Second Finest 1799 B-13, BB-151 Dollar, AU581799 $1 Irregular Date, 13 Stars Reverse AU58 NGC. B-13, BB-151, R.5. The single rarest 1799 silver dollar variety with a total estimated population of 60 to 70 coins. This is a remarkable example of the 1799 Irregular Date obverse, combined with the 13 Stars reverse. The two 9s in the date are improperly placed, both high with the first 9 leaning sharply to the left. The E in STATES has die rust inside and above, consistent with all known examples of the variety.
This lovely near-Mint example is clearly a Condition Census piece. The Bowers-Borckardt reference recorded just four Notable Specimens, grading AU55, AU50 (2), and XF45. The present piece, while weakly struck at the centers as always, is sharper than either of the two Dr. Hesselgesser coins illustrated on the PCGS web site. Both sides have deep steel and violet toning with additional iridescence over considerable original luster. The surfaces have a few trivial marks, along with some light reverse adjustment marks.
This coin is from the famous 1975 ANA Sale, lot 945, where it was described as "iridescent tone with mint frost about the devices. Poorly struck up in the centers, central reverse adjustment marks and has some trivial obverse handling marks before Liberty's face. One of two finest known of this rarity and another exciting coin. Probably ex W.G.C. (F.C.C. Boyd), Austin, Ostheimer." Earlier, the Boyd, Ostheimer coin, although not plated in either catalog, was described almost the same by Lester Merkin, who wrote: "Indefinitely struck up in centers, elsewhere very sharp. Mint frost with iridescent cool tone; light adjustment marks on reverse, trivial handling marks." The similarity of descriptions leads us, as it did Dave Bowers, to feel that the present specimen from the 1975 ANA Sale was earlier from the Boyd and Ostheimer Collections.
The finest pieces we can trace are: The AU58 PCGS coin from the Cardinal Collection, earlier lot 779 in Stack's session of Auction '87; the present AU58 NGC coin from the 1975 ANA Sale; the Dr. Hesselgesser Set 1 coin that PCGS grades XF40, but is really much nicer; and the Bolender Collection coin that later appeared in the Gilhousen sale and two later Superior auctions.
There is little doubt that this coin is the second finest known B-13, BB-151 dollar, and it is virtually as nice as the Cardinal coin. The two coins are each considerably nicer than the remaining coins known for the variety.(Registry values: P1) (NGC ID# 24X7, PCGS# 6880)
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