US Coins

Silver dollars set to sizzle in July auction by Legend

Silver dollars are expected to top bidding at Legend Rare Coin Auctions’ July 15 Regency Auction 46 in Las Vegas, led by one of the finest 1799 Draped Bust dollars.

The coin, graded Mint State 66 by Professional Coin Grading Service, represents the B-5, BB-157 variety in the series references. It had reportedly been with the same family from 1799 to the 1960s, before appearing in auction for the first time in 1990.

It sold at Heritage’s January 2012 Florida United Numismatists auction, where it realized $260,015, and more recently at Legend’s October 2020 offering of Bruce Morelan’s early dollar collection where it brought $182,125.

Legend’s catalog description praises “a distinctive toning pattern that is easily identifiable by the splashes of sea-green/olive, deep slate blue, pewter-silver, and russet-tan that form an irregular shaped pattern surrounding an ancient fingerprint,” along with a sharp strike and unique eye appeal. The Heritage 2012 entry cited the Bowers-Borckardt Silver Dollar Encyclopedia, which lists 22 known 1799 Draped Bust silver dollar die pairings, which break down into 11 obverse and 16 reverse dies that struck a recorded mintage of 423,515 dollars in 1799.

When offered at the 1990 Superior auction, that cataloger wrote, “Here is a Draped Bust, Heraldic Eagle Silver Dollar that teeters on the edge of absolute perfection! One often wonders, indeed, where such a sharp coin lay hidden all these many years; for clearly it has been kept aside since Day 1 by generations of knowledgeable numismatists, men and women who respect American coinage at its finest, men and women who through merest chance, came to own what must rank as one of the all time great 1799 Silver Dollars.”

In Las Vegas it carries an estimate of $200,000 to $250,000.

Two key Morgan dollars

Two challenging Mint State Morgan silver dollars both carry estimates of $50,000 to $55,000 at the Legend auction.

An 1889-CC Morgan dollar graded MS-63 Prooflike by PCGS features a green Certified Acceptance Corp. sticker, and, as the rarest Carson City Mint dollar, is always in heavy demand from collectors.

Legend writes, “Add to that the incredible, fully reflective luster, sharp strike, and blazing luster, this coin is a very impressive CHOICE Brilliant Uncirculated example,” concluding, “The visual allure is big, bold, and beautiful.”

Rusty Goe explains the key issue’s charm to collectors of the series in his recently published book The Confident Carson City Collector, Volume 3, when he writes, “Every collector building such a set will breathe a big sigh of relief (and derive much satisfaction) when this date’s slot is filled. When a person utters the words ‘1889-CC Morgan silver dollar’ power pumps through the mind (and up from the chest) and is exhaled through the mouth.”

Less well-known but even rarer is a 1901 Morgan dollar, the offered coin graded MS-64 by PCGS, also with a green CAC sticker.

The date is the rarest Philadelphia Mint Morgan dollar in Uncirculated grades. Legend explains, “A prize in ANY Mint State grade, the closer to GEM you get on the grading scale the rarer this coin gets,” before stressing, “Exactly three dozen have been graded MS64 or finer at PCGS — and that is after 36 years of grading operations, and many different old-time hoards of Mint State Morgan dollar bags appearing — no large quantity of 1901 dollars have ever come out.”

The offered rarity is well-struck, with brilliant luster, and the cataloger describes “creamy silver white iridescent hue in the fields.”

It is virtually unavailable in higher grades, placing pressure on nicer MS-64 representatives like the subject offering. For reference, another example graded PCGS MS-65 with a green Certified Acceptance Corp. sticker sold for $288,000 at Stack’s Bowers Galleries in November 2020.

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