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    1795 Flowing Hair Dollar, MS65
    Ex: Robert Coulton Davis in 1890
    The Lawrence Stack Type Set Coin, Ex: Pogue

    1795 $1 Flowing Hair, Two Leaves, B-1, BB-21, R.2, MS65 PCGS. When the Continental Congress authorized the federal Mint to strike silver dollars as part of the 1792 Mint Act, the nascent Mint was less than ideally situated to comply. It did not have the dies, equipment, or silver bullion to strike such a large silver showpiece, despite its best efforts to do so late in 1794. The screw-type coining press was inadequate for the job, since it could strike a denomination no larger than a half dollar without surpassing the capabilities of man and machine. After struggling to strike an official mintage of 1,758 silver dollars dated 1794, the Mint switched over to half dollars, which occupied the Mint's efforts until a larger coining press was installed in May 1795.
    Die life was frightfully short at the early Mint, primarily because of problems encountered when annealing and tempering the dies. Primitive heat treating was done by sight and guesswork, since there were no gauges on the ovens used to harden the dies. Mint Engraver Robert Scot explained the process in a 1793 letter to the Committee on the Mint, where he also (pointedly) detailed his job responsibilities:

    "It may be necessary in this remark to enumerate what I think the actual duties of my office are. Viz. Engraving and sinking of all Original Dies, raising and finishing all Hubbs that are struck out of them, and raising and finishing all punches that may be requisite to the completion of Dies or Hubbs; letter punches excepted. These may be imported or procured from those of that profession. At present there is an assistant Engraver, whose duty is to assist (if capable) in all the actual Duties of the Engraver. His Compensation is One Dollar Sixty Cents every day he works."

    He added: "On the success of these processes and that of a good clear and distinct impression in striking the Hubb, depends on the celerity with which the Dies that strike the money can be finished, for they are struck with the Hubb previous thereto. With a compleat success in the preceding processes which has hardly ever happened, a head Die as above may be finished in a day."

    Scot later added, "It is always to be understood, that the same difficulties are incidental to all Dies throughout their progress, and 'till they are ready to strike money."

    Gradually, the Mint made improvements that helped produce serviceable dies. Some 1795 silver dollar die pairs were more resilient than others -- among them, the B-1, BB-21 dies used to strike the coin offered here. It was by far the hardiest die pair used to strike the Two Leaves reverse. Engraver Robert Scot prepared the master dies and hubs, while Assistant Engraver John Smith Gardner made the working dies.

    Collectors of early type should take note that 1795 Flowing Hair dollars in Gem Mint State or finer conditions are almost equally as rare as Gem or finer 1794 dollars, despite the vast difference in value, mintages, and number of overall survivors. Augmented by a number of pieces used for presentation or distributed to visiting VIPs, there are eight reported Uncirculated 1794 dollars in MS65 or finer conditions based on PCGS and NGC combined populations. Joining them are just 12 such 1795 pieces that are certified by the two services combined as of (5/21). PCGS alone has actually certified fewer high-grade Mint State 1795 Flowing Hair dollars than 1794 pieces in similar high grades. All of which makes a 1795 Gem Uncirculated dollar verifiably undervalued for the two-year type, by a wide margin.

    The present B-1, BB-21 coin is a splendid Gem Uncirculated example. It maintained a low profile until the Stack's Bowers-Sotheby's Pogue II sale, when it raised eyebrows by outselling another memorable Two Leaves dollar, the similarly graded MS65 PCGS B-13, BB-24 (R.5), which was also a Pogue Collection coin in that same sale.

    The current coin was once part of the Lawrence Stack Type Set, which was purchased intact by D. Brent Pogue in 2003. Prior to that, the coin was unseen to the numismatic community for more than a century, subsequent to its appearance in the January 1890 New York Stamp and Coin Company's auction of the Robert Coulton Davis Collection, when it brought $16.75 as Lot 427. It was described as "a strong, sharp and beautiful uncirculated specimen."

    In today's market, there are few coins to rival this exceptional 1795 Flowing Hair dollar -- either by numeric grade, or in aesthetic appeal. Heritage has only sold one other Gem Mint State 1795 Flowing Hair dollar, and that coin changed hands three times in our auctions. It was part of Jack Lee's outstanding collection (bringing $391,000 in 2005), as well as a highlight of the impressive Madison Collection. We sold the coin again in 2009 as part of the fine Joseph C. Thomas Collection.

    PCGS has seen just three MS65 Two Leaves Flowing Hair dollars regardless of variety, and none finer. The current coin and its former Pogue Collection counterpart were recently joined by the Cardinal Collection example. The splendid Gem offered here stands out among the three, with beautiful peach-gold toning that merges with lilac-silver hues at the margins. Vibrant mint luster radiates in cartwheel fashion throughout both sides, gleaming across reflective fields.

    The obverse strike is splendid for a B-1, BB-21 dollar, in which the motifs were cut deeply into the dies. Each and every raised star center is fully formed, and Liberty's flowing hair strands are individually sharp from the hairline to the fully pointed curl tips. Remnants of an underdigit 1 peek out behind the primary 7 in the date. A few minor planchet striations run horizontally as widely separated, hair-thin bits of natural toning, only of passing interest and entirely without distraction. The coin is free of adjustment marks except at the eagle's breast, where the strike weakened slightly and a few ghostlike file marks remain visible when the eye is assisted by a loupe. The visual appeal is extraordinary for a Flowing Hair dollar.

    Still housed in the specially labeled PCGS holder from the Pogue sale, this coin has longstanding claims as the finest Two Leaves 1795 Flowing Hair dollar. It is certainly one of the two finest examples of the type. We expect many bids from early dollar enthusiasts when this outstanding lot is called.
    Ex: Robert Coulton Davis Collection (New York Stamp and Coin Company, 1/1890), lot 427; Lawrence Stack Type Set; Stack's, via sale, (1/2003); The D. Brent Pogue Collection, Part II (Stack's Bowers/Sotheby's, 9/2015), lot 2045; the present consignor.
    From The Warshaw Family Collection, Part IV.

    Coin Index Numbers: (NGC ID# 24WZ, Variety PCGS# 39986, Base PCGS# 6853)

    Weight: 26.96 grams

    Metal: 89.24% Silver, 10.76% Copper

    View all of [The Warshaw Family Collection, Part IV ]

    View Certification Details from PCGS

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    June, 2021
    17th-20th Thursday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 42
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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