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1794 Flowing Hair Dollar


Variety BB-1, B-1 - NGC MS64

  Obverse: Variety BB-1, B-1 - NGC MS64

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Reverse: Variety BB-1, B-1 - NGC MS64

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Destined from the beginning to be a classic rarity, the first silver dollars of the United States saw a tiny mintage.  Due to the inadequacies of the coinage press and the impurities in the raw silver, overall production quality was very low, forcing a suspension of minting until better equipment was in place.  Just 1,758 pieces were released, all delivered on October 15, 1794.  From this small mintage, perhaps just 140 specimens remain today, with over one-third severely impaired and more than half grading VF or lower.

The Cardinal Collection specimen ranks as the fourth finest specimen overall, and the single finest graded by NGC (exceeded only by three superb gems, each graded "66" by PCGS).  The Cardinal specimen traces its provenance to the famed Frederick Charles Cogswell Boyd, whose collection was so exceptional it was dubbed the "World's Greatest Collection" when auctioned in 1945.

The Cardinal specimen bears a truly amazing strike for a 1794 dollar, with complete denticulation around both obverse and reverse, and with all of the peripheral legends and devices quite clear.  Indeed, the left-side weakness normally seen on 1794 dollars (due to the skewed alignment of the original dies), is far less pronounced on this specimen than generally seen.  The centers of both sides display extraordinary definition, with complete hair details to Miss Liberty and clearly visible breast feathers to the eagle.

Virtually free of the planchet adjustment marks that plague this issue, and essentially untoned, the coin's surfaces are alive with vibrant sparkling cartwheel luster.  When offered at auction during the 1983 ANA Convention, Steve Ivy described it as displaying "a frosty sheen which would be unusual even on a Morgan Dollar," and went on say it was "the single most important coin in the history of our company."


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