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Description

Historic 1794 Dollar, VF30
The George Slawson Specimen

1794 $1 VF30 PCGS. When David Rittenhouse took over the responsibility as the Mint's first Director, he had a twofold task to accomplish. The first was to begin production of silver coins, especially silver dollars, that would compare favorably in weight to the widely circulated Spanish (Carolus) dollars. Second, the coins had to present well. The first goal was much easier to realize than the second. Adjustment marks and even silver plugs were used to make early silver dollars conform to weight specifications. How the coins appeared was a matter of considerable experimentation in the first few years and was a process that continued until the Gobrecht design was adopted and modified in the 1830s.
In part, the dollars from 1794 all show varying degrees of weakness and misalignment because they were struck on a press meant for smaller coins. This weakness was noticed at the time of issue, but attributed to shallow engraving. But the experimentation had just begun with silver dollars, and in the next year the 1795 dollars show much coarser hair and heavier design elements on the reverse.
Even though all 1794 dollars were struck from misaligned dies, obvious attention was paid to the manufacture of these coins. Of the 125+ pieces known, there are five die states. This is a Die State III piece and is characterized by light relapping of the obverse die to lessen the clash marks that apparently occurred just after the first coins were struck. This is the most frequently seen die state and Martin Logies identified 84 different specimens from this state.
Again, according to Martin Logies, this particular coin can be identified by the following pedigree markers:

"Strike weakness is most visible at the bottom of the obverse (with the numerals of the date and star one particularly weak) and the top of the reverse. There is a diagonal nick under the truncation of the bust, above the numeral 4 in the date, and there are several smaller nicks between the numerals 7 and 9. The reverse displays several significant planchet lamination defects. The most significant of these compromise the TAT in STATES (likely causing the weakness in the date), but others can be seen in the eagle's left wing (viewer's right) and just above the separation of the eagle's legs. Two small rim dents above the M and R in AMERICA, and a small pit is seen to the right of the ribbon end on the right side of the wreath."

In spite of its Mint-made defects and the few other minor flaws mentioned above, this is an original coin. The surfaces are generally light gray-golden with a darker outline of color on the reverse devices. Struck on the initial day of the production of silver coinage, October 15, 1794, this piece represents a historic relic of the United States' earliest attempt to produce large size silver coinage.
Ex: George C. Slawson (Stack's, 4/1970), lot 840; 1991 ANA (Bowers and Merena, 8/1991), lot 436.(Registry values: N10218) (NGC ID# 24WY, PCGS# 6851)

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Auction Dates
May-Jun, 2008
28th-2nd
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 7
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