The “Orphan Annie” Dime

Why are 1844 Liberty Seated Dimes so rare, especially in higher grades? They are called “Orphan Annies” because they are said to have “lost their mates”. There are several theories about them and their rarity:

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  1. They were destroyed in the Great Chicago Fire.
  1. Seventy thousand of them were shipped west to the ‘49ers and were seized by bandits who hid the loot and then were killed before revealing their hiding place.
  1. Fifty thousand were lost at sea.
  1. They were used as love tokens by soldiers in the Mexican War.

(I like explanation #4 best. Here’s the story.)

During a Mexican War campaign, the Army paymaster requisitioned a large supply of dimes for soldiers to use as small change, which happened to be all 1844 dimes.

Upon arriving in Mexico City, some of the lovesick soldiers fashioned the dimes into bracelets to attract female companionship. Not a single 1844 dime escaped the love-starved rush.

When the soldiers went home, the senoritas kept the dime bracelets, which were eventually melted down to become Mexican coins.

Today, a Fine-12 graded 1844 dime is worth around $475. One graded Good-4 is valued at $275. Or maybe you could save a few dollars by buying a few late date 1840’s or 1850’s Mexican coins and have an 1844 Liberty Seated dime minted inside them.

Monday, August 14th, 2017 Uncategorized