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    Circulated 1794 Flowing Hair Dollar Rarity--One of Only 100 Extant Examples

    1794 $1 VF 20 Cleaned. B-1, BB-1. Although the federal government produced its last issue of the denomination in 1934, the silver dollar remains the steadfast symbol of the United States' coinage history. While Morgan and Peace dollars were produced in seemingly limitless numbers and with overall excellent striking characteristics, crude methods of manufacture blighted the denomination's first issue. Utilizing 69,692.4 ounces of silver bullion that the Bank of Maryland had deposited on July 18, 1794, the Philadelphia Mint coined 2,000 1794 Flowing Hair dollars on October 15. Federal authorities deemed 242 specimens underweight and unsuitable for use in commerce. Of the remaining 1,758 pieces, many display poor workmanship that testifies to the inexperience of the Mint's fledgling staff.
    In the absence of a heavy enough press for silver dollar coinage, the Philadelphia Mint of 1794 had little choice but to use the equipment that it had intended for large cent and half dollar production. While the initial copper pattern specimen (Judd-19, Pollock-28) proved of exceptional quality for its day, the ensuing business strikes were an unqualified disappointment. The poor definition that typifies the issue speaks volumes for the inadequacy of the half dollar press. In addition, poorly trained personnel placed the obverse and reverse dies in nonparallel planes. This explains the lack of detail on the left obverse stars, the date, and UNITED STATES that plagues many extant 1794 silver dollars.
    From this ignominious beginning, the 1794 Flowing Hair delivery has assumed an unimpeachable position in the pantheon of silver dollar rarities. One of only 100 examples believed to exist in all grades, the present specimen displays scattered hairlines and an unnaturally bright sheen that betray past mishandling. The aforementioned focal areas exhibit hallmark striking softness, but we stress that the balance of the faces show suitable definition within the confines of this median grade level. Adjustment marks (as produced) are noted about the reverse rim, but both sides are devoid of sizeable post-production abrasions. Isolated swirls of mottled iridescence round out the appearance of this prized silver dollar rarity. Despite its impairment, we anticipate that strong bids will shower this coin when it crosses the auction block.

    Coin Index Numbers: (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.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    January, 2000
    5th-7th Wednesday-Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 1
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 730
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