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1795 $1 Flowing Hair, Two Leaves MS65 NGC. B-1, BB-21, R.1. One of the very finest known of this date and type. A remarkab...

2005 November Dallas, TX Signature Auction #388

 
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Auction Ended On: Nov 3, 2005
Item Activity: 8 Internet/mail/phone bidders
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Location: Dallas, TX
Description:
Sensational Gem Mint State 1795 Flowing Hair Silver Dollar
1795 $1 Flowing Hair, Two Leaves MS65 NGC. B-1, BB-21, R.1. One of the very finest known of this date and type. A remarkable coin that any numismatist will appreciate for the lustrous fields and exceptional surfaces. The strike is fairly sharp for this variety, although we note some softness on the upper curls of Liberty and on the eagle's breast feathers. There are no disturbing adjustment marks or nicks worthy of note, and it is simply amazing that any Flowing Hair silver dollar could still look this nice after 210 years. We note light gold over most of the surfaces, with darker flecks of gold adhering to the devices which seems to set them off from the brilliant fields. Both dies show minor clash marks in the fields, with the eagle's wings residing on the obverse, and portions of Liberty's curls are found left of the eagle's breast. Darker gold hues are found on the high points of the design, and these also give the present example a regal appearance. The centering is virtually perfect, and the quality of manufacture is simply as good as one could hope to find in a Flowing Hair dollar.
Recall that the new dollar coining press was set up in 1795, and the current flowing hair design required more press power than was available to really bring up all the finer details of these dies. Late in 1795 the designs of the coins were changed, not because of the striking issues, but because people didn't like the flowing hair rendering of Liberty. The design change was authorized and the Philadelphia Mint engaged the famous portrait artist Gilbert Stuart to redesign the silver dollar. Stuart's drawings of Liberty are thought to have come from a portrait of Ann Willing, a Philadelphia socialite, and one of the most beautiful women in that city. Liberty was given a hair ribbon to tie some of her hair behind her head, and draped in a lovely gown. The eagle on the reverse was framed within a wreath of palm and olive branches, and given a smaller, more compact appearance. These new designs were a hit, and were quickly adopted on all United States silver coinage (obverse and reverse) and copper coinage (reverse). After a few more years in 1798 the Small Eagle reverse design was replaced with a new reverse style which was loosely copied from the Great Seal of the United States by Mint Engraver Robert Scot. Therefore, this Flowing Hair 1795 silver dollar became a very short-lived type coin, and today remains one of the most popular of all Bust dollar designs. The free flowing hair of Liberty and the proud eagle with outstretched wings symbolize the newfound freedom enjoyed by the new United States of America, and this coin seems to capture that fleeting moment in our history when our country was yet so young. Liberty's upward gaze is filled with hope, and her youthful exuberance is wonderfully captured by the early mint engraver. For the collector, the present coin represents one of the very finest examples of this entire type to survive. Population: 7 in 65, 1 finer (10/05).
From The Jack Lee Collection, III(#6853) (Registry values: P4) (NGC ID# 24WZ, PCGS# 6853)

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