Goldberg Coins and Collectibles

Sale 13

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Lot 1150

1796 Draped Bust Dollar. Large date, small letters. NGC graded EF-40. This is almost certainly the famous coin Bolender referred to in his reference work on Early Silver Dollars in 1950 and this was offered in 1952 when Bolender sold his famous collection February 23, 1952. As we know, all Bust dollar errors are extremely rare. In particular, this coin is very unusual in that only one side has been double struck, and what later became the obverse has no evidence of a prior striking. How could this come to pass? Logic dictates that two planchets were accidently fed into the coining press which were approximately lined up, with the planchet used to strike this coin on the bottom. The two planchets were struck, the upper planchet receiving the reverse impression, and this planchet received the obverse impression. The error was discovered, and it is likely that both planchets were restruck. For the coin here, the planchet was flipped over, then restruck. Between UNITED and STATES the date is still plainly visible, along with Liberty's drapery lines and several stars, although these details were flattened out by the second strike. One less spectacular area of note is that Liberty's profile is seen in the clouds below the eagle, her lips and chin just above the bow knot and part of her nose resides on the right ribbon loop. The other planchet used in the initial strike, with the reverse doubled, has apparently been lost, as no auction reports of a double reverse struck 1796 dollar have been located.
As an aside, this die pairing has a deep bubble in the die steel, which had collapsed by the time this coin was struck, leaving a lump between IC of AMERICA, and where this bubble formed in the die the coins struck have a large raised lump in that area. If both sides of this coin were double struck, then this die lump would be located approximately where the 13th and 14th stars are on the obverse, and we see no evidence of the lump in that area.
The coin itself has a lovely gun metal gray color, there are some trivial adjustment marks on the left obverse rim and the surfaces show minimal handling marks and light hairlines. A delightful coin for the specialist.
Our consignor had read about this coin in the Bolender book many years ago, and kept a weather eye out for it, when it appeared, he quickly snatched it up where it became one of the highlights of his error collection. Although we have no photographic or definitive evidence that this is the Bolender coin, we are confident based on the description that this has to be the same specimen sold in his sale of 1952. This coin is also mentioned in the Bowers/Borckardt reference under the notable specimens.
Estimated Value $7,500-UP.
From the Col. Green collection which was purchased and sold by B. G. Johnson and Eric Newman, later in the Gettys collection where it was purchased by Milferd H. Bolender, and sold in his auction sale of his collection, February 23, 1952, lot 26 for $42.00; and more recently it appeared in a Bowers & Merena Rarities Sale, January 1999, Lot 1171 and the John Haugh collection.

Realized $8,050

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