1803 B-4, BB-254 Dollar, MS63+
1803 $1 Small 3 MS63+ NGC. CAC. B-4, BB-254, R.3. Ex: "Col."
E.H.R. Green. This coin is top-notch, one of the most appealing of
all the incredible early dollars in the Eric P. Newman Collection.
Both sides display frosty silver luster that shines through
original light gold toning. Splashes of blue and amber frame the
Outstanding Original Example
Obverse Die. The B-4, BB-254 Small 3 obverse shows star 7 noticeably farther from the L than star 8 is from the Y.
Reverse Die. The reverse shows the top of the eagle's beak chomping down on a star point at its tip.
Die State. The Eric P. Newman specimen shows perfect dies with no clash marks, cracks, or lapping, the only known die state for the variety.
Condition Census. The Newman Collection B-4, BB-254, graded MS63+ by NGC and with the CAC approval, just misses the top of the Condition Census. There are two MS64 examples identified, and they may be only slightly finer than the outstanding and original Newman example. There are just five known Mint State examples of this die marriage.
Appearances. This specimen is illustrated as part of NGC's presentation of the Newman Collection at www.NGCCoin.com.
Commentary. The silver dollars dated 1803 were the last regular-issue coins of the denomination that the U.S. Mint struck until the so-called "Gobrecht" dollars debuted in 1836. The bullion value of each dollar exceeded the face value by a few cents, resulting in many U.S. silver dollars being exported or melted (or both).
Two major types of 1803 dollars are identified in the Guide Book, the Large 3 and Small 3 (which early dollar expert and author Milferd H. Bolender called "Thin Top 3"). Guide Book collectors will want both of the two major types, and the Newman Collection offers splendid Mint State examples of each.
Variety specialists will want five different die combinations, four for the Small 3 -- B-1, BB-231; B-5, BB-252; B-4, BB-254; and B-3, BB-256 -- and the sole Large 3 combination, B-6, BB-255. (Most specialists believe that the Small 3 B-2, BB-253 does not exist.)
Like the 1802/1 silver dollars which had five different obverse dies used in striking five different die marriages, the four 1803 Large 3 die marriages were struck with four different obverse dies, each used only once. With the exception of the B-3, BB-256 -- where the reverse die was used solely in that pairing -- the other three Small 3 die marriages were mated to reverse dies that had been used to strike numerous other die marriages.
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 @ $60.00; Eric P. Newman Numismatic Education Society.(Registry values: N7079) (NGC ID# 24XD, PCGS# 6900)
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