Near Condition Census 1794 B-1, BB-1 Silver Dollar, AU581794 $1 AU58 NGC. B-1, BB-1, R.4. In the Mint Act of April 2, 1792, Congress established a bimetallic coinage system based on the silver dollar and the gold eagle as the "unit" measurement against which all fractional pieces were established. However, it was some time before any silver or gold coins were struck, due to "problems." The major hurdle, often called the "Mint Impediment," was the inability of the assayer (Albion Cox) or the chief coiner (Henry Voigt) to post the $10,000 bond required by the government. Eventually, the bond was reduced to $5,000 for Voigt and $1,000 for Cox, amounts both could meet. Risk was minimized through the due diligence of Director David Rittenhouse and his officers, who only released small amounts of precious metal at one time.
All 1794 dollars, 1,758 coins delivered by the Chief Coiner, were struck from a single pair of dies. Between three and five die states of the 1794 dollars are known, depending on the source consulted. Dave Bowers records three basic die states in his Silver Dollar Encyclopedia: I. Perfect dies; II. Lightly clashed dies; III. Lapped dies. In The Flowing Hair Silver Dollars of 1794, Martin Logies described five die states: I. Perfect dies; II. Lightly clashed dies; III. Lapped obverse with clash marks still faintly visible; IV. Relapped obverse with clash marks entirely removed; V. Lapped reverse die.
With no evidence of clash marks on either side, the Queller specimen apparently represents Logies' Die State V. Based on his examination of previous catalog plates, Logies attributed this piece as Die State III. Indeed, a small surface mark below the chin that is visible in earlier plates looks nearly identical to clash marks found in the same location, until the actual coin is examined. Logies presented estimated populations for each die state as follows: Die State I: two coins; Die State II: seven coins; Die State III: 84 coins; Die State IV: 29 coins; and Die State V: three coins. The present specimen is a fourth example of the latest die state, and second best of the group.
Based on an earlier unpublished study of the date by Jack Collins, Logies records every known 1794 silver dollar, in their approximate census ranking. Due to various grading systems used at different times, it is impossible to place all known coins in their exact order. For example, the last time this coin was offered was in March 1981, long before NGC or PCGS began grading coins. It is included in Logies' book as XF45 based on the Stack's catalog grade nearly 30 years ago. Today, it deserves a rightful spot immediately behind the eight Mint State coins, placing it among the top 10 examples known.
Nicely detailed on both sides with weakness along the lower left portion of the obverse border, the result of adjustment marks in that area. A small oval mark between stars 14 and 15 helps identify the provenance. The obverse has fine adjustment marks extending in from the border by stars 1 through 7, stars 9 through 14, and at the date. Two tiny rim bruises are evident at 7 o'clock on the obverse. The devices on each side are displayed against a lustrous background of light gold and rose, with peripheral steel-gray toning. This remarkable dollar ranks about 12th finest of all known 1794s.
Ex: California State Numismatic Association Sale (Numismatic Enterprises, 10/1964), lot 937; Stack's (3/1981), lot 512.
From The Queller Family Collection of Silver Dollars.(Registry values: N14284) (NGC ID# 24WY, PCGS# 6851)
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