Goldberg Coins and Collectibles

Sale 13

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Lot 1148

1796 Draped Bust Dollar. Small date, large letters. Sharpness of AU-55 but ornately engraved and holed. The obverse of this coin is ornately engraved "A gift from Capt Smith to A Phelan Dec. 7". with the Dec. 7 just above the date 1796. Through Liberty's bust is a moderate hole so the coin could be worn as a necklace. No engraving is noted on the reverse. Both sides show some stray scratches, some of which were used to line up the letters, as well as some file marks on the rim above the last couple of stars and other marks probably occurred during the engraving process. Remarkably, the coin shows very little wear, and the eagle retains nearly full breast feathers.
Who was Capt. Smith? Why did he give such a precious gift to A. Phelan? Obviously, this was a treasured memento and one senses that this coin was cherished by the owner for many years. Toned with a lovely silvery gray hue throughout, and certain to elicit far more questions than answers to the person who buys this piece of American history.
We checked on Genforum on the internet and noted there is a large posting for the "Phelan" family, and with some research feel that the mystery of who gave this coin can someday be unraveled.
We also noted the Baker Library and Historical Collections has a page with several Smith's and a reference to Annie Phelan, which could possibly the person referred to on this coin, and we thank W. David Perkins for his assistance in locating this reference via the search engine Google.
Placing a value on this coin is very difficult. This is certainly far more desirable than the usual holed and scratched Bust dollar, and best of all, this coin has a story to tell. Engraved or counterstamped Bust dollars are extremely rare, and seldom offered. Most transactions are between collectors, so the price paid is not reported. Needless to say, this is an exciting coin and feel that it will remain a cherished item in any collection.
Estimated Value $5,000-UP.
From the John Haugh collection and purchased privately.


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