US Coins

1794 Flowing Hair dollar, a legendary rarity, sells for $64,625

A 1794 Flowing Hair dollar with some problems including obverse tooling brought $64,625 at Heritage's Jan. 7 FUN auction.

Images courtesy of Heritage Auctions

Heritage’s U.S. coin auctions at the Florida United Numismatists show in Orlando took place between Jan. 7 and 12. With more than 8,000 lots totaling in excess of $70 million crossing hands, the vast scope of these sales meant that many series were presented in depth.

For example, more than 120 early dollars of the Flowing Hair (1794 to 1795) and Draped Bust (1795 to 1804) types were offered. Although no 1804 Draped Bust dollar was in the mix, many early silver dollars were sold at affordable price points, even though the concept of affordability is all relative. 

Here is one of three Coin World is profiling:

The coin: 1794 Flowing Hair dollar, Very Fine Details, Tooled

The price: $64,625

The story: The 1794 Flowing Hair dollar is a legendary U.S. rarity and while approximately 2,000 examples were struck, just 1,758 examples were issued, and that lower number is the recorded mintage. Of those, around 125 to 150 examples remain today, and the 1794 Flowing Hair dollar is prized as the first silver dollar issued by the Philadelphia Mint.

The demand for and rarity of this issue place huge price pressure on the small supply. A different example, considered the finest known, sold for more than $10 million at auction in 2013.

The present example graded Very Fine Details by Professional Coin Grading Service is more affordable, with an old cleaning and some evidence of tooling on the left obverse. The description calls it a “still-attractive representative of this rare and historic issue.”

It sold for what may be considered a reasonable $64,625. A different example, graded PCGS VF-30 brought $188,000 at Heritage’s Aug. 7, 2014, American Numismatic Association auction. 

Keep reading this Market Analysis series:

Least expensive early U.S. dollar sold at FUN auctions damaged but handsome

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