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The NGC Universal ID is a four digit alphanumeric that groups coins based on a unique combination of date, mintmark, denomination and striking process (MS, PF, or SP). These IDs are a simple organization of all coins prior to variety attribution and grading.
The earliest dollars struck and dated 1795 are known by most collectors today as 'Flowing Hair Dollars.' The Flowing Hair design was eventually replaced by the Draped Bust, Small Eagle type. According to Walter Breen, 'This new design represented the fulfillment of a dream for the new Mint Director, Henry William DeSaussure. On his accession, he had named his two ambitions: to place gold coinage into circulation, and to improve the design of all denominations, particularly of silver coins. To this purpose, he engaged the illustrious portraitist Gilbert Stuart, who submitted a drawing of Mrs. William Bingham (the former Ann Willing) as Ms. Liberty.' Breen further notes that John Eckstein, an artist, translated this drawing into 'models' (perhaps in plaster as Bowers later noted) for Mint Engraver Robert Scot. Eckstein received $30.00 on September 9, 1795, for his two 'models.' Breen postulates that the second of these is likely to have been the small eagle on clouds.
Bowers noted in his Silver Dollars of the United States regarding the Draped Bust, Small Eagle dies, 'The obverse portrait punch is of high quality and is superbly engraved, with a wealth of minute detail. Whoever made it, Robert Scot or John Eckstein, was extremely skilled. The reverse punch of the Small Eagle on billowy clouds is likewise superbly done. The wreath is sophisticated as well. The left side of the wreath, with olive leaves, bears a stylistic resemblance to the Three Leaves wreath, as the individual leaf elements are similar in appearance, with raised or outlined edges.'
It is likely that the 1795 Draped Bust dollars were first struck in October 1795. The Draped Bust, Centered dollar is much rarer in Mint State than its counterpart with Liberty placed to the left. When his book was published in 1993, Bowers listed 20 'Notable Specimens' of 1795 B-14, BB-51, ranging in grade from MS63 to MS66. By contrast, only six specimens of 1795 B-15, BB-52 were included in grades ranging from MS63 to MS65. Only three of these six were graded MS64 or higher and only one of these reached an MS65 grade, the 'R. Tettenhorst Specimen. MS.65 PL' (which is likely the plate coin in the Bowers book, page 224).
Description and Analysis courtesy of Heritage Auctions and may not be republished without written permission.
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