Ron Guth: In 1853, the weight of the Half Dimes, Dimes, Quarter Dollars and Half Dollars was reduced to reflect a rise in the price of silver. The older coins were already being destroyed in large quantities because their intrinsic value exceeded their face value. To differentiate the new coins from the old, the Mint placed arrowheads on either side of the date. This did two things: it made it easy to identify the older coins with just a glance; and it also protected the newer coins from being melted, since they were immediately identifiable as the lower-weight coins.
The mintage of the new 1853 "With Arrows" Dimes was huge (the mintage of 12 million plus coins was at least six times that of any previous mintage of a U.S. Dime). Presumably, the Mint achieved this milestone by converting old coins to new as fast as it could.
Because of the high mintage, the 1853 Dime with Arrows is a common coin in virtually all grades, especially up through MS-64. Gems are slightly scarcer, but still obtainable, and it is only in MS-67 and MS-68 that this date becomes a condition rarity. However, demand from type collectors keeps the price of this issue higher than it would be under normal circumstances.
The finest example certified by PCGS (as of April 2012) is a wonderful MS-68 that features vivid luster and intense toning on both sides (see the image of this remarkable coin above).
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