Obverse 1: Proof Die, Repunched 18, Partial S
Reverse A: Proof Die, Die Crack Across Lower Ribbons And Wreath, Reverse of 1870 (A)
Obverse 1 Reverse A.2
Obverse Diagnostic Point(s) Reverse Diagnostic Point(s)
Comments: Obverse 1 is the first of a group of three proof obverse dies employed during 1871 at the Philadelphia mint. This obverse exhibits strong date repunching. Bold repunching is visible above the flag of the 1 digit and above the top loop of the 8 digit. In addition, Obverse 1 can be easily diagnosed by weakness in the strike of Liberty's head including a raise metal arc at the top of the head. I have seen this obverse die characteristic on all examples of Variety 101.
Obverse 1 is paired with Reverse A, which already has an obvious die crack along the bottom of the ribbon ends and into the lower portion of the right wreath. This reverse is a left over proof reverse die from 1870. After being paired with two separate 1870 obverse dies, Reverse A is again paired with a second 1871 proof obverse die, generating additional proof and business strikes. It appears that Reverse A was designated by the Philadelphia mint as a proof reverse die during 1870 and 1871 until its final usage for business strikes in 1871. A question could be raised as to whether the 1870 and 1871 proof dimes were struck in a similar timeframe considering the reuse of the same reverse die.
A June 2006 study of the Heritage Auction Archives revealed that Variety 101 is the second rarest of the three 1871 proof varieties. Of the twenty-three Heritage 1871 proof dimes offered at auction since 2000, six (26%) were struck from Variety 101 dies.
This proof repunched date variety is also listed by Breen as BR-3354 and is included in the Top 100 Varieties set.
Plate Coin: G. Fortin Collection, NGC PF66 Cameo
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