1801 B-2, BB-212 Dollar, MS65+
1801 $1 MS65+ NGC. B-2, BB-212, R.3. Ex: "Col." E.H.R.
Green. This Gem specimen has a long history of great ownership,
with the "Col." E.H.R. Green-Eric P. Newman provenance prominent
among them. The lower tail feathers are indistinct, with all other
details on both sides boldly impressed. This extraordinary coin
displays blazing satin luster with delicate original champagne
toning on each side that gradually changes to deeper iridescence. A
small mark behind Liberty's eye will identify this piece in the
Finest Known of the Variety
The Finest 1801 Dollar
Provenance from 1895
Obverse Die. Four die marriages were used to strike the 1801-dated silver dollars. The obverse die of the present Newman Collection coin, the B-2, BB-212 was used in striking three different die marriages dated 1801, in this order: B-1, BB-211; B-2, BB-212; and B-3, BB-213.
Reverse Die. The reverse die for the B-1, BB-211 was only used once. The other three die marriages for 1801 dollars were all struck in 1802 or later, leaving the B-1, BB-211 as the only die pairing that might have been produced in 1801. The second marriage of the obverse die, the B-2, BB-212, was created via a new "workhorse" reverse die that would be employed to strike die pairings dated 1801, 1802/1, 1802, and 1803. This reverse die is most easily distinguished by the extremely faint 13th arrow. The leftmost arrowhead points to the left edge of the left serif in N in UNITED. The eagle's upper beak point touches down on a star point, slightly back from its extreme end. The first A touches the third feather, and a die crack connects it to the fourth.
Finding the 13th arrow is difficult, even on the Newman coin, a well-struck example graded MS65+ NGC. A good loupe reveals a partial, faint "half arrowhead" on the shaft below the top arrowhead of the third arrow (counting from the left).
Die State. Light clash marks are visible on each side of this Gem. Double clash marks indicate an intermediate die state before the obverse die was lapped.
Condition Census. The Green-Newman example of the 1801 B-2, BB-212 is the finest known for the date, better than the Amon Carter example of B-4, BB-214, and the finest known of the variety by a wide margin. Four MS63 examples are recorded as the finest examples of B-2, BB-212 in the Notable Specimens in the 2013 Encyclopedia. One of those is the Winsor-Mills specimen discussed below, and given the arbitrary grade of MS63.
Appearances. This specimen is illustrated as part of NGC's presentation of the Newman Collection at www.NGCCoin.com. Plate-matching (and Eric P. Newman's envelope) reveals that the Newman B-2, BB-212 dollar was lot 2718 in the George H. Earle sale, cataloged by Henry Chapman and sold in Philadelphia in June 1912. The obverse (only) was plated. Chapman's curt description was:
"1801 Uncirculated. Sharp, even impression. Mint lustre. A magnificent example and extremely rare in this preservation. Plate."
Further plate-matching shows the Newman coin was earlier in the Mills & Winsor sales
John G. Mills, sale, cataloged by the Chapman brothers in April 1904:
"1801 Uncirculated. Magnificent, sharp even impression. A gem of the highest class. Extremely rare in this condition. Perfection. Winsor Collection, 411. Plate IX."
The Winsor Collection was also cataloged by the Chapman brothers, the sale held in December 1895, where lot 411 bore a similar description.
Commentary. In 1800 the intrinsic value of a silver dollar began to exceed its face value. By 1801 a silver dollar was worth about $1.03 in silver. As a result, mintage of silver dollars in 1801 declined; silver dollars began to be melted or exported. There were 54,454 silver dollars struck in 1801, some likely dated 1800 or earlier. This compares to 220,920 silver dollars struck in 1800; 423,515 in 1799; and 327,536 in 1798. All of these years likely saw some backdated issues (from obverse dies bearing earlier dates). The low mintage for the 1801 dollars combined with melting and exportations led to their being considerably scarcer than those dated 1798 to 1800. In Mint State, the number of surviving 1801 silver dollars could be as low as 15 pieces.
Provenance. Ex: Richard B. Winsor (Chapman Brothers, 12/1895), lot 411; John G. Mills (Chapman Brothers, 4/1904), lot 693; George H. Earle, Jr. (Henry Chapman, 6/1912), lot 2718; Possible unknown intermediaries; "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: N14284) (NGC ID# 24XA, PCGS# 6893)
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