Q. David Bowers: The following narrative, with minor editing, is from my "Silver Dollars & Trade Dollars of the United States: A Complete Encyclopedia" (Wolfeboro, NH: Bowers and Merena Galleries, Inc., 1993). Note: the Notable Specimens list should be used with caution - it has been updated in my 2013 edition of "The Encyclopedia of United States Silver Dollars 1794-1804."
OBVERSE 13: Close date, about 9.5 mm. at widest part. The 8 much too high, and out of position, top leaning to right. Identifiable by the presence of a tiny horizontal obverse die flaw at the inner point of star 12 (visible only on higher grade specimens); tinier similar flaw at star 1 L Highest wave of hair incomplete, probably from a lapped die (although I have never seen an impression from an earlier, unlapped state). This same obverse die was used for numerous other varieties.
Obverse die used to strike BB-113 (1st use), 1798 BB-114 (2nd use), BB-115 (3rd use), BB-116 (4th use), BB-117 (5th use), BB-118 (6th use), BB-119 (7th and final use).
REVERSE K: See description under 1798 BB-110. In this combination, a light die crack extends above S, through tops of OF, right wing tip, to border above first A in AMERICA.
Reverse die used to strike 1798 BB-110 (1st use), BB-111 (2nd use), BB-112 (3rd use), and BB-113 (4th and final use). See discussion of die states under 1798 BB-110.
Die State I: Obverse: Perfect die, not relapped. Reverse: Perfect die. May not exist.
Die State II: Obverse: With a faint crack from denticles toward center of 9 to bust. Reverse: With it light die crack above S, through tops of OF, right wing tip, to-border above first A in AMERICA. Cf. Norweb: 3756. The die state usually seen.
Die State III: Obverse: With a faint crack from denticles toward center of 9 to bust. Reverse dies as II, but now with additional cracks from arrowhead through the wing to STA. The Spies Collection (Stack's, 1974) had a VF example.
COLLECTING NOTES: The 1798 BB-113 is of medium availability, I estimate that 500 to 800 exist. This is one variety of 1798 for which numerous AU and Mint State coins are known, the latter grading up through and including MS-65.
Garrett Specimen, MS-65. Bowers and Ruddy Galleries, Garrett Collection, 1980: 689. "Choice Brilliant Uncirculated, MS-65. Well centered, well struck, and nearly full brilliant . This piece is virtually in the same condition as when it was struck. A very faint nuance of golden color."
Norweb Specimen. MS-60+. B. Max Mehl, November 1954: 10. Bowers and Merena Galleries, Norweb Collection, 1988: 3756. "MS-60 to 63. Gorgeous bright silver surfaces, accented on the obverse by splashes oflight gold. Exceedingly sharply struck and well detailed."
Earle Specimen. MS-60. Henry Chapman, George H. Earle Collection, 1912. Schuyler Collection .. M.H. Bolender, Bolender Collection, 1952: 78. "Perfect dies. Uncirculated, sharp impressions.” Lester Merkin, A.J. Ostheimer, 3rd Specimen, 1968:268. "Perfect dies. Frosty, lightly toned Uncirculated, light bagmarks."
1953 NENA Convention Specimen. MS-60. 1953 New England Numismatic Association Convention. K. P. Austin Collection. A. J. Ostheimer, 3rd Collection. Superior Galleries, Gilhousen Collection, 1973: 1243. "Very deeply toned Uncirculated, sharply struck.” Superior Galleries, ANA Convention Sale, 1975: 896. "Reverse cracked. Very deeply toned Uncirculated, sharply struck. The toning is partly iridescent, and conceals full, nearly flawless mint surface. A good strike, the silhouette of Liberty's chin, lips, and nose is outstanding. Not perfectly centered, obverse and reverse." . Pine Tree, Brown Library Sale, 1976: 312. "Frosty, sharply struck choice Uncirculated, deeply toned, mostly in shades of blue and gunmetal.” Pine Tree, 1977 FUN Convention Sale, : 450 . Pine Tree, Breen III Sale, 1978: 602. "Deeply toned Uncirculated. A needle-sharp impression except in centers on both sides, so that paradoxically eagle's breast and head are not full. Blue and gunmetal overlying mint frost."
Anderson-Dupont Specimen. MS-60. Stack's, Anderson-Dupont Collection, 1954:2501. "Uncirculated. Weakly struck on reverse borders; one very small flaw near ribbon."
Hollinbeck-Kagin Specimen. MS-60. Hollinbeck-Kagin June 1970:616. "Uncirculated with lovely bluish golden patina, sharp stars & denticles at edge!" Hollinbeck-Kagin, November 1971:1333. "Uncirculated with attractive patina, sharp struck!"
Marks Specimen. MS-60. Bowers and Ruddy Galleries, Robert Marks Collection, 1972:75. Bowers and Ruddy Galleries, Austin Collection, 1974:18. "Brilliant Uncirculated, sharply struck.” Stack's, Greater New York Convention Sale, 1987:869. "Brilliant Uncirculated. Full hair detail and all stars sharp to centers. Full cartwheel lustre, with light golden toning on the reverse. Die break at upper right reverse, and a thin break from curl across throat."
Tercentenary Sale Specimen. MS-60. Kagin's Tercentenary Sale 1974:1149. "Uncirculated with glittering golden lustre, close examination reveals spot on collar not completely full."
Stack's Specimen. MS-60. Stack's, ANA Convention Sale 1976:1334. "Brilliant Uncirculated, nicely struck and centered. A touch of friction in the centers."
Heifetz Specimen. MS-60. Superior Galleries, Jascha Heifetz Collection, 1989:2392. "Deeply toned with irregular midnight blue at the centers, lighter iridescent blue at the rims. A few marks are noted about the fields and devices."
Willasch Specimen. MS-60. Superior Galleries, H. Roland Willasch Collection, 1990:506. "Dark irregular toning, perhaps from an artificial source, on both sides. Deep blue color about the periphery and original mint bloom ooze up from flawless fields. Rims are clean, boldly struck. Middle die state with reverse crack along rim above S OF A in STATES OF AMERICA sharp."
Sign up for our FREE Newsletter!