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There is only one example known of the 1873-CC dime with no arrows on either side of the date. The exact circumstances surrounding the production of this issue are unknown, but mint records indicate that 12,400 pieces were struck. Presumably all were melted and converted to Arrows dimes with the exception of a few saved for assay purposes. The theory is that this single coin was saved from the destructive testing done by the Assay Commission. Probably one of the assay members was able to trade it for face value at the time by merely exchanging another dime for it. It was apparently kept in the Mint collection for several decades where it was well preserved, not appearing again for 36 years. In 1909, Philadelphia dealers John Haseltine and Stephen Nagy sold a pair of 1877 gold half union patterns for the unprecedented price of $10,000 each. The buyer was future Secretary of the Treasury, William Woodin.
A short paragraph from the Bower's Eliasberg catalog describes what happened next: 'A furor arose, and it was said that the pair of $50 gold patterns never should have left the Mint. The two pieces were returned to the Mint by exchange, in which 'several crates' of coins--thousands totally, primarily patterns, but possibly including some other issues as well--were given to Haseltine and Nagy by Mint officials. What a treasure trove this was!' The No Arrows '73-CC was apparently a part of this momentous trade and Woodin was the first owner of record of this important rarity. The coin was exhibited at the 1914 ANS Exhibit in the Spring of that year, and over the next several decades passed through the collections of several noted collectors. Charles Williams owned the coin and consigned it along with several other notable rarities (including a Class I 1804 dollar) to the auction of Adolph Menjou's collection. Kosoff (who cataloged the sale) knew the coin was rare, but did not have a full appreciation of its true status as a unique item. Apparently dealer James Kelly had a more complete appreciation of its rarity, as did Louis Eliasberg. Both men wanted the coin and both were prepared to pay top dollar to buy it at the Menjou Sale. Eliasberg had flown in from Baltimore specifically to buy two coins: the 1853-O No Arrows half dollar and the 1873-CC No Arrows dime. The half dollar he purchased for $890, but when it came time to sell the dime the competition was much stronger. Years later Kosoff wrote that Jim Kelly 'had hypnotized himself into a state of conviction that here was a coin that was worth any price. Opening at $1,100 Eliasberg stayed in the bidding until he was convinced that Kelly had no limit, and he allowed Kelly to purchase the piece for $3,650. Several weeks later, on November 7, Kelly and Sol Kaplan sold the dime to Eliasberg as the final piece needed in his complete set of U.S. coinage. The coin remained in the Eliasberg Collection until sold by Bowers in May, 1996 for $550,000. The buyer from the Eliasberg Sale was noted collector Waldo Bolen. Bolen had already spent years assembling a collection of dimes--a complete set of every dime produced by the U.S. Mint, except for the unique 1873-CC No Arrows. He then sold his dimes at auction. When the 1873-CC finally came on the market, he purchased it, just for the pleasure of knowing that he had owned every U.S. dime. Bolen became so enamored of the issue that he decided to build a complete 11-piece 1873-CC set around the linchpin No Arrows dime.
Description and Analysis courtesy of Heritage Auctions and may not be republished without written permission.
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