1838 10C No Drapery, Small Stars MS65 Certification #06617304, PCGS #4569
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.
Plate Coin: Condition Census Gem
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