[The following excerpt is published courtesy of DLRC Press and its author, Brian Greer. This information was originally published in 1992 in The Complete Guide to Liberty Seated Dimes]
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No Drapery, Stars Obverse ■ Closed Bud Reverse
Stars were added to the obverse dies during 1838. All dimes struck at the Philadelphia mint during 1838 were of the new ‘No Drapery with Stars type.’ The New Orleans mint, which had already received two obverse dies dated 1838 without stars, began striking the No Drapery With Stars type in 1839. These new obverse dies were produced from the same hub that had produced the earlier ‘No Stars type’, with the stars being added to each individual die by hand. As a result, the placement of these stars often varied significantly from die to die and each obverse die can be identified. Obverse die identification is much easier on this type than for any design to follow and this has helped make No Drapery Stars Obverse dimes very popular. Further adding to the popularity of this type are the many cracked and shattered obverse and reverse dies. Several of these shattered dies are spectacular in appearance and are often collected in their various die states.
There are no rare dates in circulated condition, but there are several scarce and interesting varieties, particularly involving mintmarks. The 1839-0 and 1840-O each come with three different mintmark sizes. One rare variety, the 1839-0 “Huge O”, was created by muling an 1839-0 obverse die with an 1838-0 reverse die. It is highly sought by variety specialists.
For the Philadelphia issues, only the 1838 Small Stars can be considered scarce as a major variety. It was created by using the star punch intended for half dimes.