Description and Analysis

Early Dollars

Description & Analysis

The 1798 silver dollar with Heraldic Eagle reverse is among the more common dates of this type. It's large published mintage certainly hints at that fact, though this number is larger than the estimated figure for silver dollars actually bearing the 1798 date. The U. S. Mint was compelled to be thrifty with its dies, using them for as long as they remained serviceable, regardless of the date they carried. In his book on early dollars, Q. David Bowers estimated that 140,000-150,000 of the dollars coined during calendar year 1798 were actually dated 1795-97, with another 35,000 or so bearing the 1798 date but with the Small Eagle reverse. He further estimated that about 235,000 1798 Heraldic Eagle dollars were struck in all, this number including ones struck during 1799 and, possibly, 1800.

This issue may be divided into two major varieties, the earlier coins displaying the Knobbed 9 typical of earlier dates, while the later and more plentiful dies feature the Pointed 9 that carried on into the following date. An amazing total of 31 die marriages have been recorded for this large issue. Rare marriages include BB-93, BB-101, BB-110 and BB-114. Rarer still are BB-91, BB-103 and BB-117.

A fair number of Mint State survivors are known of this type dated 1798, and all are highly prized by both type collectors and series specialists. The certified population of coins grading Very Fine and Extremely Fine is high enough that even the more budget-minded collectors can secure an example.