220 years old. Quite an addition
I recently traded 12 of my last lesser coins for one that will crown my collection as the oldest one. USA type.
It is a 1795 FLOWING HAIR S$1. In XF40
Two years ago, at a Stacks and Bower auction my coins cousin sold for $10,016,875. The mouth watering desiree the 1794 Flowing Hair Silver Dollar, a suberb Gem Specimen, finest known to exist. So, while the purchasing power of our US$ has gone down over the years, the value of our coins increases in value far beyond our dreams.
The sale mentioned above was up 30% from the previous sale.
I doubt seriously one of my coins will ever become that highly prized unless I find one in a dusty old garage sale.
The Founding Fathers of the fledgling United States, made the Dollar the cornerstone of our monetary system in the Coinage Act of 1792. More than two years passed however, between the time Congress authorized dollar coinage and the actual production of the first such coin,the Flowing Hair silver dollar. Congress specified that the Mints Chief Coiner and Assayer, needed to post bonds of $10,000 each before they could work with precious
metal, which represented more than six times their annual salary of $1,500. Only copper coinage could be produced, until the total $20,000 bond could be satisfied.
David Rittenhouse, the first Mint Director, requested that Thomas
Jefferson, the Secretary of State at that time, help in removing this roadblock in minting Americas first Dollars. In March of 1794, Jefferson appealed to Congress to lower the bonds to $5,000
for Chief Coiner Henry Voigt, and $1,000 for Assayer Albion Cox. He also put up the money himself, so the Mint
could produce the remaining U.S. coinage denominations.
His annual salary was a whopping $2,000.00 annually.
The Mints first Engraver Robert Scot, prepared designs months
earlier, while the bond issue was in debate. The Dollars size
and weight were based on the Spanish dollar, which was popular in trade throughout the Americas at that time. Scots initial design depicted a bust of Liberty, while his reverse featured an eagle, both required by the 1792 Coinage Act. The obverse featured a right-facing portrait of a youthful female figure whose hair flowed freely behind her, to signify freedom. The word LIBERTY appears at the top the dentilled rim, with the date at the bottom, and 15 six-point stars around both sides of Lady Liberty, split eight to the left, seven to the right along the rim, which represented the number of States in the Union at that time.
The reverse was modeled from a 1792 25-cent pattern piece that had been designed by Joseph Wright, who died of yellow fever in 1793, after serving briefly as Mint engraver. In the center a small, spread-winged, right-facing eagle is perched upon a rock and surrounded by 2 olive branches crossed and tied at the bottom, and slightly separated at the top. The left wing (viewers right) is in front of the olive branch wreath, the right behind it. The motto UNITED STATES OF AMERICA encircles the coin. No denomination or mintmark appears on these coins, as all were minted in Philadelphia.
The edge of Americas first Dollar, has the inscription HUNDRED CENTS ONE DOLLAR OR UNIT with decorative ornaments separating these words.
1795 Flowing Hair Silver Dollars have two different major die varieties, commonly referred to as &amp;amp;quot;2 Leaves and 3 Leaves describing the leaves on the reverse leaf clusters surrounding the eagle.
The 2 Leaves variety is approximately three times as rare and valuable as the 3 Leaves variety, according to the PCGS population Report as of September 2011. Mint State examples of both varieties are extremely rare and very valuable. PCGS has graded only a dozen examples of the 2 Leaves variety. The finest known 1795, 2 Leaves Silver Dollars certified by PCGS are a pair of MS65 graded dollars... until recently when NGC graded a recently discovered 1795 Flowing Hair Dollar SP65.
The First U. S. Mint Engraver, Robert Scot, created the Flowing Hair Silver Dollar, which were only produced for two years,
from 1794 to 1795. Coin blanks for the Flowing Hair dollars
were weighed before the coins were struck, blanks that were too-heavy were filed down to remove excess silver. These adjustment
marks, are often still visible, as a reminder of the history associated with this early coin production. Underweight blanks were adjusted using a small silver plug in the center of the planchet, which was an easier and less expensive solution, rather than melting down the unacceptable coins and starting over.
On a single day, October 15, 1794, a mere 2,000 Flowing Hair silver dollar were struck at the Philadelphia Mint from a single pair of dies. Out of the 2,000 Silver Dollars, 242 were found to be underweight and were eventually reused as planchets the following year. The remaining 1,758 pieces that were delivered by the Chief Coiner for circulation. Chief Coiner Voight, stored many of these first dollars in the Mints vaults, before giving them to Mint Director Rittenhouse the following May 1795.
Mint Director Rittenhouse presented a few of these dollars to VIPs as souvenirs, but also made a point of exchanging some them for Spanish dollars, in order to get the new coins into public
circulation. Rittenhouse never distributed all the coins, because he had to resign due to failing health in June of 1795.
The new Flowing Hair Silver Dollars were not well received by the Early Americans, as the older, heavier Spanish and Mexican pieces continued to circulate as the preferred medium of exchange.
Further dollar production was suspended until a new press Coinage was ordered in 1794 after it was determined that the existing presses were too small to fully strike the large dollars.
A new larger coin press capable of imparting fuller, stronger strikes was constructed specifically for the minting of the 1795 dollars. Beginning in early May of 1795, around 160,295 Flowing Hair Dollars dated 1795 were struck for Circulation on the new coin presses. Later that year, in October 1795, this first dollar design gave way to a new Draped Bust Dollar,making the Flowing Hair Dollar just a two-year type coin.
Today, the survivors of the short-lived Flowing Hair design dollars are of the utmost rarity and desirability within serious numismatic circles. There are around 120-130, 1794 Dollar survivors today, in all grades. The 1795 Silver Dollar is
more common, but the demand from type collectors keeps prices high. Over 2,000 1795 issues are listed in census population reports. Mint state pieces of both dates are extremely rare. There are no official mint records of Proofs for either year, but a unique 1795 dollar was recently graded a specimen strike
by NGC as SP65. Flowing Hair dollars are highly desired by serious collectors, not just because of their great rarity, but also because they possess such a powerful link with the birth of our nation, and the beginning U.S. coinage.
Just for fun, the following records are reproduced here:
Top Valuable Flowing Hair Dollars:
1794 $1 PCGS Specimen-66 (PCGS). CAC Sold For: $10,016,875.00
1794 $1 PCGS Specimen-66 Sold For: $7,850,000.00
1794 $1 MS61 NGC Sold For: $747,500.00.
1794 MS63 PCGS Secure Plus Sold For: $1,500,000.00 (not verified)