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    Description

    1794 B-1, BB-11 Silver Dollar, XF40
    Our First Silver Coinage

    1794 $1 B-1, BB-1, R.4, XF40 PCGS. CAC. Following passage of the Mint Act of 1792, George Washington appointed David Rittenhouse as the first Director of the Mint, and Rittenhouse accepted the appointment. He immediately began arranging for suitable physical facilities to house the new government agency, and he also began assembling his staff of mint officers. Neither task was easily accomplished.

    The Mint Act specified coinage in copper, silver, and gold, with denominations ranging from the half cent to the ten dollar gold eagle. Due to the expected quantities of gold and silver that would be handled during the course of business, Congress specified that the Assayer and the Chief Coiner should each post a bond in the amount of $10,000, a sizeable sum in the early 1790s, equal to nearly seven years' salary for each of those officers. Albion Cox was hired as the Assayer, and Henry Voigt was hired as the Chief Coiner. Neither individual was able to fulfil the bond requirement. As part of his February 8, 1794 communication to Congress, Rittenhouse wrote:

    "If it shall be thought proper to allow a refiner for the mint, I beg leave to suggest the propriety of authorizing the President to direct security to be taken to such amount as he shall judge proper; it being well known that a man's ability to give security depends much on accidental circumstances, little connected with either his qualifications or his moral character."


    On March 3, 1794, Congress passed additional legislation that lowered the bond requirement to $1,000 for the Assayer, and $5,000 for the Chief Coiner. Cox and Voigt were able to meet these new requirements, and all was finally set for the coinage of precious metals. Silver dollars were minted first, with the entire 1794 production of 1,758 coins delivered from the Coiner to the Mint Treasurer on October 15. Six weeks later, 5,300 half dollars were delivered on December 1, 1794. Additional silver coins were minted throughout the first seven months of 1795 and beyond, and the first gold coins (half eagles) were delivered on July 31, 1795. With the coinage of dimes in January 1796, and quarters three months later, all denominations specified in the April 1792 Mint Act were finally in production after four years.

    In his survey of 1794 silver dollars, Martin Logies enumerated 134 surviving examples, and we know of two new examples that were not recorded in his reference, bringing the total to 136 pieces, for a survival rate of 7.7% of the mintage. Logies accounts for six Mint State examples, 12 AU representatives (including four that are cleaned or tooled), another dozen XF45 pieces, and 10 problem-free XF40 examples including the present piece. Nearly all of those 30 top-grade examples are housed in collections ranging from type sets to specialized die variety cabinets, with few opportunities to bid on such examples.

    Although imperfectly centered, the atypical strike exhibits a sharp and complete date, with each one of the 15 stars fully outlined. The border is completely detailed around the circumference of the obverse and reverse, save for the top of the reverse where the dentils are lacking. A trivial rim bump is evident over the F in OF. Attractive pale-gray silver toning appears on both sides of this lovely dollar, with hints of sky-blue toning visible with magnification. There are no marks of consequence on either side of this splendid first-year silver dollar.
    Ex: Upper Midwest Coin Collectors Convention (Leo Young, 6/1957), lot 1333; California State Numismatic Association Convention (Leo Young, 4/1958), lot 1507; American Numismatic Association Convention (Leo Young, 8/1959), lot 1647; Corrado Romano; Romano Estate (Stack's, 6/1987), lot 741; Four Landmark Collections (Bowers and Merena, 3/1989), lot 1933; private collector (Gerard Menicucci, 2004, per Martin Logies).
    From An Important New York Collection. (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.

    View all of [An Important New York Collection ]

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