1853 10C Arrows MS66 Certification #21012267, PCGS #4603
Unhubbed Date Obverse Dies: 24
Known Hubbed Date Obverse Dies: 15+ Known
Arrows were added to Seated dimes in 1853 to reflect a weight change to 2.48 grams, down from 2.67 grams. Breen indicates that about 50 pairs of dies were prepared for the Philadelphia mint. Lengthy research of this date has revealed 39 different obverse dies of which 15 have hubbed dates and arrows. The 1853 With Arrow Philadelphia dies saw extensive usage based on the amount of varieties with significant shattering of dies and late die states with retained cuds.
After researching the 1853 With Arrows Seated dimes for many years, it became obvious that a portion of that year''s Philadelphia mintage was accomplished with working dies prepared from a working hub die that had hubbed dates and arrows. On these dimes, there is no movement in the date and arrows devices.
Plate Coin: Fortin 119, Frosty White with a Superb Strike, All Details and Devices Fully Struck, Large Rim Cud from 6:00 - 7:00
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).