Mintage: 1,992,500 Obverse Dies: 8 Known Working dies of 1838 through 1840 were created from the No Stars hub of 1837. Each working die had 13 individual stars hand punched resulting in variations in star placement and size. One obverse in 1838 features smaller stars from a punch intended for half dimes and is known as the Small Stars Obverse. The Stars Obverse type was struck at the Philadelphia during 1838 through 1840 and at the New Orleans mint during 1839 and 1840. For the 1838 Philadelphia date, eight different obverse dies have been identified. Many of the obverse dies are found today with important late die states where the die shows large die cracks that tranverse the obverse. The plate coin is the final die state of Obverse 2. This obverse has been paired with three different reverse dies namely, doubled reverse paired with Small Stars Obverse, vertically cracked reverse (Ahwash 3) and the present pairing. During its late die, Obverse 2 exhibits a die crack starting from the rim to the left of the date and progressing through the base and rock and finally ending at LI(B)ERTY. Dealers often refer to this obverse die state as the "unlisted" cracked obverse due to other more significantly cracked obverse dies for this date. The only reverse diagnostic is die roughness between the letters ME in DIME. Plate Coin: Fortin 104, Even Light Green and Gold Tone, Late Die State But Well Struck
Ron Guth: In 1838, 13 stars were added to the obverse of the Dime. Each star was hand-punched into the die, thus the spacing and the placement of the stars is not uniform on individual varieties. Intentional or not, one variety was created using star punches normally used on Half Dimes. Appropriately named the "Small Stars" variety, this one can be "eyeballed" because the stars are smaller and more widely spaced than on the "Large Stars" varieties. Also, the "Small Stars" variety is often found with a die crack connecting the stars on the left. The "Small Stars" variety is roughly seven times rarer than the "Large Stars" variety.
Sources and/or recommended reading:
"Walter Breen's Complete Encyclopedia of U.S. and Colonial Coins" by Walter Breen
Goldbergs 5/2011:728, $13,800
Jason Carter, sold privately in 11/2001 - Eugene H. Gardner Collection, Part IV - Heritage 10/2015:98231, $5,405