1795 $1 B-9 BB-13 Silver Plug MS (PCGS# 39991)
The January 2013 Americana Sale
Lot Number: 13212
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The damage consists of two dull marks on Liberty's head, one at her temple, the other at the top of her head in her curls. A similar and probably related mark is noted on the eighth star and LI of LIBERTY and on the corresponding section of the reverse. These silver plugs were probably a step saving expedient for the Mint to raise the overall weight of a silver planchet. If the planchet was too light and below the mandated legal weight tolerance, it would otherwise have to be melted, cooled and drawn through the huge rollers again to the right thickness and cut out of the planchet strip. Thus, if a hole could be drilled through a lightweight planchet, and a heavier plug inserted, when struck the planchet would then pass the weight test and be within the narrow tolerances allowed. Curiously the silver plug would flatten out and become part of the coin, some almost disappearing in the striking process, others showing their full outline on both the obverse and reverse. The center of the coin was likely chosen for the location of the plug as this would spread the striking pressure over the dies more evenly from the additional silver, otherwise if the plug was placed near the edge it would have the effect of misaligned the dies and probably cause die damage or cracks. Plugs vary in size and width, with the current plug showing as wide and oblong on both sides. Average surfaces otherwise with a few scuffs and scrapes, the damage is localized and not that distracting. This variety is scarce, and with the silver plug center is seldom offered or seen.