Goldberg Coins and Collectibles

Sale 48

Lot 1215

1794 Flowing Hair Dollar. PCGS graded VF-35. Well struck on a virtually problem-free planchet with lots of detail for the given grade. No serious rim bruises, gouges or other imperfections usually associated with this coin. We note one tiny antique scratch on the forehead, mentioned mainly for identification purposes. All a uniform slate-grey in color.

For a 1794 dollar, this one is remarkably well struck, with all the stars visible, and all of the reverse lettering present. The usual weakness due to the strike and to adjustment marks seems to be absent here, or nearly so. Liberty's hair retains good separation on all but the uppermost wave over her ear, which shows the expected wear. We note areas of slightly deeper gray tones around the rims.

It is believed the 1794 dollars were coined on October 15, 1794 from silver bullion deposited by David Rittenhouse, and all silver dollars coined on this date were delivered to David Rittenhouse (Breen and Collins, in their draft of the 1794 silver dollar manuscript). Thus, all 1794 silver dollars can trace their pedigree to David Rittenhouse, who passed them out to friends, many of whom kept them, others were spent and circulated. The silver bullion deposited by Rittenhouse varied greatly, and there were often gas bubbles in the silver ingots, which later caused laminations and planchet cracks, which plague a good percentage of the 1794 dollar population (fortunately absent here).

The 1794 silver dollar is an American classic, it is the first year of issue of our monetary Unit, was struck in extremely limited numbers, with the total known population between 130 and 140 coins in all grades. Pop 8; 25 finer. (PCGS # 6851) .

Historic Note: The mintages were small throughout 1794-1803 because little demand existed domestically for silver dollars due to a mismatch in the silver-to-gold minting ratio vis a vis actual market conditions. This caused silver to be exported. 1794 Dollars were 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 of its existence had a preference for half dollars as more convenient than the silver dollars, ordering more of the smaller denomination than the larger. As best as we can understand, the silver dollar 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 orders from President Thomas 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.
Estimated Value $140,000 - 160,000.

Realized $192,625

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