1794 $1 MS (PCGS# 6851)


  • Auctioneer:
    Heritage Auctions
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Lot Description
1794 $1 VF30 PCGS. B-1, BB-1, R.4. Collectors have avidly pursued the 1794 silver dollars from the earliest days of the hobby. An example of this date was featured in the first all coin auction sale held in this country, the Roper Sale (M. Thomas and Sons, 2/1851), lot 22, item number 4. From that time until the present day, the 1794 silver dollar has been a focal point for any auction catalog it has appeared in. The charisma of the issue cannot be overstated, and well-heeled collectors sometimes opt for this date over the much less expensive 1795 dollar when forming a top-of-the-line type set. Of course, no collection of early silver dollars can be complete without this premier date. Its status as a first-date-of-issue is another inducement for advanced collectors to compete for this special prize. The coins are treated as numismatic treasures today, but initially they were greeted with less enthusiasm. An early newspaper account in the New Hampshire Gazette noted "... the touches of the graver are too delicate, and there is a want of that boldness of execution which is necessary to durability and currency." The author of this report was referring to a fault characteristic of nearly all 1794 dollars. The strike on the left obverse, and the corresponding area on the reverse of virtually all 1794 dollars is weak, sometimes to the point where the date is unreadable and only faint outlines of the stars can be seen. This defect is the result of inadequate equipment used by the Mint in its initial attempt at large silver coinage. In 1794, there was no screw press large enough to adequately strike coins of this size in such a hard metal. The equipment was adequate for half dollar size coins, and did a fine job on the softer copper large cents, but silver dollars were beyond its capability. To make matters worse, the coiners set up the dies unevenly in the press, so the already weak impression was especially soft on the left side of the coins. An estimated 2,000 specimens
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