1795 $1 Silver Plug MS (PCGS# 6854)

2008 May Long Beach, CA Signature Auction #1108

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    Heritage Auctions
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Lot Description
1795 $1 Flowing Hair, Two Leaves, B-3, BB-11, R.5 AU50 NGC. CAC. Silver Plugged. The Mint produced only copper cents and half cents in 1793, due to the onerous requirement that Chief Coiner Henry Voigt and Assayer Albion Cox each post a $10,000 surety bond before accepting gold or silver deposits for coining. It was 1794 before Congress lowered those enormous sums to $5,000 for Voigt and $1,000 for Cox, and the Mint commenced striking silver half dollars and dollars. But the presses were inadequate for silver dollars: Of 2,000 pieces produced on October 15, only 1,758 were released--many of them below par. Director David Rittenhouse left office in June 1795, succeeded by William Henry DeSaussure, whose chief tasks were to begin gold coin production and improve silver coinage designs. In May 1795 the Mint finally obtained a press with sufficient pressure to make silver dollars, and coinage resumed. The first 1795 silver dollars were of the Flowing Hair design, ceding later in the year to the Draped Bust, Small Eagle design, purportedly the delight of DeSaussure. The silver-plugged dollars (three or four similar half dollars exist, as well as a single 1794 dollar) were created in 1795, and at least five different Bowers-Borckardt varieties are known. A thin silver sliver was added to the blank planchet to increase the weight by punching a hole in the planchet and inserting the sliver, which extended slightly past the planchet surface. At striking, the dies pressed the sliver down and out across the surface, imparting the design at the same time. If all of these early changes in procedure, equipment, and design indicate an approach in the early Mint that was somewhat "seat-of-their-pants," well ... it was. "If this doesn't work, we'll try something different" was very much the rule of thumb. Many numismatists believe the present B-3, BB-11 Two Leaves variety is the first die marriage for the year. On the obverse the third curl from the top turns down and touches the fo
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