Don't take 1795 silver dollars
By Paul M. Green - Numismatic News
The 1795 silver dollar
seems to be an available date because of its 203,000 mintage,
but top-grade examples are hard to find.
The 1795 silver dollar's 203,033 mintage
isn't very impressive. It suggests that it is available, but
that is relative to other silver dollars. When you compare
the 1795 to most coins from any other period, it's suddenly
a pretty tough coin and an important one as well.
In 1795 the United States Mint was not up
to speed. As the year dawned, the Mint had produced only large
cents, half cents, silver dollars and half dollars. There
may have been a small mintage of half dimes in 1794.
The silver dollar situation had been something
of a failure. The 1794 mintage stood at just 1,758 pieces.
The Mint did not have the right equipment to make silver dollars,
so the 1794 attempt resulted in a lot of rejected coins.
In 1795, however, the right equipment had
arrived and a more serious dollar mintage was possible. The
design would remain the same. The 1794 and 1795 are the only
two years to feature the Flowing Hair obverse.
The 1794 is $55,000 in G-4, and the 1795
is $1,250 for the two-leaves variety and $1,150 for the three-leaves
variety. The price differences is greater in Mint State, and
that makes virtually all the type demand focus on the 1795
because it is much less expensive.
There might be 5,000 or so examples of the
1795 known today, but don't start getting the idea that a
nice XF or AU coin is easy to find. The average 1795 is going
to be well circulated. The vast majority will be no better
than F-12 and many will fall below G-4. The United States
in 1795 was a tough and rural place. The people did not place
their coins in safe places, and their hands were dirty with
tough labor. A coin in circulation got a lot of rough wear.
The coins were not always perfect as they
left the Mint. It was common for them to have adjustment marks
to make the planchet the right size. The dies were not well
detailed, and the strikes were many times light in one area
Certainly in top grade any 1795 is tough
with or without the flaws. At NGC they show about 22 examples
in Mint State from 470 or more graded. The PCGS total of over
1,400 has produced just 25 in Mint State.
Even in lower circulated grades a 1795 silver
dollar is a classic treasure of early America. These were
dollars made at a time when Washington and Jefferson were
active in the affairs of the nation.
These dollars represented a large sum of
money to the common people of the day who had served in the
ranks at a terrible cost in lives to bring American freedom.
A little honest wear from the time is almost more interesting.
The 1795, while available, is in higher demand
than one might expect. Those who love American history are
likely to want an example. Just because there are supplies,
don't take them for granted.