Obverse Dies: 4 Known
Four obverse dies and potentially five reverse dies have been identified for 1842 New Orleans coinage. The key diagnostic point for Obverse 4 is the die gouge to the left of Liberty's index finger. Tim Cook pointed out the possibility of using this die gouge as an attribution point around 1998. The date placement on Obverse 4 is very similar to Obverse 3, so the die gouge marker is very useful and recommended given the additional die states of this obverse die. Obverse 4 also exhibits a large die blob defect in the right field between Liberty's knee and Star 12. Reverse E features a Medium O mintmark that is positioned right and high. Faint die cracks are just beginning to emerge on the plate coin. I have seen another earlier die state example with no reverse cracks. Both the obverse and reverse are well struck during this die state, unfortunately this does not last long as the dies are polished and subsequently degrade.
Plate Coin: Fortin 105, Medium O, Even Silver Gray Obverse With Light Rose Reverse Toning, Second Finest Graded at PCGS, Well Struck for 1842 O Mint
The 1842-O Dime is a surprising coin simply because it has a relatively large mintage for the early 1840s, yet it is a very rare and desirable coin in high grade. For instance, in MS63, the PCGS Price Guide shows the 1842-O valued at nearly ten times that of the 1842 (which has a lower mintage). This is because very few nice examples of the 1842-O Dime were saved by collectors, few of whom lived in or around New Orleans. Thus, finding a Mint State example of this date is quite a challenge. Then, trying to find a Gem example is like searching for a hen's tooth. Not undexpectedly, the price record for this date was set by one of the extremely rare PCGS MS65's sold by Heritage in 2010.
The strike quality for this date is inconsistent, though most examples show some weakness on the bow and ribbon on the reverse.
Gerry Fortin identified seven different die varieties for this date, including some with Small or Medium-sized mintamrks.
Heritage 8/2010:3082 (as PCGS MS65 12841405), $25,300