1795 Flowing Hair Silver Dollar. BB-26, B-12. Rarity-5. Bowers Die State III. Three Leaves. AU-55 (PCGS). Secure Holder.
Finest-Known 1795 BB-26, B-12 Flowing Hair Silver Dollar
This is one of the rarer die marriages of the 1795 Flowing Hair Silver Dollar, and it is described thus in the 1993 book Silver Dollars & Trade Dollars of the United States: A Complete Encyclopedia by Q. David Bowers:
1795 BB-26 is believed to exist to the extent of 100 to 150 coins, most of which are in lower grades up to and including VF. Fine grade seems to be about par for this variety, an issue which must have circulated very extensively. The variety is very rare EF and unknown in Mint State. Any specimen which grades EF or higher is Condition Census level.
In his 1881 Type-Table, this was one of the varieties J.W. Haseltine designated as 'excessively rare.'
A fitting introduction to our offering of this, the finest-known example of a rare early Dollar die marriage.
Through plate matching we have determined that this piece is the plate coin for the variety on page 215 of the aforementioned Silver Dollar Encyclopedia by Q. David Bowers. The coin is identifiable by a concentration of criss-crossing adjustment marks (as made) in the center of the obverse, another concentration of lighter adjustment marks along the obverse border outside stars 3-6, a small X in the right-obverse field inside star 10 and a tiny reverse abrasion below the left (facing) ribbon end. Research conducted by early Dollar specialist W. David Perkins confirms that this coin was once part of the William F. Gable Collection (auctioned by S.H. Chapman in 1914) and, later, the collection of Frank M. Stirling. Incidentally, Perkins believes that BB-26 is even rarer than Bowers states, and he assigns the variety a Rarity-6 rating and accounts for only 30 or so survivors. (Perkins' findings about both this coin and the 1795 BB-26 are unpublished as far as this cataloger knows, although they were included in the description for lot 8117 in Heritage's sale of July 2003.)
The bold die crack (as struck) from the lower-obverse border, through the digit 7 in the date and into Liberty's portrait to the ear confirms not only the BB-26 die marriage, but also the Die State III attribution. Unlike most examples of this die state, however, this coin is boldly struck throughout to include the centers. (This feature impressed Q. David Bowers when he handled this coin in the 1980s for, in his Silver Dollar Encyclopedia, he states of this piece: "An AU-55 examined by the author had excellent center detail on obverse and reverse.") Both sides are lightly-to-moderately toned in a mostly pearl-gray hue, the color perhaps a bit bolder on the obverse. Aside from the aforementioned pedigree markers there are no marks of note, and ample evidence of a satin-to-semi-reflective finish is still readily evident in the fields as the surfaces dip into a light. Advanced early Dollar specialists take note: once this coin sells it may be many years before it finds its way back onto the open market. An extremely important opportunity to acquire a Condition Census #1 Flowing Hair Silver Dollar.
Pedigree: Ex: The William F. Gable Collection (S. H. Chapman, 5/1914), lot 614; unknown intermediaries; The Frank M. Stirling Collection; The 1986 A.N.A. Mid-Winter Auction (Heritage, 2/1986), lot 1322; The Ebenezer Milton Saunders Collection Sale (Bowers and Merena, 11/1987), lot 372; The Brooks Collection Sale (Bowers and Merena, 6/1989), lot 161; The Father Flanagan's Boys Home Sale (Superior, 5/1990), lot 450; The James L. Moore Collection (Heritage, 7/2003), lot 8117.