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Desirable 1794 Silver Dollar, B-1, BB-1, Fine 12
Pillar of American Coinage

1794 $1 Fine 12 PCGS. B-1, BB-1, R.4. The 1794 Flowing Hair silver dollar ranks among the most desirable of all U.S. coinage issues. In fact, it ranks 20th among the 100 greatest U.S. coins according to Jeff Garrett and Ron Guth. The 1838-O half dollar is 19th and the unique 1870-S half dime is 21st, rather remarkable company to keep.
There are about 125 to 130 known 1794 silver dollars surviving, from an original mintage of 1,758 coins. Garrett and Guth write: "The story of the Silver Dollar began around 1792, when the American government deliberated its first coinage system. After careful consideration, the Silver Dollar and the Gold $10 Eagle were made the pillars of the new system, with all other denominations being either fractions or multiples of these two."
Like all silver and gold coins at the time, the individual deposits of silver were kept separate from all others while they were processed and turned into coins, eventually being returned to the depositor who, according to current law, was to receive the exact same metal deposited. That was the theory, anyway. It is believed that the real mintage of 1794 silver dollars was 2,000 coins, but 242 were rejected as unsatisfactory and held over until the initial coinage of 1795 silver dollars delivered on May 6, 1795. If that is what actually happened, then the depositor of the first silver had to wait nearly seven months to receive the last 242 dollars in coin. More likely, the 242 rejected dollars were melted and recoined into half dollars.
This is a pleasing midgrade example with a light silver obverse that exhibits hints of pale gold toning near the borders. Like most 1794 dollars, the lower left obverse is weak near the border, with the bottoms of the date and the first few stars partially incomplete. Border dentils are visible clockwise from 11 o'clock to about 6 o'clock. The reverse has wonderful deep blue and vivid gold toning in the fields; the eagle and wreath show lighter gray color. The letters in UNITED STATES are only partially visible, opposite the obverse weakness. The reverse border dentils are visible clockwise from 3 to 7 o'clock. Both sides have minor abrasions and scratches that are typical of the issue, none of any significance. Light peripheral adjustment marks are evident around part of the reverse, particularly through NITE and at M. Otherwise, this 1794 dollar is excellent quality for the grade, far finer than most .
Recorded in Jack Collins' unpublished manuscript as VG10, and by Martin A. Logies in The Flowing Hair Silver Dollars of 1794, page 178.
Ex: The Regal Collection, Part II (Stack's, 5/1956), lot 751; later, James W. Fairfield and Fairfield Rare Coins (8/1992); Bowers and Merena Galleries, offered in Rare Coin Review Number 89 and later publications (11/1992-1/1993).
From The Grand Lake Collection.
(Registry values: N7079) (NGC ID# 24WY, PCGS# 6851)

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Auction Dates
February, 2009
4th-8th Wednesday-Sunday
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 14
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