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Lot
834

1795 $1 Flowing Hair, Two Leaves MS64 NGC....

2008 February Long Beach, CA Signature Coin Auction #460

 
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Auction Ended On: Feb 14, 2008
Item Activity: 11 Internet/mail/phone bidders
4,007 page views
Location:

Long Beach Convention Center
100 S. Pine Avenue
Long Beach, CA 90802

Lot Viewing:
Room 103B,C (Tuesday Only)
Booth 400 (Wednesday - Saturday)

Auction Room:
Room 103 B,C

Description:
Choice 1795 Flowing Hair Dollar
Better B-2, BB-20, Two Leaves Variety
1795 $1 Flowing Hair, Two Leaves MS64 NGC. B-2, BB-20, R.3. The Flowing Hair, Small Eagle design was the first struck on silver coinage after the opening of First Philadelphia Mint in 1793. It was struck on half dimes, half dollars, and silver dollars, dated 1794 and 1795. The one and only 1794 dollar delivery was on October 15, 1794, and it can be presumed that the coins were struck earlier the same month. Q. David Bowers, in his 1993 silver dollar encyclopedia, suggests that the first Draped Bust dollars were delivered in October 1795. Thus, the Flowing Hair type lasted only a single year, and since it is the introductory silver dollar type, its historical importance is unquestioned.
The Flowing Hair obverse was undoubtedly based on the contemporary half cent and large cent. The Liberty cap was removed, perhaps due to its association with the increasingly radical French revolution. This left a youthful bust of Liberty facing right with unbound hair.
The reverse design also has similarities to the 1794 half cent and large cent, since those denominations display a nearly closed wreath and the legend UNITED STATES OF AMERICA along the border. The Act of April 2, 1792, which established the U.S. Mint, also indicated that silver and gold coins were to display an eagle on the reverse. The eagle displaced the central area occupied by the denomination on the half cent and cent. For the silver dollar, the denomination is only noted on the edge, which states HUNDRED CENTS ONE DOLLAR OR UNIT. This continued the tradition of Mother England, which omitted a denomination on silver and gold coins. No denomination was necessary since the bullion value and implied face value were intended to be equivalent.
Silver dollar coinage ceased mid-October 1794. This was because the existing Mint presses were unable to fully strike such a large diameter coin. The Mint focused on half dollar deliveries until May 1795, by which time a large press was operational. Deliveries of silver dollars were regular through October 1795, although the final month was probably dominated by the new Draped Bust type.
Between May and September, 17 die marriages of 1795 Flowing Hair dollars were struck. These used two different bust punches, two different wreath punches, and two different eagle punches. Bolender-2, our present variety, has a Type Two Liberty bust with a sharp bust tip. The wreath is Type One, with two leaves beneath each wing. The eagle is Type One, with six tail feathers instead of the five seen on the most familiar Type Two variety, B-1.
The first director of the Mint, noted scientist David Rittenhouse, resigned June 1795. He was replaced by Henry William DeSaussure. In his 1988 Encyclopedia, Walter Breen wrote that DeSaussure "named his two ambitions: to place gold denominations into circulation; and to improve the design of all denominations, particularly of silver coins." Artist Gilbert Stuart was conscripted to provide a drawing of Liberty, which he based on socialite Mrs. William Bingham, the former Ann Willing. John Eckstein and Chief Engraver Robert Scot developed device punches, and the Flowing Hair design became history by October 1795.
Fortunately for collectors, Mint production of 1795 Flowing Hair silver dollars was high for the era. 160,295 pieces were delivered, and several thousand are estimated to have survived. Most, however, grade between Very Good and Very Fine, and show evidence of cleaning, repairs, or retoning. Original Uncirculated Flowing Hair dollars with full mint luster are very rare, and are subject to tremendous demand from type and variety collectors.
The present remarkable near-Gem is faintly toned in sky-blue and almond-gold. Marks are minimal, and none remotely merit individual description. The satiny surfaces are generally sharply struck, with the exception of the eagle's breast, which is softly brought up. High grade Flowing Hair dollars are dominated by the comparatively common B-1 and B-5 varieties. B-2 is a scarcer marriage. Bowers (1993) estimated only four to six pieces remain in MS64 or better grades.
From The Southwest Collection.(Registry values: P4) (NGC ID# 24WZ, PCGS# 6853)

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