1795 B-2, BB-20 Flowing Hair Dollar, MS65
1795 $1 Flowing Hair, Two Leaves, B-2, BB-20, R.3 MS65 NGC.
The 1795 B-2 dollar is a slightly scarcer die combination,
certainly harder to locate than either B-1 or B-5, the two
commonest 1795 Flowing Hair dollar varieties. Current estimates
place the total number of survivors of the B-2 variety at someplace
between 200 and 500 coins, most likely at about the midpoint of
that range. Most of the survivors fall in the Fine 15 to XF40 grade
range. Few remain in the AU grades, and Mint State examples are
very rare. Only two examples of the 1795 B-2 dollar have claims to
Gem condition: one is the George Earle-Louis Eliasberg Coin, and
the other is this piece, from the Heifetz and Cardinal Collections.
It appears that there are about eight to 10 Mint State pieces of
the variety known, including two pieces from the Lord St. Oswald
Two Leaves Reverse Type
Dave Bowers divided the coinage of 1795 Flowing Hair and Draped Bust coins into six different striking periods. He placed the B-2 dollar in the second striking period, which he suggested actually took place in 1795. Some other striking periods are known to include coins minted as late as 1798. The evidence for B-2 as part of the second period is the existence of the two St. Oswald coins, said to be acquired from the Mint in Fall 1795.
The obverse was used to produce B-2 and B-19 dollars, the latter considered unique. It is an example of the Head of '95, identified by a conspicuous loop on the base line below the shoulder, usually called a shoulder loop. It is branded with a raised diagonal bar just inside the inner point of star 4. Star 1 pierces and severs the lowest hair curl, the curl's right end appearing as a curved island in the field. Stars 12 and 13 are slightly closer than the other star pairs. The date is widely spaced with 95 slightly closer, and the 9 tipped slightly to the right.
The reverse was used to produce B-2, B-1, and B-13 dollars, apparently in that order. The reverse die was rotated clockwise about 45 degrees when this example was minted. It is a Two Leaves die with nine berries in the left branch and 10 in the right branch. The eagle has six tail feathers (some others have just five tail feathers. There are two inside berries and one outside berry below the left facing wing; three inside berries and one outside berry beneath the right facing wing. The legend has the first S slightly low, the A slightly high, and the final S slightly low. The I is distant from the eagle's wing, the T close, the E close, and the R touches.
Numerous fine die finishing lines are visible in the lower right obverse field, especially right of the neck and above the bust tip. The die has been lightly lapped, and stars 3 through 6 are weaker than the remaining stars. Bowers called these lapped stars "spidery." A fine die crack is hidden in the hair, crossing five individual stands of the top two locks. Faint clash marks appear as projections or points extending out from the hair curls. These are in the form of tiny leaf points. The reverse appears to be perfect, however, close examination shows what appears to be a short vertical die crack from the middle talon on the right, down to the ribbon knot.
Among 1795 Flowing Hair dollars with the Two Leaves reverse, this piece ranks among the finest, regardless of die variety. The cataloger for the Cardinal Collection notes that it ranks behind only the Earle-Eliasberg "presentation" piece for overall quality among coins of this type. This is an amazing coin with pristine surfaces that are marred only by a faint scratch on the obverse, in the field left of stars 12 to 14. Otherwise, there are no discernable marks on either side. Both sides are highly lustrous with full cartwheel luster and brilliant satin surfaces beneath lovely golden-brown color, hints of violet toning, and sky blue iridescence. The obverse has some light central adjustment marks across Liberty's hair that have caused some slight central weakness on the reverse. Otherwise all aspects of the strike are complete and bold, including individual details that seldom observed. For example, the stem of the leaf pair below M crosses half of the eagle's wing. Only the level of strike permitted viewing of the die crack in Liberty's hair, mentioned earlier.
Ex: Jascha Heifetz Collection (Superior, 10/1989), lot 3815; Cardinal Collection (American Numismatic Rarities, 6/2005), lot 11. (NGC ID# 8M5Y, Variety PCGS# 39985, Base PCGS# 6853)
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