Choice Mint State 1795 B-5 Silver Dollar, Ex: Eliasberg

    1795 $1 Flowing Hair, Three Leaves MS64 PCGS. B-5, BB-27, R.1. Ex: Eliasberg. It is always a pleasure to revisit special coins, such as this piece that the present cataloger described a decade ago in April 1997 as part of the famous Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr. collection. This example had a continuous pedigree for nearly a century prior to that offering. Today, this near-Gem specimen appears the same as it did in 1997, and almost certainly much the same as it did in 1899.
    The surfaces exhibit a wonderful mix of pale lilac and light gold color with frosty underlying mint luster. Only a couple of faint hairlines on the reverse keep it from a Gem classification. The strike is sharp, certainly well above average, with nearly full detail on both sides, although a little weakness appears on the eagle's breast. These pieces were produced on the screw presses in use at the Philadelphia Mint. At the time, technology was not conducive to a full strike, especially on such large coins. The impression is nicely centered with full denticles on each side, providing an excellent frame for the devices.
    The left obverse field has a raised diagonal bar near the top hair curl, an instant identifier for the variety. While the 1795 B-5 silver dollar is easily the single most common variety of the year, it is usually seen in much lower grades than the present piece. We believe that this example easily qualifies for the Condition Census of the variety, and it is among the finer Three Leaves dollars certified by PCGS, regardless of die marriage.
    This example is equivalent to Die State III in Dave Bowers' Silver Dollar Encyclopedia that was published in 1993, with a faint crack from the left stem end to the border. Die state details published in that reference were the most complete ever attempted up to that time. Although further discoveries have been made, those notes remain quite accurate today. This example actually exhibits an additional reverse die crack that was not mentioned in either the Bowers reference or the Eliasberg catalog. The reason is probably because this crack, which runs from the border to the second T in STATES and down through the left terminal leaf to the top inside leaf on the right, is so faint that it is only visible on the highest quality coins. Population: 4 in 64, 2 finer (2/07).
    Ex: E.W. Ropes Collection (New York Coin & Stamp Co., 2/1899); J.M. Clapp; John H. Clapp; Clapp Estate (1942); Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr.; Eliasberg Estate (Bowers and Merena, 4/1997), lot 2172.(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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    Auction Dates
    March, 2007
    15th-17th Thursday-Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 9
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    The pre-sale publicity was more than I imagined, and the actual catalog better than I had expected - and my expectations were high!
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