1799 $1 MS (PCGS# 6878)

2012 January 4-8 US Coins & Platinum Night FUN Signature Auction- Orlando #1166

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    Heritage Auctions
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Lot Description
1799 $1 7x6 Stars MS66 PCGS. B-5, BB-157, R.2. Bowers-Borckardt Die State II. The present Premium Gem 1799 silver dollar is one of two coins for the entire year certified at PCGS in this grade, with none finer (11/11). Bright mint luster complements variegated, irregular patina that is generally brighter silver-gray in the centers, yielding to sea-green and rose color closer to the rims on each side. If the rather miraculous surface preservation and immediately identifiable coloration were insufficient to pedigree this piece, it is also easily recognizable by a thumbprint that has blended into the toning on the bust of Liberty and the obverse field before the face. The U.S. Mint made only two nongold denominations in 1799, large cents and silver dollars, but the former are rare, the latter common -- even if the present conditionally extraordinary silver dollar is anything but. The Mint was underemployed and poorly thought of in Congress, and the average citizen of the late 18th century seldom saw a circulating American coin. The Mint would strike no silver half dimes, dimes, or quarters in 1799 -- among the few denominations that might circulate to some extent. The situation was so dire that Mint Director Elias Boudinot, a man of industry and initiative, would write to Matthew Boulton of the Soho Mint in Birmingham, England, inquiring about the possibility of obtaining all-new steam-powered machinery to improve Mint efficiency -- an effort that would take another four decades to achieve. The two largest gold denominations of 1799 rounded out the coinage complement, the half eagle and eagle; again, the former is rare, the latter common. The year 1799 was a signal one in Mint and American history for many reasons other than its status as the harbinger of a new century. Our nation's first (and among its greatest) presidents, George Washington, died on December 14. Future collector extraordinaire Joseph Mickley was born, a man who would become famous when he would begin
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