1800 $1 Wide Date (1800 Silver Dollar), Low 8 AU58 NGC. B-10, BB-190, R.3. This early 1800 Silver Dollar is lustrous with a lovely combination of lilac-red, sea-green, and cobalt-blue toning. There is sufficient separation among the lines of Liberty’s hair at the top of her head, the hair over her ear, and in the drapery to warrant the grade. The strike is full on the obverse and almost so on the reverse with just a touch of minor incompleteness in the upper left of the shield.
The 1800 silver dollar is the second Draped Bust type called the Heraldic Eagle Reverse. It was made from 1798 to 1804. The design shows a draped bust of Liberty facing right. Above is LIBERTY, and below is the date. Seven six-pointed stars are to the left and six are to the right. The portrait, taken from a drawing by the famous artist Gilbert Stuart, is of Ann Bingham. John Eckstein translated this drawing to models for Engraver Robert Scot. Evidently Eckstein made the models poorly, which might explain why Stuart’s family refused to acknowledge his role in the coinage design. The heraldic eagle reverse shows the eagle with up stretched wings and a Union shield on its breast. A banner inscribed E PLURIBUS UNUM curls across the left wing and under the right. Except for the wing tips, the inscription UNITED STATES OF AMERICA is in an arc near the periphery. Thirteen stars are above the eagle’s head under the clouds in an arc pattern. Dentils are near the edge on both sides of the coin. The edge is lettered HUNDRED CENTS ONE DOLLAR OR UNIT with ornamentation between the words.
In what some have called colossal design blunder, Robert Scot placed the arrows in the wrong talon. On the left side, the eagle’s right talon, arrows symbolize aggressive militarism. They should have been placed in the left talon with the olive branch in the right. If this rearrangement was unintentional, it shows a new, inexperienced country that can’t even get its symbolism correct. If this was a deliberate rearrangement, it shows a young country taking an aggressive stance during a time of conflict. In 1799 the country was engaged with France in an undeclared naval war. Perhaps this symbolism was being used to make a statement to France and others about the sovereignty of the United States.
This specimen is from the Queller Family Collection of Silver Dollars. It is identified as BB-190. The obverse die of this pairing has a wide date, especially the 00, and the 8 is too low. The 7th star is far from the L in LIBERTY, and the 1st star is farther from the hair. The reverse has a die flaw just to the left of the second T in STATES. Also a star seems to be entering the eagle’s mouth as it touches the upper part of the beak. All the stars above touch clouds except for the one under cloud 7. The first A in AMERICA touches both the 3rd and 4th feathers. AM is joined at the bottom.
The 1800 dollar had an original mintage of 220,920. This figure includes all varieties. In its population report NGC has certified 19 BB-190’s. In AU58 this coin is one of 4 tied for the highest grade. At PCGS there are 31 in all grades and 3 in AU58. (These numbers do not account for crossovers and resubmissions.) When collectors refocus on early date silver dollars and an emphasis is placed on collecting by die variety as it is for Morgan and Peace dollars, the highest graded pieces such as this one will explode in demand and value.
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