See also : Coin Dollars and eagles Silver coins
Chronology : 1790-1799
1793 Chain Cent
2015 SOLD for $ 2.35M by Heritage
Mass production will begin with the One Cent. That small coin worth 1/100 of a dollar, was eagerly anticipated. It had to assess that the federal government was able to circulate a currency suited to everyday life. It was not the first trial. The United States had produced from 1787 in 400,000 units a coin of this value, the Fugio cent in copper, stopped two years later because its inscriptions were not compliant with the new Constitution.
From October 1792 the rise in the price of copper creates a major difficulty. The Mint tries unsuccessfully to develop a bi-metallic copper-silver cent by alloying or plugging. On January 14, 1793 the Congress agrees to reduce the copper weight from 264 to 208 grains for a come back to a One Cent ln pure copper. This is not enough : the weight is then reduced to 168 grains (13.48 grams).
It is decided not to wait anymore. President Washington's birthday celebrations will last one week starting on Saturday, February 22. The federal One Cent must be available to users on Saturday, March 1st, eleven months after the Coinage Act.
The new coin is actually released on the scheduled day, in 11,178 units. Its design provokes an immediate reprobation at the factory. In the emergency the engraver miscalculated the circular arrangement of the letters on the reverse, inscribing United States of Ameri without ending the word America.
The Chain Ameri are thus the very first coins available for trading under the act of 1792, S-1 in Sheldon nomenclature. On January 10, 2019, Heritage sold for $ 1.5M as lot 4312 a coin in a great condition, graded MS64+ Brown by PCGS and CAC stamped. It even kept traces of the original color of the copper inside some deep incisions better preserved from corrosion. Only one other Ameri, not graded by PCGS, may be considered finer. Please watch the video shared by the auction house.
The publicists are immediately upset. The reverse side that consists mainly of a circle of fifteen links symbolizing the unity of the states is interpreted as a slave chain.
This chain symbol was not new and its presentation to the general public did not by itself generate a political misunderstanding. However, we must admit that the designer was not skillful. The Fugio cent already had a chain but its round links were soft. With its aggressive oval links, the chain cent was really unacceptable.
The correction of the blunders of the Chain cent was feverish. No less than three changes are made in less than two weeks, probably by at least two engravers who have not been identified. They are referred as S-2 to S-4 by Sheldon.
The S-4 got rid of all original defects. On the reverse the word America appears in full. On the observe the figure of the Liberty is more flexible, the word Liberty and the date 1793 are more readable at the top and bottom of the image and both are improved with periods.
An S-2 graded MS65 Brown by PCGS was sold for $ 1M by Stack's Bowers on January 22, 2013. An S-3 graded MS65 Red and Brown by PCGS was sold for $ 1M by Stack's Bowers on February 9, 2016. The best ranked Chain cent is an S-4 graded SP (specimen) 67 Brown by PCGS.
Belonging to the S-4 variant, one of the best chain cents had not appeared at auction since 1890. Graded MS66 Brown by PCGS, it is remarkable for its bold strike and perfect readability uncommon in old copper coins. It was sold for $ 2.35M by by Heritage on January 7, 2015, lot 4011.
An S-4 graded MS65 Brown by PCGS was sold twice by Heritage, for $ 1.38M on January 4, 2012, and for $ 1M on June 14, 2018, lot 3776. Please watch the video shared by the auction house.
The chain cent had been struck during only twelve days which were enough to wear the fragile dies already produced in this variant and to prepare its successor, the wreath cent whose elegant plant motif was unassailable.
Mint records indicate the release of 36,103 chain cents. The wreath cent, which was only a transition model designed for this situation of emergency, was produced in only 63,353 units, for a financial total still limited to $ 630 quite unable to serve the needs of the country..
The disgust inspired by the chain cent contributes greatly to the fact that some units were not handled and are still intact, which is not the case for the best wreath cents. Nevertheless the wreath cent from the Cardinal collection was graded 69 by PCGS. It was sold for $ 560K by Stack's Bowers on January 24, 2013.
2013 SOLD for $ 10M by Stack's Bowers
A further pair of dies is created to insert the fifteen stars in the circumference around the head of Liberty. A copper trial piece is kept at the Smithsonian.
Regarding silver, a unique coin has the characteristics of a specimen as defined by PCGS : superior minting quality and shiny appearance. It has been compared with the Smithsonian prototype : the state of the dies is exactly the same, with no added wear, and the sharpness of the line is perfect.
This coin is certainly the first federal silver dollar. It was struck in October 1794 at the Philadelphia Mint before the very last limited rework of the dies and the launch of the first production batch.
Graded SP66 by PCGS, it was sold for $ 7.85M in private sale in May 2010 and then for $ 10M at auction by Stack's Bowers on January 24, 2013, lot 13094. It passed on October 8, 2020 at Legend Rare Coin Auctions, lot 11.
1,758 units were supplied to the cashier on October 15, 1794. Technically, this lot was premature. The available press was not suitable for the required diameter, larger than the previous silver dime. The alignment of the dies did not resist, weakening the strike and limiting the output.
In the opposite the preparation of the specimen had been extremely careful. The silver planchet had been fitted with a plug and the weight of the specimen is almost perfect, only 0.24 grains (15 mg) above the 416 grains prescribed by the Coinage Act. Its splendid reflectivity has no equivalent among the 135 surviving units. It may be the sample presented to President Washington by Secretary of State Edmund Randolph. It surfaced in 1942 in the deceased estate of Colonel Green with an earlier provenance from the Virgil Brand collection.
ex Strickland and Lord St. Oswald
2021 SOLD for $ 6.6M by Heritage
Ingots are bought to cover $ 2,000 in the new coinage. The production is done in one day, 15 October 1794. 1,758 pieces are released.
This yield below the target is due to a drift of the strike during the operation, in part because that coin was too large to enable a repetitive adjustment of the weight. Manufacturing is suspended. There will be no further 1794 $ 1 coin.
On September 30, 2015, Stack's Bowers in association with Sotheby's sold for $ 5M from a lower estimate of $ 3M the best silver dollar of the 1794 production batch, lot 2041. graded MS66+ by PCGS. It was sold for $ 6.6M by Heritage on August 18, 2021, lot 3021.
It had been the winner 35 years ago of a friendly confrontation by direct inspection with the only other example in the same grade.Its provenance explains its exemplary preservation.
The war with the former colonial power has been over since November 1783. English visitors are welcomed. A gentleman farmer named William Strickland later 6th Baron of Boynton arrived on September 20, 1794. This economist who comes to study prices and wages in the American agriculture is introduced in the best circles.
Strickland left back for England in July 1795 with a small collection including 35 federal coins that were most likely obtained by him directly at the US Mint.
Fallen in oblivion inside a Chippendale cabinet since the early 19th century, the Strickland collection remained in its original state without any addition. His two 1794 flowing hair dollars were among the best preserved of that type. The group surfaced in 1964 in an inventory by Christie, Manson and Woods in the property of the 4th Baron St. Oswald, descendant of Strickland's son-in-law. The dates of the coins stored in the box match the time spent by Strickland in the USA.
The 1794 #FlowingHairDollar is a storied rarity that requires no introduction. From a tiny mintage of only 1,758 coins comes his amazing PCGS MS66+ example with CAC approval.— Heritage Auctions - Coins (@heritagecoins) August 11, 2021
Lot No. 3021 I August 18 - 22 ANA WFOM #USCoins Signature Sale No. 1333 https://t.co/qcsEAGrCyw pic.twitter.com/o5QtxpmqE1
2nd ex Strickland and Lord St. Oswald
2017 SOLD for $ 2.8M by Stack's Bowers
The other dollar from that provenance comes immediately behind at position 4 in the condition census. Graded MS-64 by PCGS, it was sold for $ 2.8M by Stack's Bowers on August 3, 2017, lot 2113.
This first US dollar is extremely rare in perfect condition. Only six coins are certified Mint State by PCGS.
Please watch the video shared by Stack's Bowers from a post sale interview with Coin World.
The eagles dated 1795 were produced with the first gold stock delivered to the factory for this operation. Of generic type Capped Bust Right - Small Eagle, they are divided into five sub-variants according to the pairing of the front and back dies. The most visible difference is the number of leaves on the palm branch below the eagle on the reverse. These variants linked to the difficulties of mechanical reproduction of the dies do not represent a chronological classification.
The first delivery of 744 half eagles is performed on July 31, 1795, followed on September 22 by the first 1,097 eagles. The production of eagles marked as 1795 lasts until March 1796 before the availability of the 1796 dies. Numismatists recognize five sub-variants of the 1795 eagle numbered BD-1 to BD-5 by Bass and Dannreuther, differentiated by the marriage of the dies while no chronology is established.
The quantities issued with the mark of 1795 are low : 8,707 half eagles and 5,583 eagles. The quarter eagle will wait for the following year. The double eagle, not defined in 1792, will be launched in 1849.
In commercial matters, success is not immediate. Eagles, even less suited for these transactions than the half eagles, did not extensively circulate and some coins remained in mint state while their early owners were waiting for better times.
2022 SOLD for $ 3.36M by Heritage
The finest BD-3 example in private hands, graded MS63+ by PCGS, was sold for $ 3.36M by Heritage on January 13, 2022, lot 3793.
#HERITAGELIVE 1795 Capped Bust Right #Eagle, MS63+ Rare 9 Leaves, BD-3 Variety - the finest-certified example sold tonight for $3,360,000!— Heritage Auctions (@HeritageAuction) January 14, 2022
#JohnDannreuther calls this issue "the king of the Small Eagle type." https://t.co/cP0Uwq0zEA pic.twitter.com/4kOdt9TGTj
Exceptional Early Eagle! □□ An attractive and lustrous prize for the numismatic connoisseur. The 9 Leaves reverse variety is listed as one of the 100 Greatest #USCoins. Dannreuther. 1795 $10 9 Leaves, BD-3, R.6, MS63+ #PCGS. CAC.https://t.co/WFQz0GoqFY#CoinCollector pic.twitter.com/VOySW2eOEN— Heritage Auctions - Coins (@heritagecoins) January 5, 2022
2015 SOLD for $ 2.6M by Stack's Bowers
The BD-5 variant, as rare as the BD-4, is topped by two MS65 coins, both sold by Heritage. One of them, graded by NGC, was sold for $ 680K on 9 August 2013. The other, graded by PCGS, was sold for $ 880K on 7 August 2014.
1796 No Stars Quarter Eagle
2022 SOLD for $ 2.16M by Heritage
The first design was the capped bust facing right, with no star in the obverse border. The reason why the stars were omitted has not been documented. Nevertheless it was designed in the period when the mint ceased to display the ever changing number of states before standardizing in 1797 on the founding figure of the 13 colonies.
It was limited to two production runs, in September and December 1796, for an estimated total of 963 pieces. It was superseded by the with stars variant with a mintage of 432 pieces at the date of 1796.
A 1796 no stars quarter eagle was sold for $ 2.16M by Heritage on January 13, 2022, lot 3780. Graded MS62+, it is the second highest at PCGS and has a great eye appeal. Two other coins have been graded MS63 by NGC.
#HERITAGELIVE 1796 BD-2 No Stars #QuarterEagle, MS62+, The sole second finest at PCGS, Ex: Jung'An American #Numismatic Treasure' sells for $2,160,000!— Heritage Auctions (@HeritageAuction) January 14, 2022
The Jung-Simpson specimen is the only MS62 piece with a Plus designation. https://t.co/MNuPpol5QX pic.twitter.com/phAYk3kxHK
2008 SOLD for $ 1.73M by Heritage
1796 Quarter Dollar
2022 SOLD for $ 1.74M by Heritage
The half disme is the value used for the first experimental production and then comes back in 1794. The half dollar begins in 1794. These first two small silver denominations are produced in 1794 and 1795 in the flowing hair variant of Miss Liberty.
The design changes in 1796 for the new obverse variant with the draped bust. The disme and the quarter dollar appear for the first time on that year. The half dollar will be interrupted from 1798 to 1800 inclusive and the quarter from 1797 to 1803 inclusive. Their reverse die features the small eagle as opposed to the heraldic eagle that will supersede it when the production of these values will restart.
The first silver coins of a quarter dollar were released in 1796 by the Philadelphia Mint. One of them is arguably the finest silver coin from that early period. Coming from the Eric P. Newman collection, it was sold for $ 1.53M by Heritage on November 15, 2013, lot 33327.
This piece in mint condition is graded MS67+ by NGC. From that time when coins from first strike (proof coins) were not yet attracting private collectors, it is even better : a specimen made with highest care to get the best possible sample. Both sides had a double striking and the reeding was made with a special planchet. It is also perfectly centered.
The result is spectacular, both for the accuracy of the carving and for the color. It was made with new dies, and the line is so sharp that experts perceive tiny cracks from the tools that are no longer detectable on subsequent coins of lesser quality.
On both sides, the color is typical of an old silver coin that has never circulated, in an elegant gradient slightly bluish on the borders and bright yellow-orange on the figures.
A coin graded MS66 by PCGS was sold for $ 1.74M by Heritage on January 13, 2022, lot 3755. This proof-like evenly centered piece is certainly an early strike for its die pair which possibly came first in the production sequence : its sharpness is exceptional for that single year variety.
#HERITAGELIVE And SOLD! The 1796 B-2 #QuarterDollar, MS66— Heritage Auctions (@HeritageAuction) January 14, 2022
First Year of the Denomination, from the #FoxfireCollection just hammered at $1,740,000 in Session 4 of our FUN US Coins Signature® Auction! https://t.co/Byyvn0pY2W pic.twitter.com/Y8svCJlWAh
1797 Half Dollar
2021 SOLD for $ 1.68M by Stack's Bowers
The half dollar continues as best it can to the date of 1796, with the new Draped Bust Small Eagle design, in two variations by the addition of a sixteenth star which marks Tennessee's entry into the Union. The minuscule total, less than 2,000 pieces, can be explained by a desire for the factory to maintain the know-how despite the finding of an excess of silver in the available bullion.
The production dated 1797 is made in May for a total quantity of 2,984 pieces, using broken dies which generate big cracks. In August, yellow fever closes the factory, putting an end to this phase of mediocre production. At the reopening three months later, silver dollar and gold coins have priority. The half dollar is restarted in 1801 with a new heraldic eagle reverse.
A 1797 half dollar graded MS 65+ by PCGS was sold for $ 1.38M by Stack's in July 2008 and for $ 1.3M by Heritage on August 9, 2014.
The exceptional Pogue collection included three of the best examples of the draped bust fractions of the dollar, listed in the first session in 2015 by Stack's Bowers in association with Sotheby's.
The finest 1797 half dollar, graded MS 66 by PCGS with a stunning visual appeal, was sold by Stack's Bowers for $ 1.53M on May 19, 2015, lot 1103, and for $ 1.68M on March 25, 2021, lot 4081.
The Pogue quarter dollar at lot 1051 was sold for $ 1.53M from a lower estimate of $ 750K. Graded MS66 by PCGS. It is one of the best specimens of this rare variant limited to 1796.
The Pogue half dollar of the same grade from the only other year of this variant, 1796, was sold for $ 820K, lot 1102. The ephemeral feature of this 1796 coin modified to sixteen stars for welcoming Tennessee in the Union is highly rare.