowed him to sell his modest hoard of 1844 dimes for a profit. Other hoards have since been dispersed and found their way back into numismatic date collections. Historically, these modest hoards contain a dozen or more examples, all circulated and generally in grades of Good to Very Good.
Of course with so few Mint State examples of this date, hoards did not include such a lofty and desirable coin as this Gem specimen. In the most recent generation of collectors, the strongest desire is to obtain the finest quality available. Relentless pressure builds on all Condition Census coins offered as specialists build memorable collections by obtaining such stellar examples. When a classic rarity such as this appears on the market, expect well-deserved attention and a strong price, for such quality is irreplaceable, and this Gem will please even the most advanced connoisseur.