A pair of coins from the early years of the U.S. Mint await bidders
in Heritage’s Feb. 21 to 26 auctions held in conjunction with the Feb.
22 to 24 Long Beach Coin, Currency, Stamp & Sports Collectible
Show in Southern California.
One noteworthy offering is the Elder example of the 1794 Flowing
Hair silver dollar, graded Very Fine 35 by PCGS. Its first recorded
offering is in a Sept. 3, 1910, Thomas Elder auction where it was
photographed as part of the Peter Mougey Collection and described
simply as, “Head of Liberty undraped. Standing eagle. About Fine.
Extremely rare” and it realized a then-robust $150. Of course, grading
standards were different in the early 20th century and numismatists
know much more today about the production characteristics of the issue.
Longtime authenticator explains how
counterfeiters up their game in their efforts to rip off the marketplace.
Also inside this issue, we provide a solution to examining those
tiny dimes in your collection.
The Elder dollar crossed the auction block nearly a century later
at Heritage’s January 2007 Platinum Night auction at the Florida
United Numismatists convention where it sold for $207,000. It is
distinguished by a small planchet flaw between the eighth star and the
1 in the date on the obverse, and a long, thin scratch from the top of
OF to the top of AM on the reverse. A few light scratches are seen on
each side along with faint adjustment marks near the obverse rims, but
Heritage concludes, “This is a highly attractive example of a
midgrade, moderately circulated 1794 dollar.”
1794 Flowing Hair dollars are in demand as representing the first
year that silver dollars were struck at the Philadelphia Mint, and it
is estimated that perhaps 150 survive from an original delivered
mintage of 1,758. The 2010 book by Martin Logies of the Cardinal
Collection Education Foundation, The Flowing Hair Silver Dollars of
1794: An Historical and Population Census Study, records 134 distinct
examples. The issue holds the #20 ranking in the book 100 Greatest
U.S. Coins by Jeff Garrett and Ron Guth, and many of the known
examples have significant problems, like heavy cleaning, repairs or
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A 1799 Capped Bust, Heraldic Eagle gold $10 eagle graded MS-64 by
PCGS is a particularly lustrous and handsome example. Listed as the
BD-7 variety of the date in the Bass-Dannreuther reference, it is the
more common 1799 with Small Obverse Stars type, as distinguished in
the “Red Book” from the 1799 Large Obverse Stars gold eagle.
Heritage calls it “extraordinary,” recording, “The pristine surfaces
of this brilliant lemon-yellow example have trivial, microscopic marks
of no consequence, with delicate peripheral rose patina that enhances
the eye appeal.”
Heritage also writes that it represents an advanced die state —
meaning that the coin was struck toward the end of the life of the
dies — with multiple die cracks in the stars on the obverse and a
faint crack that joins the date digits at their bases. The reverse
also has a short die crack. Light die clash marks are seen on both sides.
Heritage concludes that with its blend of eye appeal and technical
interest, this 1799 Capped Bust gold $10 is “a true prize for the
connoisseur of early gold coinage.”