1798 $1 B-19 BB-106 MS (PCGS# 40023)

The August 2013 Chicago ANA World's Fair of Money

  • Auctioneer:
    Stack's Bowers
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Lot Description
1798 Draped Bust Silver Dollar. Heraldic Eagle. B-19, BB-106. Rarity-5. BB Die State IV. Pointed 9, Wide Date. AU-53 (PCGS). Deeply toned with steel-gray that is fairly uniform along with russet accents on the high points of the design. The surfaces appear to be average for the grade assigned. This example is within the Condition Census for the variety and stands alone as the fourth finest reported. The die pairing is scarce due to the fact that the obverse die fractured with a vertical bisecting crack likely from the very first coin struck. Die hardening was not as advanced at this point, so after the dies were engraved they were heated to red hot, then hardened by throwing them in a bucket of cold water, this causes the die steel to strengthen and become quite hard, ideal for striking coins. However, when the die cools all at once, the center of the die remains hot, and can actually cause the die to fracture early on during coinage. In the first six years of coinage at the Philadelphia Mint, a number of dies exhibit bisecting cracks apparently from the first coin struck. A new technique developed in mid year 1799 appears to have solved this problem, but squirting a narrow cold water stream into the center of the heated die in order for it to cool more slowly and from the center of the design outward. While bisecting cracks continued to form, they were no longer seen from the absolute beginning of coinage after this time on such a regular basis. The bisecting crack on this obverse die forms through the 1 up through Liberty to the E of LIBERTY and out the rim, virtually all specimens show this crack known today.
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