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SERIES: Flowing Hair Dollars 1794-1795
LEVEL: Minor Variety or Die Variety

1795 $1 B-8 BB-15 2 Leaves (Regular Strike)

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40.00 millimeters
Robert Scot
27.00 grams
Metal Content:
90% Silver, 10% Copper
Auction Record:
$23,000 • PCGS Fine Details • 1-6-2010 • Heritage
Condition Census (Explain)
Pos Grade Thumbnail Pedigree and History
1 XF40 PCGS grade
Condition Census (Explain) Show fewer rows
Pos Grade Thumbnail Pedigree and History
1 XF40 PCGS grade
Q. David Bowers: The following narrative, with minor editing, is from my "Silver Dollars & Trade Dollars of the United States: A Complete Encyclopedia" (Wolfeboro, NH: Bowers and Merena Galleries, Inc., 1993). Note: the Notable Specimens list should be used with caution - it has been updated in my 2013 edition of "The Encyclopedia of United States Silver Dollars 1794-1804"

Obv: Portrait II (Head of '95)
Rev: Eagle I, Wreath I (2 leaves)
(B-8. H-8.)

OBVERSE 3: Flowing hair in six prominent curls. The second curl from the bottom points down to an inside ray of star 2. Very prominent shoulder loop. Stars 3 and 4 on the left are slightly closer together than the others. Stars 6 and 7 are slightly wider. On the right, stars 11 and 12 as well as stars 14 and 15 are closer than the rest. Star 1. touches the bottom of the lowest curl; the curl continues to almost completely close a circle. Star 8 is closer to base of L than star 9 is to base of Y. Star 15 is far from the bust, exactly 2 mm. from the bust tip. Wide date with the 1 and 7 wider apart than the other digits. The bust is high in the field, over 2.5 mm. above the 5 and under 1 mm. from LIBERTY at its closest point. LIBERTY is wide with LIB more widely spaced than the letters in BERTY.

This die bears a very close resemblance to the die used to coin BB-21, BB-22, and BB-23; especially with regard to the high position of the head and the relationship of the hair curl to the first star, and was probably created by the same person around the same time.

M.H. Bolender noted that the head is not well-centered, but too high and too far to left; however, this is neither definitive nor unique to the variety.

Obverse die used to strike 1795 BB-15 only.

REVERSE D: Two leaves under each wing of eagle. Nine berries on the left branch, 10 on the right branch. Two berries inside the right branch, at the eagle's tail. No letters of the legend touch any leaf. The T of UNITED touches the eagle's dexter (observer's left) wing, while the R of AMERICA appears to touch the sinister wing but actually just misses. A berry on the outside of the right branch is below the extreme left loot of the first A in AMERICA. A die scratch extends into the field from a denticle left of the first A in AMERICA.

This is one of just two 1795 reverses with two berries inside the branch near the eagle's tail (the other die is that used to coin. 1795 BB-20, BB-21, and BB-24). This-reverse die bears a very close relationship with the reverse used to coin 1795 BB-20, BB-21, and BB-24, and another die used to coin 1795 BB-23, and must have been prepared by the same person about the same time.
Reverse die used to strike 1795 BB-15 and BB-16.


Die State I: Perfect dies. May not exist with perfect obverse die.

Die State II: Obverse: A vertical crack extends from the hair above the forehead down to the base of the neck, extending' through the tip of hair behind the eye; through the ear lobe and along the back of the neck; the crack passes through the right edge of the center dot. No traces of this crack extend beyond the portrait into the fields. Actually, this crack appears more as a change of elevation, with the surface of the portrait to the right of the crack slightly higher than the details of the hair to the left. It is possible that this is an unusual form of internal die crack, perhaps beginning at the center dot. Another possibility is that the portrait hub punch was cracked, and the crack was transferred to this working die. If this was the case, then the obverse of BB-15 would have been the last time this punch was used. The reverse shows no cracks, nor evidence of lapping.
-AUCTION POPULATION SURVEY: Very Good: 2, Very Fine: 7, Extremely Fine: 1. Total: 10. However, an examination of the plates reveals that at least four of these were misattributed; hence, there were no more than 6 auction appearances net. Probably some of these were also misattributed and/ or duplicate offerings of the same coin(s).

COLLECTING NOTES: 1795 BB-15 remains a prime rarity, with possibly only four positively identified. M.H. Bolender wrote this in 1950:

In 40 years the author has seen only two specimens! One of these was handled by him four times, but was recognized as the same example. Doubtless a very few others are hidden away in collections, but without any doubts, Bolender-8 is "excessively rare" as stated by Haseltine. His specimen was not in the Haseltine sale catalogue of 1881, having been withdrawn beforehand and sold privately. Rarity 7.

However, Dr. Robert Stark advised that within a two-year period he saw three different specimens offered, one of which was repaired. (Letter to the author, January 3, 1993)

Boyd Specimen. VF-25. World's Greatest Collection, F.C.C. Boyd, Numismatic Gallery, 1945: 9. Numismatic Gallery's 1949 ANA Sale of Adolph Freeman's Collection, Lot 143 M.H. Bolender Collection, Bolender, 1952: 9. "A little wear on high parts of hair and eagle, but VF and well-centered even impressions." K.P. Austin. AJ. Ostheimer, 3rd. ANA Convention Sale, Superior, 1975: 801. VF-20. H. Roland Willasch Collection, Superior, 1990: 446. VF-20. "Medium gray toning with faint cleaning lines atop the surfaces. Very well centered and only a few marks, a couple below Liberty’s eye and another on the eagle's neck. Faint die line is visible on all examples. The obverse 1. is sharp die crack from Liberty’s forehead through her ear, neck and terminating at the top of her shoulder. This crack probably affected the striking as this and the Blevins coin show doubling on some letters of LIBERTY and a few stars." [Referred to here is "machine doubling," caused by die chatter.] Jim Matthews Collection. (Coin illustrated in the present book; QDB and the present owner grade it as at least VF-25)

Reiver Specimen. F-15 . The Jules Reiver Collection coin. Blevins Specimen. F-12 net. (VF-25, repaired.) The H.W. Blevins Collection, Superior, 1988: 3590. "VF-25, silvery gray with some light golden orange reverse toning, exceptionally well struck with bold, raised borders, some tooling in the right obverse field which is probably the result of some initials or scratches having been removed, reverse choice and some lustre remains."

Fox Specimen. VG-8 net. (VF-20, damaged.) Marmaduke Fox Collection, M.H. Bolender, 1951. Spies Collection, Stack's, 1974:10. "The head is poorly centered although well executed. VF, but noticeably damaged by some severe dents obverse and reverse." Bolender said he handled this coin four times. Heritage, Frank M. Stirling Collection, February, 1986: 1321.

Haseltine Specimen. Grade not known. J.W .Haseltine's specimen was sold private prior to the auction sale of his collection in 1881. Presently untraced.