1804 Dollar, PR62
1804 $1 Original PR62 PCGS Secure. "In all of numismatics
of the entire world, there is not today and there never has been a
single coin which was and is the subject of so much romance,
interest, comment, and upon which so much has been written and so
much talked about and discussed as the United States silver dollar
The King of American Coins
The Mickley-Hawn-Queller Specimen
- B. Max Mehl, from the Dunham Collection catalog, 1941
For more than a century, the 1804 dollar has reigned as the "King" of U.S. coinage, a fitting title to bestow on a coin made for royalty. The U.S. Mint received orders to strike complete sets of proof coinage meant to serve as diplomatic gifts for sovereigns such as the Sultan of Muscat, the King of Siam, and the Emperors of Cochin-China and Japan. While most denominations specified by the Mint Act of 1792 were still in production in 1834 and thus simple to produce as proofs, the silver dollar and gold ten dollar (eagle) had not been struck for many years - since 1804, the Mint's research found. There was just one catch: those silver dollars struck in 1804 were made from carryover obverse dies and did not bear that date. When the Mint struck those silver dollars dated 1804 and a few spares, an inadvertent rarity was created.
Jacob Eckfeldt and William E. DuBois revealed the existence of the Class I or "Original" 1804 dollars to the then-small coin collecting community of the United States by including a picture of one in their 1842 reference, the Manual of Coins of All Nations. Matthew Stickney became the first confirmed non-royal, non-government-employee owner of an 1804 dollar in 1843, when he traded a gold Immune Columbia piece - a remarkable numismatic delicacy - as well as other coins to the Mint Cabinet to get his example (for more on Stickney's transaction see Moulton, Karl and Stone, David, "The Stickney-Dubois Connection", The Numismatist, October 2016 edition). The second confirmed piece to come into a collector's hands was this very coin, which had come into the possession of bank teller Henry C. Young in October of 1847 and was sold to now-legendary numismatist Joseph J. Mickley the same day. By the end of the 1850s there was enough financial incentive for the self-enrichment crew of the midcentury Philadelphia Mint to try their hand at 1804 dollar restrikes, though their various gaffes - not least of which was striking the singular Class II Restrike over an 1857 shooting thaler from Bern in Switzerland - stopped their plans in the short term. After the Civil War, the market for the various 1804 dollars blossomed. The Mickley specimen offered here sold at a W. Elliot Woodward sale for $750 in October 1867, while the Chapman brothers cracked the four-figure mark and coined the phrase "King of the U.S. series" in May 1885 when they sold the Dexter specimen for $1,000. While those Originals were setting records, the Second Restrike or Class III coins, artificially worn and given artificial backstories (e.g. the Berg specimen of the Class III dollar turning up in Vienna), were working their way toward marketplace acceptance. In 1907, Henry Chapman called the 1804 dollar "The King of United States Coins."
If the 19th century had made the 1804 dollar "niche famous" among the relatively small elite core of U.S. coin collectors, the 20th century was an era of popularization and broader celebrity. While the 1804 dollar has been the subject of multiple scholarly volumes (Newman and Bressett, The Fantastic 1804 Dollar, Q. David Bowers, The Rare Silver Dollars Dated 1804 and the Exciting Adventures of Edmund Roberts, and Mark Ferguson, The Dollar of 1804, The U.S. Mint's Hidden Secret), no one person has done more to raise the 1804 dollar's profile than B. Max Mehl. His Star Rare Coin Encyclopedia set the numismatic gold standard for self-promotion by convincing collectors and non-collectors alike to pay for what was effectively his buylist, and his direct appeals through mass media such as newspapers and radio put his Encyclopedia in hundreds of thousands of homes.
Where B. Max Mehl was a teller of lore, four numismatic scholars in the late 1950s began researching the facts behind the 1804 dollar. At first independent, they joined forces in 1959, and in 1962, authors Eric P. Newman and Ken Bressett, with Walter Breen and Lynn Glaser listed as "associates in research," published The Fantastic 1804 Dollar, a scholarly reference that gave the facts of the 1804 dollars as they were known to that time. Shortly before the book's publication, David Spink revealed the existence of a previously unknown 1804 dollar, part of a set of mostly 1834-dated proof coins that had been presented to the King of Siam. The "King of Siam" set was the last but by no means least important piece of evidence included in The Fantastic 1804 Dollar, which remains a fundamentally sound reference more than half a century after its initial publication.
Prices for 1804 dollars at auction soared as the decades passed. In 1960, the Davis Restrike 1804 dollar brought $28,000 at auction, while in 1970 the Mickley Original specimen realized $77,500. In 1980, at one of the U.S. coin market's great heights, the Berg Restrike example reached $400,000, while the 1989 offering of the Dexter Original representative saw it go for $990,000, another bull-market record tantalizingly close to the million-dollar threshold. The Stickney Original piece, which in 1946 was the first five-figure U.S. coin at $10,500, became the first seven-figure 1804 dollar and the most expensive U.S. coin ever auctioned when it sold as part of the legendary Eliasberg Collection in 1997 for $1,815,000. The Sultan of Muscat Original, universally considered the best-preserved of 1804 dollars, leapfrogged that price to bring $4,140,000 in 1999, a record that stood for several years.
Origin of the Class I 1804 Silver Dollar
Edmund Roberts (1784-1836) of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, received an appointment from President Andrew Jackson as America's first envoy to the Far East, and successfully negotiated a Treaty of Amity and Commerce with King Nangklao (Rama III) of Siam. The treaty with Siam provided free trade along with other policies, and was concluded on March 20, 1833 at the Royal City, known today as Bangkok. A similar treaty, the Omani-American Treaty of 1834, was concluded with the Sultan of Muscat. Congress ratified both treaties on June 30, 1834.
The U.S. State Department desired gifts for the leaders of both nations. Among a number of other gifts, each leader would receive a set of proof coins dated 1834. There were eight denominations that were current in 1834, from the half cent to the half eagle. Three decades earlier, the Mint had struck silver dollars and eagles, as recorded in the 1804 Mint Report (mintage of silver dollars was officially suspended in 1806, but no coins were struck after 1804). The first 19th century Mint Director, Elias Boudinot, in his annual report indicated that silver dollars were indeed struck in the first quarter of 1804. Included in that annual report was the accounting of Mint Treasurer Benjamin Rush who recorded a production of 19,570 silver dollars.
Today we understand that every one of those 19,570 silver dollars recorded for 1804 were struck from dies bearing the earlier date of 1803, or perhaps even 1802. It was the Mint's practice to continue using dies of earlier dates as long as they were still serviceable, and the 1803-dated dies were clearly adequate to strike nearly 20,000 additional silver dollars.
As the State Department desired to include silver dollars and eagles in the special presentation sets, they requested that the Mint produce 1804-dated silver dollars and eagles. Although eagles bearing the 1804 date had been struck, no silver dollars ever existed with that date. However, Mint engravers busied themselves preparing dies of the old designs for those two denominations.
Luckily, an unfinished obverse die for the eagle, from the 1800-1804 time frame, was still available. It required considerable polishing and reworking to make it serviceable, and the final digit in the date had to be punched in before it could be used to strike coins. This created an anomaly, as the style of the 4 punch had changed over the years, from the Crosslet 4 used in 1804 to the Plain 4 used in 1834. Apparently, this inconsistency went unnoticed for many years. Early 20th century catalogers, like Thomas Elder, still classified the different varieties of 1804 eagles by subtle differences in star positions, rather than the more obvious Crosslet 4 vs. Plain 4 distinction. John Dannreuther discovered the truth about the 1804 eagle obverse die shortly after his book on Early U.S. Gold Coin Varieties was published. Research by Bryce Brown and Bill Nyberg determined that the reverse die used for the 1804 Plain 4 eagle was actually an unused half dollar die leftover from 1806.
Research by R.W. Julian suggests that the Mint engravers may have benefited from some prior developments in the production of the 1804 dollar dies, as well. In 1831 Mint Director Samuel Moore learned that the flow of silver from the United States to the Orient had reversed, and the U.S. was actually importing more silver coinage than it exported. Moore requested that the prohibition against silver dollar coinage be lifted, and both President Andrew Jackson and the Treasury Department replied, authorizing a resumption of coinage of this denomination on April 18, 1831. Julian believes that several dies were prepared in anticipation of this proposed coinage, using most of the same device punches used on pre-1804 Draped Bust dollar dies, but incorporating the new beaded border design instead of the elongated denticles of earlier years. Four obverse dies and two reverse dies were prepared, with one obverse unfinished and the others exhibiting the dates 1802, 1803, and 1804. The unfinished obverse was completed at a much later date and displayed an 1801 date. The two reverse dies, designated as Reverse X and Reverse Y by Eric Newman and Kenneth Bressett, utilized the same device punches, but varied slightly in the placement of the lettering. These dies were apparently intended to strike a sequence of patterns, much like the Gobrecht dollars of 1836, 1838, and 1839. Unfortunately, the incoming flow of silver Moore had noticed was only temporary, the situation soon reverted to the normal imbalance, and the proposed resumption of silver dollar coinage did not materialize in 1831.
These dies were still on hand when the need to strike silver dollars arose in the 1830s, and later dates. The 1804 obverse was used, along with Reverse X, to strike the Class I 1804 dollars for the diplomatic proof sets, circa 1834. Edge lettering was added before the coins were struck, using the old Castaing machine. Unfortunately, because the coins were struck with the close collar technology used by the Mint since the late 1820s, this edge lettering was slightly crushed during the striking process. The same obverse was later employed, along with Reverse Y, to strike the Class II 1804 dollars, circa 1858, without edge lettering. Some of the Class II coins had edge lettering applied at a later date, and were issued as the Class III dollars. The 1801, 1802, and 1803 obverses were used, along with Reverse X, to strike the proof novodels of those dates, circa 1875. Although the 1801, 1802, and 1803 proofs were struck much later, die evidence indicates the 1802 and 1803 dies were actually finished before the 1804 obverse. The top curl of Liberty's hair broke off the bust punch after it was used to create the 1802 and 1803 dies. On the 1804 (and 1801) obverse, the final upward flip of this curl is missing, confirming that the 1802 and 1803 dies were prepared first.
Although the silver dollars and eagles were all struck three decades after the dates shown, they should never be called "restrikes" as the strikes of 1834 were the first from those dies. They should also not be called "originals" as they were not struck in the 1801-1804 time period. The coins are best called novodels, a term most commonly associated with Russian numismatics, meaning coins struck from newly created, back-dated dies.
The number of 1804 Class I silver dollars actually struck in the 1830s is unknown. However, it is highly likely that the mintage figure is the same as the number of pieces known today, or eight coins. Were all eight coins struck in 1834, or were a few pieces struck during the next few years? Either scenario is possible and there are no contemporary records to verify the actual year or years that the Class I coins were minted.
At least two of the Class I coins were released to the State Department for diplomatic purposes in 1834. Another two proof sets were requested for the emperors of Cochin-China and Japan in early 1835, just in time to accompany Edmund Roberts on his mission to Muscat, Siam and other Far Eastern locations. These last sets were never delivered because Roberts died before he could complete his mission (see Bowers' The Rare Silver Dollars Dated 1804 and the Exciting Adventures of Edmund Roberts for complete details). The coins were presumably returned to the State Department when Roberts' ship, the U.S.S. Peacock, returned to the United States in November of 1837. It seems most likely that the four extra 1804 dollars (the coins not included in the diplomatic proof sets) were saved by Adam Eckfeldt, and placed in the Mint Cabinet when that collection was formed in June of 1838. Certainly, the Mint retained some pieces for their own purposes, as evidenced by the 1843 trade with Matthew Stickney where he acquired an 1804 silver dollar and the Mint acquired other objects for the National coin collection. Another specimen remained in the National Numismatic Collection and is now on display alongside Class II and Class III specimens at the Smithsonian Institution.
Class II and III 1804 Dollars
In the late 1850s, only three 1804 dollars were known, one each in the Mint cabinet and the Stickney and Mickley collections. American interest in numismatics was soaring, and demand for rarities was growing. The Philadelphia Mint during this time produced many unofficial restrikes, including 1856 Flying Eagle cents, 1851 and 1852 Seated dollars, and Gobrecht dollars.
About one dozen 1804 dollars were surreptitiously struck circa-1858 at the Mint. These coins had a die rotation of 175 degrees and lightly strike-doubled reverses. They had a plain edge, and used the same obverse die as the Class I 1804 dollars. The reverse die differed from the Class I reverse, most notably in the location of the A in STATES relative to nearby clouds. The infamous "Midnight Minters" of the 1850s did not have access to regular silver dollar planchets. Weights of surviving examples vary between 381.5 and 416.2 grains.
In 1880, Philadelphia dealer S. K. Harzfeld interviewed Mint Superintendent A. Loudon Snowden, the nephew of James R. Snowden, the Mint Director between 1853 and 1861. In the interview, Snowden states:
"About this period an old employee of the mint, a relative of one of the first and most valuable officers of the mint, who had charge of the dies in the engraver's department, was discovered by the sales made by an erring son to have taken impressions from 1804 and some other dies."
Snowden implicitly names George J. Eckfeldt, an Engraving Department foreman in 1858, and his son Theodore Eckfeldt, a night watchman at the Mint. Both were relatives of Adam Eckfeldt, an important officer in the Mint's early decades.
Well-known Philadelphia dealer and writer Ebenezer Locke Mason was more explicit about the clandestine goings-on in the Mint. In the June 1882 issue of Mason's Coin Collectors' Magazine, he writes "here was offered by young Eckfeldt [in 1860] three genuine U.S. 1804 dollars at $70 each and nearly all the rare [proof restrike] ½ cents in dozens of duplicates were purchased."
In 1861, James Pollock became Mint Director. In November 1861, he received a letter from the Boston Numismatic Society complaining about "abuses which have of late years been practiced at the Mint, whereby numbers of pattern pieces, and coins from dies of former years, have been freely struck, and disposed of by employees of the Mint to dealers who have sold them at great prices. Two years since, members of this society were offered specimens of the dollar of 1804 ... two of which had been sold for $75 each."
Robert Coulton Davis was authorized to secure the recently struck and sold 1804 dollars. According to William DuBois, curator of the Mint cabinet, four coins were recovered. Three of these were melted, and one piece went into the cabinet. This is the only known Class II example, the plain-edge underweight coin overstruck on an 1857 Swiss shooting thaler.
The December 1885 issue of Numisma reports "J. N. T. Levick authorizes us to say that [an 1804 dollar] was offered him in 1869," but he declined to purchase it "because he saw at a glance that it was a restrike," presumably because of its plain edge. The remaining, unsold cache of 1804 dollars struck in 1858 needed edge lettering to become acceptable to collectors. Before 1875, the coins were acquired by Captain John W. Haseltine, a leading Philadelphia dealer.
Henry R. Linderman became Mint Director in April 1873, and proved more amenable to restrike activity than his predecessor Pollock. The plain-edge 1804 dollars, struck circa-1858, acquired edge lettering circa-1875 at the Mint via a Castaing machine and edge dies retained since the mintage of Draped Bust dollars that ended in 1804. The newly edge-lettered coins are now known as Class III dollars.
Linderman died in 1879, and his estate included a Class III 1804 dollar, presumably his reward for aiding Haseltine's activities. Another example went to William Idler, an important Philadelphia coin dealer and Haseltine's father-in-law. Idler had helped sell the plain edge 1804 dollars between 1858 and 1860.
The remaining four Class III specimens were carried as pocket pieces until they had XF sharpness, to pass as "original" 1804 dollars found in circulation. The Berg specimen was given a pedigree from Koch & Co. of Vienna, Austria, when it was sold in 1883. This same coin was originally offered in 1876 and was said to originate from an English collection. Its early pedigree is often confused with the Phineas Adams example, which was later owned by Waldo C. Newcomer and Col. Green. The Colonel Ellsworth specimen, which first emerged in 1893, was claimed to have come from a freed slave and his son.
Ownership History of the Mickley 1804 Dollar
Joseph J. Mickley
Although Stickney's discovery of the 1804 dollars in the Mint Cabinet is more famous and well-documented, it is possible that Joseph Mickley discovered the coins two years before Stickney made his landmark visit. Born in 1799, Mickley began collecting coins in 1816, when he tried to acquire a cent from the date of his birth for a keepsake. As Mickley soon learned, the 1799 large cent is the most elusive date in the entire series, and the difficulty he experienced in finding one piqued his interest in coin collecting in general. His collecting activities in the 1820s were probably not as extensive as some collectors, like Stickney or Robert Gilmor, because he did not have the financial resources to collect at that level as a young man. We know he had a collection of silver dollars by 1827, however, and he undoubtedly pursued his collecting interests in a modest way until he became a successful businessman himself. His name was not included on the list of prominent numismatists that Dubois provided to Matthew Stickney in 1843, but his activities undoubtedly increased throughout the following decade. By the time of the Dr. Lewis Roper Sale (Moses Thomas & Sons, 2/1851), the first significant coin auction held in the United States, he had become the most prolific buyer of U.S. coins in the country and he purchased the lion's share of American coins in the sale. His collection was the most complete and well-known gathering in the United States by the 1860s.
A study of the visitor's log of the Philadelphia Mint reveals that Joseph Mickley's first documented visit to that establishment occurred on May 29,1841, when he accompanied his brother Jacob, who was visiting from the Mickley's ancestral home in Lehigh County, Pennsylvania. The Mickley brothers were probably sightseeing while Jacob was in town and Joseph would have had a keen interest in the Mint Cabinet, which had been open to the public for almost three years by this time. Exactly when the four extra Class I dollars were placed in the Mint Cabinet cannot be determined with certainty. The coins should have been on hand in June of 1838, when the collection was formally established, but French numismatist Alexandre Vattemare reported he did not see an example when he visited the Mint that year. If the 1804 dollars were not immediately placed in the Mint Cabinet when the collection was opened to the public, we know at least two of them were included by the early 1840s, when Eckfeldt and Dubois wrote their book and Stickney made his trade. Mickley made no public mention of his 1841 visit but, since he had been collecting silver dollars since the 1820s, we know he would have appreciated the rarity and importance of the 1804 dollar, which was almost certainly on display by that time. We know from Stickney's visit two years later that the curators of the Mint Cabinet were not parting with 1804 dollars lightly, and it seems unlikely that Mickley would have tried to acquire such an expensive issue at that time, but this visit probably made him aware of the 1804 dollar and he would have been on the lookout for one in later years. From a business journal Mickley kept from 1841 to 1848 we know he purchased a copy of the Mint Book on February 28, 1845 but, unlike Stickney, he probably already knew about the 1804 dollar from his 1841 visit to the Mint. In all, Mickley is recorded as making 11 visits to the Philadelphia Mint from 1841 to 1848. He likely made many more visits during the next 20 years. With his ingratiating personality, winning ways, and vast local network of personal and business connections, it seems certain that after some of those visits, he walked home with a few more baubles and a bit less cash in his pockets.
According to several 19th century sources the present coin, which Mickley eventually purchased for his collection, surfaced in a bank deposit at the Bank of Pennsylvania around October of 1847. The cashier, a Mr. Henry C. Young, recognized the coin as something special, as Mickley had given him a list of coins to watch for. Young pulled the coin out of the deposit, apparently for face value.
The numismatic community in this country was still very small in the 1840s and early 1850s. Although several well-known businessmen made occasional offerings of rare coins in their shops and auction catalogs, most students of the hobby consider Edward Cogan the first full-time coin dealer in the United States, starting around 1858. With no organized system of dealers to supply the needs of the collecting community, it was common practice for earlier collectors to establish relationships with bullion brokers and bank tellers to look out for the coins they needed for their collections, paying a small premium for any coins that could be obtained in this manner. Since Mickley lived in Philadelphia, where the Bank of Pennsylvania was located, he undoubtedly had such an arrangement with the tellers of the bank, including Henry C. Young. The exact details of the transaction were related by Young in an article in the Philadelphia Press, September 7, 1885 edition.
Mickley published a pamphlet titled Dates of United States Coins and Their Degrees of Rarity in 1858, which Q. David Bowers has called the "earliest version of a rarity scale." The work was basically a snapshot of Mickley's collection in 1858 and he based the rarity values on his experience in acquiring the coins over the years. He gave the 1804 dollar his highest rating of "Very Rare."
It was in 1867 when the "great robbery" happened, one that sapped much of Mickley's passion for numismatics. In brief, a great assortment of rare coins, mostly foreign, was stolen from his residence on April 13, 1867. The cost of the stolen coins was put at $19,000; their market value was far greater. Chilled from the idea of further collecting, Mickley sold his remaining coins to W. Elliot Woodward. Numismatic auction expert John Adams has judged Mickley's collection of U.S. and world coins the "best all around" and "perhaps the greatest U.S. collection." The greatest tribute written about Mickley, however, was not about his remarkable coin collection:
"The late Joseph J. Mickley comprised qualities at once more attractive and more unusual than are often met with in one person. ... in Philadelphia he was most of all admired for his delightful social qualities and his extensive information on a surprising variety of topics. During forty years his house was a rendezvous for a numerous group of specialists--not alone in his favorite pursuits, which, indeed, were both many and diverse, but in any and every department of art or learning."
William Lilliendahl: Collector Par Excellence
William Lilliendahl was an early collector who compiled one of the finest collections of his era. He liquidated the bulk of his numismatic holdings in 1862 and 1863. The 1862 sale included proof 1851, 1852, and 1854 dollars, a proof 1831 half cent and proof 1834 cent, two 1793 Chain cents (one the AMERI. variety), three Wreath cents, a 1793 Liberty Cap cent, and three 1799 cents.
The 1863 Lilliendahl sale likewise included a plethora of numismatic rarities. Included was a 1794 dollar, a 1796 and 1797 half dollar, two 1796 quarter dollars, an 1802 half dime, three Chain cents, three Wreath cents, three 1793 Liberty Cap cents, two 1799 cents, one described as "undoubtedly the most perfect specimen ever offered at public sale" , a run of 17 proof Large cents, and an Uncirculated 1793 half cent.
Despite selling major portions of his collection in 1862 and 1863, Lilliendahl continued to acquire numismatic prizes, highlighted by his purchase of the Mickley 1804 dollar in 1867. Bowers (1999) comments on Lilliendahl's dynamic numismatic interests:
"Similar to the style of Lorin G. Parmelee, J. Carson Brevoort, and Charles I. Bushnell, among others, Lilliendahl selected needed items and then sold or consigned the balance to be auctioned. Moreover, his interests evolved, and sometimes as one series was completed or a challenge was met, he would sell those items and go on to something else."
Lilliendahl sold Mickley's 1804 dollar to coin dealer Edward Cogan, circa 1868. Cogan soon placed the coin with Boston collector William Sumner Appleton.
William Sumner Appleton
William Sumner Appleton was born to wealthy parents in Boston in 1840 and graduated from Harvard in 1860. He never pursued a business career, devoting his time to the study of numismatics and history instead. His numismatic interests were varied, and he collected medals, Colonials, world, and ancient coins, as well as U.S. federal issues. He purchased Joseph Mickley's collection of American gold coins in a private transaction with W. Elliot Woodward before the 1867 sale of that collection took place. He acquired Mickley's 1804 dollar from Edward Cogan in 1868, in trade for some duplicate coins valued at $775. He wrote many articles in the American Journal of Numismatics and served on the publishing committee from 1870-1891. He sold Mickley's gold collection to collector/dealer John C. Schayer in 1883. He died in Boston in 1903. Much of his collection, including the Mickley 1804 dollar, was bequeathed to the Massachusetts Historical Society after his death.
The present Mickley specimen was at one time thought to be off the market forever. William Sumner Appleton donated the piece to the Massachusetts Historical Society in 1905. In 1970 the Society explained their reasoning for deaccessioning this famous dollar as well as many other valuable coins. In the Foreword to the catalog the President of the Society explained, "the Society's coins have been very little used by scholars in recent decades. Nor does the Society have facilities for showing them to the general public. In 1965 the danger of theft became so apparent that the collection was placed in the vaults of a Boston bank. ... The choice appeared to be to keep them in dead storage indefinitely or to expose them to the probable danger of theft." A third choice was to deaccession their non-Massachusetts numismatic holdings, and the 1804 dollar William Appleton had bequeathed in 1905 was released for sale by the Boston Probate Court and subsequently offered at public auction. The coin was purchased by a still-anonymous "Chicago Collector" for $77,500. The underbidder in the 1970 sale was 21-year old Reed Hawn.
More than three years later, Reed Hawn bought the coin in a private transaction. Ben Stack sold him the Mickley 1804 dollar in January 1974 for an undisclosed amount. Hawn's business interests include oil, gas, and other interests. At a young age Hawn resolved to make money as a collector and investor in rare coins. When he was 17 years old, he struck a deal with Ben Stack that if he would help him build the best possible collection, he would sell the coins back through Stack's auctions. His first offering of coins at public auction was in 1971 of his duplicates. To date, he has sold six named (and one unnamed) collections through Stack's, one auction through Quality Sales (in a nod to one of Hawn's mentors, Jerry Cohen), a numismatic literature collection through George Kolbe, and his Texas currency through Heritage. Hawn's approach to investing was best summed up in David Ganz's Rare Coin Investing: "The great rarities, a real honor to own, were basically calling cards to get bidders interested in the auction sale." Ganz explains: "What he meant was a $65 coin that sold on auction for $650 -- a ten-fold increase -- was hard to equal in percentage terms on a $2,500 coin or even a $100,000 coin (which would have to jump to a million dollars to give the same rate of return)." Hawn's plan worked. He consigned the Mickley Class I dollar and his 1913 Liberty nickel to the same October 1993 auction, assuring maximum exposure for his other coins, especially his Barber quarter collection that was 20 years in the making.
After 19 years of ownership, Reed Hawn's name was firmly attached to the Mickley 1804 dollar, and the coin has since been called the Mickley-Hawn dollar. In 1993 he put the piece up for public auction, and it was bought by another colorful collector, David Queller
David Queller assembled impressive collections of half dollars, dollars, and patterns. The dollars formed one of the most comprehensive and highest-graded sets ever assembled. More than an individual effort, the collection was called The Queller Family Collection of Silver Dollars, and for good reason: Queller's son pushed him to buy the Mickley-Hawn dollar, and provided some of the financing with the help of his sisters. Queller paid $475,000 for the coin in 1993.
Deep silver-gray patina covers the surfaces of this attractive coin. Closer examination reveals subtle iridescence and strong undercurrents of golden-tan patina. The left obverse field shows a strong element of bold blue, and areas of dusky pewter-gray appear around the peripheral devices. Minor, scattered contact marks are present on the obverse, though only a few of them would attract attention if this were a circulation strike. They appear in pairs, two on Liberty's cheek and two to the left of the hollow of Liberty's neck.
On the reverse, three reeding marks appear in the field between the shield and the olive branch, and a few smaller points of contact are present elsewhere in the fields. Such minor flaws are consistent with the discovery of this piece by Bank of Pennsylvania teller, Henry C. Young, in a mixed deposit with other coins in 1847. Both sides are luminous beneath the patina with a distinct, glossy sheen. Slight striking softness at the uppermost parts of the design and the star centers is consistent with other examples of Original or Class I 1804 dollars. A thin die crack -- one that is present on both Original and Restrike pieces -- passes across the tops of stars 5 through 7 and all but the last letter of LIBERTY.
The lettering on the edge is "crushed," the result of a lettered-edge planchet entering a press with a smooth collar. The strike squeezed and distorted the edge design, rendering many letters unreadable-a distinctive diagnostic for the Class I 1804 dollars. The coin's holder precludes viewing of this detail, but Bowers describes it in The Rare Silver Dollars Dated 1804 and the Exciting Adventures of Edmund Roberts, which was published before this piece's encapsulation.
Roster of 1804 Dollars
The 15 known 1804 silver dollars include eight examples of Class I, one of Class II, and six of Class III. There are six 1804 silver dollars in museums and nine in private hands. This roster updates the historical record from the Chicago Signature (Heritage, 8/2013), lot 5699.
Class I - The Diplomatic Presentation Strikings
1. Sultan of Muscat Specimen
PR68 PCGS. Chief Coiner Adam Eckfeldt; U.S. Department of State, c/o Edmund Roberts; Sayyid Sa'id-bin-Sultan (Sultan of Muscat), as part of a cased presentation set; unknown intermediaries; Charles A. Watters of Liverpool, England; Watters Collection (Glendining & Co., London, 5/1917), lot 227, realized £330; Henry Chapman (6/1918); Virgil Brand; Brand Estate; Armin W. Brand; Horace Louis Philip Brand; Ruth and Charles Green; Charles Frederick Childs; F. Newell Childs; Charles Frederick Childs II; Walter H. Childs; Childs Collection (Bowers and Merena, 8/1999), lot 458, realized $4,140,000; Mack and Brent Pogue; D. Brent Pogue Collection, Part IV (Stack's Bowers, 5/2016), lot 4020, failed to meet the reserve.
2. King of Siam Specimen
PR67 PCGS. Part of the King of Siam cased presentation set. Chief Coiner Adam Eckfeldt; U.S. Department of State, c/o Edmund Roberts; King Ph'ra Nang Klao (Rama III) of Siam; presumed remaining in the family until about 1950; David F. Spink and family, who acquired the set privately; private collector, possibly Elvin I. Unterman, via agent Lester Merkin; King of Siam Sale (Bowers and Merena, 10/1987), lot 2209, not sold; Rarities Group (Martin Paul) and Continental Rarity Coin Fund I (Greg Holloway); Father Flanagan's Boy's Home Sale (Superior, 5/1990), lot 3364, realized $3,190,000 for the entire King of Siam set; Iraj Sayah and Terry Brand; January-February Auction (Superior, 1/1993), lot 1196; Spectrum Numismatics; private western collection (2001); Goldberg Coins (privately, 11/2005) to Steve Contursi and private collector.
Note: many researchers have speculated that this coin may have passed to Mrs. Anna Leonowens, of The King and I musical fame, sometime in the 19th century. David Spink purchased the coin from two elderly ladies in England who were reported to be her descendants. This connection, while theoretically possible, is regarded as highly conjectural today.
3. Stickney Specimen
PR65 PCGS. Chief Coiner Adam Eckfeldt; Matthew Adams Stickney (1843); Stickney Collection (Henry Chapman, 6/1907), lot 849, realized $3,600; Col. James W. Ellsworth; Wayte Raymond; William Cutler Atwater; Atwater Estate; Atwater Collection (B. Max Mehl, 6/1946), lot 213, realized $10,500; Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr.; Eliasberg Estate; Eliasberg Collection (Bowers and Merena, 4/1997), lot 2199, realized $1,815,000; Spectrum Numismatics; private collection.
4. Dexter Specimen
PR65 PCGS. Chief Coiner Adam Eckfeldt; unknown intermediaries, possibly S.H. and H. Chapman; 46th Auction (Adolph Weyl, 10/1884), lot 159, realized $216; S.H. and H. Chapman; Chapman Sale (Chapman Brothers,5/1885), lot 354, realized $1,000; Scott Stamp & Coin Company; James Vila Dexter; Dexter Estate; H.G. Brown; H.G. Brown Collection (Lyman H. Low, 10/1904), lot 431, realized $1,100; William Forrester Dunham; B. Max Mehl; Dunham Collection (B. Max Mehl, 6/1941), lot 1058, realized $4,250; Charles M. Williams; Abe Kosoff and Sol Kaplan; Harold Bareford; Bareford Collection (Stack's, 10/1981), lot 424, realized $280,000; RARCOA (Ed Milas); Leon Hendrickson and George Weingart; Auction '89 (RARCOA, 7/1989), lot 247, realized $990,000; American Rare Coin Fund, Ltd. (Hugh Sconyers, manager); Northern California collector; Baltimore Auction (Superior, 7/1993), lot 551, not sold; Northern California collector; U.S. Coin Auction (Superior, 5/1994), lot 761; Harlan White; private southeastern collection; 65th Anniversary Collection (Stack's, 10/2000), lot 1167, realized $1,840,000; Mack and Brent Pogue; D. Brent Pogue Collection, Part V (Stack's Bowers, 3/2017), lot 5045, realized $3,290,000, to Kevin Lipton and John Albanese; Bruce Morelan through Legend Numismatics.
5. Parmelee Specimen
PR64 ICG. Chief Coiner Adam Eckfeldt; unknown intermediaries; "an aged lady" who gave the coin to her son; E. Harrison Sanford; Sanford Collection (Edward Cogan, 11/1874), lot 99, realized $700; Lorin G. Parmelee; Parmelee Collection (New York Coin & Stamp Co., 6/1890), lot 817, realized $570; Byron Reed; Omaha City Library; Western Heritage Museum.
6. Mickley Specimen, the Present Example
PR62 PCGS. Chief Coiner Adam Eckfeldt; unknown intermediaries; Henry C. Young, a teller at the Bank of Pennsylvania; Joseph J. Mickley (October, 1847); Mickley Collection (W. Elliot Woodward, 10/1867), lot 1676, realized $750; William A. Lilliendahl; Edward Cogan (1868); William Sumner Appleton (1868); Massachusetts Historical Society (1905); Massachusetts Historical Society-Maryland Collector Auction (Stack's, 10/1970), lot 625, realized $77,500; Chicago collection; Reed Hawn, in a private treaty transaction via Stack's in 1974; Hawn Collection (Stack's, 10/1993), lot 735, realized $475,000; David Queller; Queller Family Collection (Heritage, 4/2008), lot 2089, realized $3,737,500; Chicago Signature (Heritage, 8/2013), lot 5699, realized $3,877,500. The present coin.
7. Mint Cabinet Specimen
Impaired Proof, per conventional wisdom. Chief Coiner Adam Eckfeldt; Mint Cabinet; National Numismatic Collection; Smithsonian Institution.
8. Cohen Specimen
PR30. Chief Coiner Adam Eckfeldt; unknown intermediaries; Edward Cohen, Richmond, Virginia; Col. Mendes I. Cohen, Baltimore, Maryland; Cohen Collection (Edward Cogan, 10/1875), lot 535, realized $325; Henry S. Adams; Adams Collection (Edward Cogan, 11/1876), lot 356, realized $500; Lorin G. Parmelee; Henry G. Sampson; Major William Boerum Wetmore; Wetmore Collection (Chapman Brothers, 6/1906), lot 208, realized $720; S.H. and H. Chapman; Thomas L. Elder; James H. Manning; Manning Collection (B. Max Mehl, 5/1921), lot 778, realized $2,500; Elmer S. Sears; B. Max Mehl; Lammot DuPont; Willis H. DuPont; unknown thieves, recovered in Zurich, Switzerland, on April 23, 1993; donated to the American Numismatic Association museum.
Class II - The So-Called First Restrike
9. Mint Cabinet Specimen
Proof. National Numismatic Collection; Smithsonian Institution. Struck over an 1857 Bern, Switzerland, shooting thaler.
Class III - The So-Called Second Restrikes
10. Linderman Specimen
PR63. Mint Director Henry R. Linderman; Linderman Estate; Linderman Collection (Lyman H. Low, 6/1887), lot 40, not sold; Linderman Collection (J.W. Scott, 2/1888), lot 40, realized $470; James Ten Eyck; Ten Eyck Estate; Ten Eyck Collection (B. Max Mehl, 5/1922), lot 394, realized $840; Lammot DuPont; Willis H. DuPont; unknown thieves; recovered March 16, 1982; loaned to American Numismatic Association; donated to Smithsonian Institution.
11. Idler Specimen
PR60 or slightly finer. Philadelphia Mint; William K. Idler; Captain John W. Haseltine; Stephen K. Nagy; Henry O. Granberg; William Cutler Atwater; Atwater Estate; Atwater Collection (B. Max Mehl, 6/1946), lot 214, realized $2,875; Will W. Neil; Neil Collection (B. Max Mehl, 6/1947), lot 31, realized $3,125; Edwin Hydeman; Hydeman Collection (Abe Kosoff, 3/1961), lot 994, reportedly sold for $29,000, actually bought in; Edwin Hydeman; World-Wide Coin Investments, Ltd. (John Hamrick and Warren Tucker); Bowers and Ruddy Galleries; Continental Coin Galleries; Mark Blackburn; Larry Demerer; Dr. Jerry Buss, via Superior Galleries; Buss Collection (Superior Galleries, 1/1985), lot 1337, realized $308,000; Aubrey and Adeline Bebee; American Numismatic Association.
12. Adams-Carter Specimen.
PR58 PCGS. Philadelphia Mint; Captain John W. Haseltine; Phineas Adams; Henry Ahlborn; John P. Lyman; Lyman Collection (S.H. Chapman, 11/1913), lot 16,realized $340; Waldo C. Newcomer; Col. Edward H.R. Green; Col. Green Estate; A.J. Allen; Frederick C.C. Boyd; Percy A. Smith; B. Max Mehl; Golden Jubilee Sale (B. Max Mehl, 5/1950), lot 804, realized $3,250; Amon G. Carter, Sr.; Amon G. Carter, Jr.; Carter Estate; Carter Collection (Stack's, 1/1984), lot 241, realized $198,000; John Nelson Rowe, III; L.R. French, Jr.; French Estate; French Collection (Stack's, 1/1989), lot 15, realized $242,000; Rarities Group (Martin Paul); National Gold Exchange (Mark Yaffe); Heritage Rare Coin Galleries; Indianapolis Collection; unknown private collection; David Liljestrand; unknown Midwest collection; David Liljestrand; National Gold Exchange and Kenneth Goldman; Legend Numismatics; Phillip Flannagan; Flannagan Collection (Bowers and Merena, 11/2001), lot 4303, realized $874,000; Donald H. Kagin, Ph.D.; Baltimore ANA Auction (Bowers and Merena, 8/2003), lot 2026, realized $1,207,500; West Coast collector, via Kevin Lipton; Heritage Rare Coin Galleries; East Coast collector in March 2006; Central States Signature (Heritage, 4/2009), lot 2567, realized $2,300,000, to John Albanese.
13. Berg Specimen
PR55 NGC. Philadelphia Mint; possibly (but doubtful) Koch & Co., Vienna; Captain John W. Haseltine who displayed the coin at Edward Cogan's Jewett Sale in January 1876, along with a set of 1801, 1802, and 1803 proof novodels, claiming the coins came from a collection in England; Centennial Sale, Part I (John W. Haseltine, 3/1876), lot 194, realized $395; O.H. Berg; Berg Collection (John W. Haseltine, 5/1883), lot 568, realized $740; George W. Cogan; Thomas Harrison Garrett; Garrett Estate; Robert Garrett; John Work Garrett; Johns Hopkins University; Garrett Collection, Part II (Bowers and Ruddy, 3/1980), lot 698, realized $400,000; Pullen & Hanks, later with Sam Colavita; Public Auction (Pullen & Hanks, 2/1982), lot 1076, realized $190,000; Sam Colavita; Mike Levinson, in trade for eight acres of land in El Paso, Texas; Pennsylvania private collection; Harry Einstein Collection (Bowers and Merena, 6/1986), lot 1736, realized $187,000; Rarities Group (Martin Paul); American Coin Portfolios (Dan Drykerman); Laura Sommer; Chicago ANA Convention Auction (Stack's Bowers, 8/2014), lot 13146; realized $1,880,000.
14. Davis Specimen
PR40. Philadelphia Mint; probably, Captain John W. Haseltine; Robert Coulton Davis; John W. Haseltine; George M. Klein; Vicksburg Collection, Part I (W. Elliot Woodward, 5/1888), lot 1940, realized $660; Robert Coulton Davis, via J. Colvin Randall; Davis Estate; John W. Haseltine; John M. Hale; Hale Estate; R.H. Mull; Public Auction (Parke-Bernet Galleries, 5/1950), lot 221, realized $3,400; Mrs. Fullerton, daughter of H.P. Graves, purchased for her father; Henry P. Graves; Graves Estate; Davis-Graves Collection, Part I (Stack's, 4/1954), lot 1333, realized $8,000; Ben H. Koenig; Fairbanks Collection (Stack's, 12/1960), lot 576, realized $28,000; Samuel Wolfson; Wolfson Collection, Part II (Stack's, 5/1963), lot 1394, realized $36,000; Norton Simon; James H.T. McConnell, Jr., via Stack's.
15. Ellsworth Specimen, a.k.a. Driefus-Rosenthal Specimen
PR40. Philadelphia Mint; unknown intermediaries; W. Julius Driefus; Isaac Rosenthal; Col. James W. Ellsworth; Wayte Raymond; Farran Zerbe, via Guttag Brothers; Chase National Bank; American Numismatic Society.
From An Important New York Collection.(Registry values: N1)
Coin Index Numbers: (NGC ID# 24XH, PCGS# 6907)
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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