Goldberg Coins and Collectibles



Sale 63


 
Lot 867

1794 B-1, BB-1 Rarity 4. PCGS graded AU-58 PQ. CAC Approved. Housed in a new secure plus holder. Pop 1; 6 finer, 1 in 62+, 1 in 63+, 1 in 64, 2 in 66, and 1 in SP66. A marvelous example of this extremely important United States coin! Iridescent blue and green shades can be seen tucked into the devices beautifully. The date is quite bold. According to Martin Logies (the author of the book "The 1794 Dollar"), this could easily qualify as a MS61. While adjustment marks are evident on both sides, they aren't distracting but rather add to the sensational originality.

Silver dollar mintages were small throughout 1794-1803 because little demand existed domestically for this coin. The first United States Mint struck coins to order, for the most part. Bankers and others deposited silver and gold with the Mint, which the Mint's workers turned into coinage and then delivered to the owners of the precious metals.

Those depositing silver with the Mint in the first years showed a preference for the more convenient half dollars than for the silver dollars, ordering more of the smaller denomination than the larger. As best as we can understand, the silver was too large for small transactions but too small for convenient transportation or storage of large sums. Many 1794-1803 silver dollars were melted.

Striking silver dollars that were only going to be melted (or exported) was wasteful of the Mint's production capacity. Production of this denomination ceased after 1803, possibly under the orders of President Jefferson. The halt in production for the silver dollar proved more than temporary. It wouldn't be struck for circulation again until 1840, at the second Philadelphia Mint.

In the Beginning.

In 1794, the mint did not have a coining press powerful enough to strike Dollar-size coins, the largest being used for Large Cents and Half Dollars. Therefore, this Half Dollar press was employed to strike the first American Silver Dollars. It was soon revealed that it could not fully strike the design on the left side of the coin (the dies being slightly misaligned). Although the left hand stars and upper portion of the left side reverse letters are normally weakly impressed, they are completely visible to the naked eye.

All known strikes of this issue were made on October 15, 1794. The designs were by Robert Scot, originally from England, who also personally cut the dies. All silver specimens known to us show weakness in the strike at the left obverse and reverse, as described, due to skewing or oblique alignment of the dies; the unique copper specimen with lettered edge, apparently intended as a Proof or Pattern, does not show this skewing and therefore may have been struck first or on a separate occasion. It is conceivable that a few silver strikes were made before the skewing occurred and thus would have a full strike at the left sides, but we cannot recall having seen any, nor do we have any record of sale of such a specimen (PCGS # 39972) .

Historic Note: Mint records indicate that only 1,758 silver dollars were minted in the initial year of production, 1794. Of that number probably no more than 90-100 pieces are believed extant today in all grades. This coin has very little actual wear, but there are innumerable adjustment marks around each side that detract somewhat from its overall desirability. The adjustment marks that are so prevalent were commonly done in the early days of the mint to planchets that were overweight. A file was drawn across the surface and excess metal removed by this method until the planchet was brought down to the desired weight. It was a crude method, but such practices give early American coins an undeniable charm. This piece is most readily identifiable by a toning spot in the exergual area above the space between the 1 and 7 in the date. The unique configuration of the peripheral adjustment marks also help identify this as the Connecticut Historical Society specimen.
Estimated Value $500,000 - 600,000.
Ex: CT Historical Society/Hesselgesser Collection.


 
Realized $575,000
 



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