Goldberg Coins and Collectibles

Sale 13

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Lot 1144

1795 Flowing Hair Dollar. Silver plug. VF-30. 3 leaves reverse. Discovered by Ray Merena in late 1995, this extraordinary coin added a new layer mystery to the already mysterious "silver plugs" that had been seen on 1795 flowing hair dollars as this one includes adjustment marks. Doug Winter, when cataloguing the Blevin's collection for Superior in 1988 was very close when he noted on lot 3575 "…the centers show an unusual jagged circular cut which gives the impression of a plug; this is mint-made and may represent a die flaw of some sort." A few years later Ken Bressett, Tom Delorey and Roger Burdette discussed these plugs with Q. David Bowers and extensive discussion is included on pages 185/6 of the Bowers/Borckardt Silver Dollar Encyclopedia.
These silver plugs are known on several varieties, but usually on just a few coins of each. It is believed that during the planchet preparation process, sometimes planchets would be slightly underweight, and would normally have to be remelted, drawn and cut to size again. Someone at the Mint decided to use the 1792 silver center cent as an example, and drill out the center of the blank silver dollar planchet, insert a larger silver "plug", and strike the coin normally. The plug would flatten out and become a part of the coin, increasing the weight to the required standard. Ray Merena noted on this specimen that it has not only a silver plug, but also adjustment marks on the lower reverse rim. Why would someone add, then take away weight from the same planchet? Both the silver plug insertion and adjustment marks occurred prior to striking, so we can't be sure which came first, the plug or the adjustment marks.
The coin itself is very choice for the grade, steel gray in color, with rubbed silver high points on the devices and very clean surfaces and rims. The plug is small but can be seen on both sides, and the adjustment marks reside through the eagle's tail feathers and the rim below. Broken out of an NGC slab where it was graded as VF-30.
Estimated Value $4,000 - 6,000.
Sold by Bowers and Merena in their Rarities Sale, August 1999, lot 232 and purchased by John Haugh privately sometime after the sale.

Realized $8,338

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