Unpublished 1794 Silver Dollar, Fine 121794 $1 Fine 12 PCGS. B-1, BB-1, R.4. The late Jack Collins spent considerable time and effort studying the 1794 silver dollars, and his manuscript was nearly completed at the time of his death. The Collins manuscript included individual provenances and illustrations of approximately 125 different specimens, and formed the basis for the published study of Martin Logies. Both works relied heavily on past auction appearances, especially those that included plates of the coins being offered. However, there were many auction appearances over the last 150 years that had no plates, and those coins are nearly impossible to track today. It is assumed that most of those earlier appearances have reappeared in recent times, and are now included in the roster.
Every now and then, a previously unpublished 1794 silver dollar makes an appearance, but such occurrences are rare. This example last appeared in the 378th sale held under the auspices of J.C. Morgenthau and Company in April 1937. This coin was not plated in the Morgenthau catalog, and carried a brief description:
212 1794 Good, really very good for this date, although the usual weakness on left side of coin. Very rare.
Morgenthau's 378th sale included large cents from the Gillette Collection, and other properties but the earlier provenance of this 1794 dollar remains unknown. The coin realized $111 in that 1937 sale. The original invoice and mailing envelope from June 1937 accompany the coin. The same invoice also included lot 606 from that sale, a group of four gold dollars that realized eight dollars. The purchaser was Mr. W.G. Sunderland of Sunderland Farms in Exeter, Rhode Island. Exeter, Rhode Island, is located in the east central portion of the state, just a few miles from Narragansett Bay. We have been unable to learn anything else about Mr. Sunderland.
J.C. Morgenthau and Company was primarily a rare stamp company. Morgenthau (1858-1929) was Julius Caesar Morgenthau of New York City. His career as a stamp dealer began in Chicago in 1893, and he established the J.C. Morgenthau and Company firm in 1905. At the time of his death, he had built the term into the premier philatelic auction house in the U.S., holding the most important sales of the time. The numismatic branch was operated by James Macallister and Wayte Raymond who conducted more than 50 coin auctions under the Morgenthau banner. Perhaps the most famous of those were the two sales that offered the Howard Newcomb Collection in 1945.
The present example, housed in a green label PCGS holder, is an attractive pewter-gray specimen with traces of gold and iridescent toning on both sides. The left obverse and reverse are typically weak. A single diagonal scratch from the hair to the neck passes below the ear and follows the jaw line. This pedigree marker will serve to identify the coin in the future. A tiny rim bruise below the 4 and final star are evident, as are a few other insignificant abrasions. Fine peripheral adjustment marks can be seen at the top of the obverse and a few faint hairlines are evident across portions of the reverse design elements. Overall this is a remarkable middle grade circulated piece that will garner considerable interest at the auction.(Registry values: N7079) (NGC ID# 24WY, 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.
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