1799 B-5, BB-157 Silver Dollar, MS67
1799 $1 7x6 Stars MS67 NGC. B-5, BB-157, R.2. Ex: "Col."
E.H.R. Green. The Green-Newman example is the finest known 1799
B-5, BB-157 die marriage, the finest known 1799-dated dollar (for
those collecting by date and major type), and the finest known of
any Draped Bust, Heraldic Eagle silver dollar dated 1798 to 1803.
It is tied with a 1795 Draped Bust, Small Eagle dollar for the
finest known early dollar of any kind dated 1794 to 1803.
The Finest Heraldic Eagle Silver Dollar
This amazing Superb Gem exhibits a bold, complete strike that is truly remarkable for its exceptional detail. Brilliant satin mint luster appears beneath delicate original champagne toning, complementing peripheral accents of blue, violet, and rose over virtually flawless surfaces. The opportunity to bid on and acquire the finest existing Heraldic Eagle silver dollar will likely not present itself again anytime soon, once this piece crosses the auction block.
Obverse Die. The 1799-dated obverse that struck the B-5 marriage was another "workhorse die," one used with six different reverse dies, in order, for B-7, BB-156; B-5, BB-157; B-11, BB-161; B-6, BB-162; B-10, BB-163; and B-17, BB-164.
Reverse Die. The reverse die was only used for this single B-5, BB-157 die marriage. The U in UNITED is imperfect at the upper left, similar to several other reverse dies that were engraved with the same punch and likely about the same time.
Die State. The obverse shows remnants of clash marks at the tops of 99, and a hairline crack in the upper fold of the drapery. An additional delicate die crack appears along the border, to the right of the bust point and star 13. Both die cracks appear in the photo of the second-finest Boston specimen, although Bowers states that no die cracks were seen on the obverse in this early die marriage. Delicate die lines are evident under magnification.
A reverse crack begins at the border below the branch stem and runs clockwise through the eagle's tail, continuing through UNITED and STATES. Another crack runs from the base of AT through the clouds to the right (facing) wing, continuing through AMER. Another crack starts at cloud 8 and extends through the right (facing) wing below the second die crack. The cracks equate to Die State III in the Bowers silver dollar reference.
Condition Census. This 1799 B-5a, BB-157 dollar from the Newman Collection is the only Heraldic Eagle silver dollar of any variety certified MS67. The only other MS67 early dollar of any type is an NGC-certified example of the 1795 Draped Bust, Small Eagle silver dollar. NGC has only certified four dozen early dollars in MS65 or finer grades, attesting to the rarity of high-quality examples of the series. The connoisseur who seeks an amazing early dollar with a wonderful provenance back to "Col." E.H.R. Green will want to bid accordingly.
Prior to the certification of this specimen from the Eric P. Newman Collection, the finest known 1799 B-5, BB-157 silver dollar was the so-called "Boston specimen" in MS66 PCGS that we handled in our FUN Signature sale (Heritage, January 2012), lot 3292, which brought $260,015. That piece exhibits similar sharp details, toning, and luster, with just a few more surface marks than the present specimen. The old thumbprint that appears on the Boston example will differentiate it from the Newman coin. The next finest 1799 B-5 silver dollar is the MS64 NGC Eliasberg coin. Unlike the Boston dollar and the Eliasberg coin, both appearing in multiple auctions over the past two decades, the Newman specimen has been hidden away for more than three-quarters of a century since the 1936 death of "Ned" Green.
Appearances. This specimen is illustrated as part of NGC's presentation of the Newman Collection at www.NGCCoin.com.
Commentary. For coins dated 1799, the Philadelphia Mint produced large cents (rare), silver dollars (common), half eagles (scarce), and eagles (common). Silver dollar production totaled a generous quantity of 423,515 pieces, according to Mint records. Additional 1799-dated pieces were likely struck in 1800.
Analyzing the Notable Specimens listings in the Bowers 2013 silver dollar book will prove instructive to explain the high-grade rarity of all Draped Bust, Heraldic Eagle silver dollars. There are 84 different die marriages for the type, and the following listing identifies the grade of the finest known example of each variety, with specimens from the Eric P. Newman Collection identified in bold type:
Finest known grades VF20: 1798 B-18.
Finest known grades AU50 to AU58: 1798 B-5, B-7, B-11, B-17, B-20, B-30, B-31, B-33; 1799 B-4, B-13, B-22; 1800 B-1, B-2, B-5, B-15, B-20; 1802/1 B-1, B-9; 1802 B-5; 1803 B-1.
Finest known grades MS60 to MS63: 1798 B-3, B-4, B-6, B-9, B-10, B-13, B-14, B-15, B-16, B-19, B-21, B-22, B-25, B-26, B-29, B-32; 1799 B-7, B-14, B-18, B-19, B-21; 1800 B-3, B-4, B-11, B-12, B-17; 1801 B-1, B-3; 1802/1 B-4; 1803 B-3, B-5.
Finest known grades MS64: 1798 B-8, B-12, B-24, B-27, B-28; 1799/8 B-2, B-3; 1799 B-6, B-8, B-10, B-15, B-16, B-23; 1800 B-8, B-10; 1802/1 B-2; 1803 B-4.
Finest known grades MS65: 1798 B-23; 1799/8 B-1; 1799 B-9, B-12, B-17; 1800 B-13, B-14, B-19; 1801 B-2, B-4; 1802/1 B-3; 1802 B-6; 1803 B-6.
Finest known grades MS66: 1799 B-11.
Finest known grades MS67: 1799 B-5.
No Draped Bust, Heraldic Eagle silver dollars finer than MS66 were listed in the Notable Specimens of the Bowers Encyclopedia.
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 @ $30.00; Eric P. Newman Numismatic Education Society.(Registry values: N19439) (NGC ID# 24X7, PCGS# 6878)
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