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    1794 Flowing Hair Dollar, Fine 12
    Rare First U.S. Silver Dollar
    B-1, BB-1, Only Dies for the Date

    1794 $1 B-1, BB-1, R.4, Fine 12 PCGS Secure. Bowers-Borckardt Die State III. After some protracted legal and financial issues were resolved, involving the exorbitant bonds required before key Mint personnel could work with precious metals, a meager mintage of 1,758 Flowing Hair silver dollars was accomplished in 1794. Actually, a somewhat larger total was originally produced but several hundred coins were found unfit for issue and were melted, to be recoined the following year. It seems the largest coin press the Mint had available in 1794 was incapable of striking such large silver coins in large quantities. In addition, the dies became misaligned after the first few coins were struck, causing almost all 1794 dollars to show incomplete detail on the date and stars on the left, and on the corresponding area on the reverse. The limited mintage of acceptable coins was released into circulation, to be met with mixed reviews in the press. It was decided to delay any more coinage of silver dollars until the following year, when a larger, more powerful screw press could be built.

    The 1794 Flowing Hair dollars have been favorites of coin collectors since the earliest days of the hobby. An example was offered in lot 22, no. 4 of the Dr. Lewis Roper Sale (Moses Thomas & Sons, 2/1851), the first large coin auction held in this country. That coin, which was offered together with a half dollar of the same date, reportedly sold to Joseph Mickley for just $.67. Perhaps the price was not accurately recorded by Richard W. Davids, who annotated his copy of the sale. No such bargains are available today, as even well-worn coins are six-figure items. Recently, the finest known SP66 specimen sold for $10 million, a record price for any American coin.

    The coin offered here displays pleasing silver-gray surfaces with highlights of lavender and blue-steel toning. The usual softness shows on the date and lefthand stars, but all stars and numerals remain visible on close inspection. A number of minor rim bruises are evident, both obverse and reverse, but the surfaces are lightly abraded, with two shallow scratches in the right obverse field the only marks of note. A few planchet adjustment marks are visible through the ES in STATES and another from the eagle's neck to the right (facing) wing. Altogether, this coin is an attractive example of this most important historic issue. Population: 10 in 12, 69 finer (3/15).
    Ex: Pre-Long Beach Sale (Ira and Larry Goldberg, 9/2004), lot 887. (NGC ID# 24WY, Variety PCGS# 39972, Base PCGS# 6851)

    Weight: 26.96 grams

    Metal: 89.24% Silver, 10.76% Copper

    Learn more at the Newman Numismatic Portal at Washington University in St. Louis.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    April, 2015
    22nd-26th Wednesday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 25
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,850

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