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1795 Flowing Hair Dollar

Silver Plug - Two Leaves, Head of '94


Variety BB-11, B-3 - PCGS AU55

  Obverse: Variety BB-11, B-3 - PCGS AU55

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Reverse: Variety BB-11, B-3 - PCGS AU55

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In addition to the “Two Leaves” and “Three Leaves” varieties of flowing hair dollars, the Redbook also recognizes a “silver plug” variety, which is not actually a distinct die variety itself, but, rather, is an artifact of production.

During the early years, the Mint did not possess the technology to produce coin planchets or blanks of precisely the required weight every time.  Some planchets were too heavy, and Mint employees would use rough files to scrape off some of the precious metal to reduce or adjust them to the correct weight.  The resulting “adjustment marks” are quite common among early dollars, especially the very first years.  By contrast, with the silver plug coins, the planchets were too light to start with, and rather than wasting the time to remake the planchet from scratch, Mint employees would drill a hole near the center of the planchet and insert a plug of silver to raise the weight to the correct level.  Once the coin was struck, the plug would flatten out and become less apparent, visible only by a difference in toning from the rest of the coin, or a slightly perceptible border along the edge of the plug, and the plug is generally apparent on both the obverse and reverse of the coin.  Silver plugged specimens are known to exist in several die varieties.  It is unknown just how many such Mint-made silver plugged dollars exist today.  Experts estimate the number at between 30 and 80 - making them quite rare indeed.

The pictured coin is a rare silver-plugged specimen of the very rare BB-11 die variety, believed to be the very first die variety of silver dollar coined in 1795.  Graded by PCGS as AU55, the coin is not only one of the very finest silver-plugged dollars in existence, it is also the very finest of the BB-11 variety.  Quite sharply struck for the variety, the surfaces are toned in light shades of gold and blue, and the fields display the smooth prooflike character of a very early striking from the dies.  Quite probably one of the very first minted of all 1795-dated dollars, this coin traces its provenance to the historic Garrett Collection.


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