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1796 B-1, BB-66 Dollar, MS64
The Finest Known Example
The Bowers-Borckardt Plate Coin

1796 $1 Small Date, Small Letters MS64 NGC. B-1, BB-66, R.3. Ex: "Col." E.H.R. Green. This Choice Mint State piece is an amazing specimen with frosty mint luster and exceptional eye appeal. The strike is bold and well-centered. Both sides display original delicate blue and iridescent peripheral toning.

Obverse Die. The obverse appears only on B-1, BB-66, and it was one of the first two obverse dies actually engraved. This die and the obverse die used for B-4, BB-61, offered above, have the letter R intact. Other 1796-dated obverse dies have the lower right tail of that letter broken.

Reverse Die. This reverse is the "workhorse die" that appears on six different varieties bearing each date from 1795 to 1798, and it is easily recognized by noting a berry under the A in STATES.

Die State. Only two die states for the B-1, BB-66 die marriage are recorded, but the early die state is likely nonexistent. Scattered die rust appears above and around the date; slight evidence of die lapping occurs on the reverse, effacing some details on the lowest leaf left of the ribbon.

Condition Census. Only two examples of the Small Date, Small Letters dollar are known in Mint State today -- the present Newman Collection coin and an example of the B-2, BB-63 Small Date, Small Letters die marriage. We offered that piece, graded MS65 NGC, CAC, in our April 2013 Central States Signature sale, lot 4316, where it realized $1,175,000, a record price by far for a 1796 dollar.

The present near-Gem Newman Collection 1796 B-1, BB-66 is the only Mint State example of this die variety that we know of -- by far the finest known of the variety, and one of the two finest known 1796 Small Date, Small Letters dollars, along with the coin mentioned above.

The Newman specimen was included in the Notable Specimens of the B-1, BB-66 in the first edition of the Bowers-Borckardt reference. However, it was unaccountably excluded from the 2013 revised edition, which shows no Mint State examples in the Notable Specimens or the Condition Census. The corrected Condition Census should read 64-58-53-53-50, with the Green-Newman example standing alone as the finest known, the only Mint State B-1, BB-66 silver dollar.

Appearances. The Newman specimen is the plate coin in the 1993 first edition of the Bowers-Borckardt reference, Silver Dollars and Trade Dollars of the United States: A Complete Encyclopedia. This specimen is illustrated as part of NGC's presentation of the Newman Collection at

Commentary. The present Eric P. Newman Collection coin, certified MS64 NGC, is classed as a Small Date, Small Letters variety, one of three major Guide Book types and six known die pairings.
The year 1796 is important in Mint history as the only year from 1793 to 1848 in which every authorized U.S. coinage denomination, from half cent through eagle, was actually struck. Several issues are rarities, and Mint State examples of most denominations are highly elusive. The designs for several U.S. coin denominations were changed during the year, showing 16 obverse stars, but the 1796 silver dollar dies retained 15 stars, the dies likely engraved well before Tennessee was admitted to the Union in June. It was 1797 before silver dollars displayed 16 obverse stars. The emission sequence for the Small Eagle dollars suggests that this variety may have been struck in 1798, even though the obverse die was engraved early in 1796.

Provenance. Ex: "Colonel" E.H.R. Green; Green Estate; Partnership of Eric P. Newman / B.G. Johnson d.b.a. St. Louis Stamp & Coin Co.; Eric P. Newman @ $100.00; Eric P. Newman Numismatic Education Society.(Registry values: N10218) (NGC ID# 24X3, PCGS# 6859)

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Auction Dates
November, 2013
15th-16th Friday-Saturday
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 15
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