1795 Flowing Hair Dollar, MS63
1795 $1 Flowing Hair, Three Leaves MS63 PCGS Secure. B-5, BB-27,
R.1. Bowers-Borckardt Die State III. The Flowing Hair design
was retired in favor of the Draped Bust motif in the waning months
of 1795, creating a short, two-year design type. Since 1794 dollars
are both rare and extremely expensive, most type collectors opt for
a nice example of the more available 1795 date, and few specimens
can compare to the present coin in terms of technical grade and eye
Ideal Early Type Coin, B-5, BB-27
Only Seven Finer Coins at PCGS
The technical problems that limited the mintage of silver dollars in 1794 were finally solved by May 6, 1795, when a larger screw press was installed and a delivery of 3,810 silver dollars was accomplished. This one-day total represents more than twice the number of silver dollars that were minted during the entire year of 1794. By the time the design switched over, it is estimated that 160,295 Flowing Hair dollars had been struck, with 17 die varieties known for the date. The coin offered here is an example of the BB-27 variety, easily identified by the prominent die defect, or "bar" in the left obverse field , near the top curl. The BB-27 was one of the last varieties produced, and some researchers speculate that the coins may have been struck as late as 1798.
Flowing Hair dollars were avidly collected in the early days of the hobby, and the study of die varieties was far advanced by the end of the 19th century. When John W. Haseltine published the first serious attribution guide in the sale of his Type Table Collection (Haseltine, 11/1881), he described a coin in similar condition to the present piece in lot 82:
"1795; No. 5; wide date; the lower curl is more perfect than in any of the preceding and is not near the stars, but above them; the hair terminates in 6 points; the third and fourth points are close together; rev., heavy wreath; 6 berries on right and 7 on left; there are 3 leaves under each wing of the eagle (there being only 2 in any of the preceding); the eagle's right wing passes behind a cluster of 5 leaves; strictly uncirculated; sharp and boldly struck; mint lustre; very rare in this condition."
Interestingly, Haseltine failed to note the distinctive "bar" in the field, the feature most numismatists use to attribute this variety today. The BB-27 was the only use for this obverse die, while the reverse was also used to strike BB-25 and BB-26.
The BB-27 variety is the most frequently seen of the many varieties from this highly collectible year. However, they are certainly not easy to locate in Mint State condition. This is an exceptional coin that displays full, satiny mint luster beneath obviously original gray patina that shows occasional deep blue accents, concentrated around the periphery on the obverse and more evenly distributed across the reverse. Sharply struck throughout with good definition on Liberty's hair curls and on the eagle's breast as well. The only mentionable surface flaws are a series of light adjustment marks on the obverse rim, and a few that extend into the curls. Recent auction appearances include the MS63 NGC specimen in lot 155 of Superior's January 2009 sale, which realized $115,000. Population: 4 in 63, 7 finer (6/12).
Ex: Atlanta Signature (Heritage, 8/2001), lot 6371, realized $51,750, a strong price at the time.(Registry values: N10218) (NGC ID# 24WZ, PCGS# 6852)
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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