1893. (Probably, this is just a nice story.)
Idler specimen. 411 grains. Found in the estate of Philadelphia coin dealer William Idler (father-in-law of John W. Haseltine) in 1908.
Data such as these indicate that no example of the 1804 Class III dollar is known to have appeared on the market before 1875. Four of the six coins are directly traceable to Haseltine.
Weights of 1804 Class III dollars: Per the above, Class III dollars seem to fall into two weight categories: Pre-1837 weight of 416 grains: Adams, Davis, Rosenthal. Later weight of 412.5 grains: Berg, Linderman, Idler.
Concerning Class III 1804 dollars, as all are believed to have been made no earlier than 1858, and as the authorized weight for dollars 1858 and late!" was 412.5 grains, I believe that either special heavy planchets were made at the Mint to strike some of these (Adams, Davis, Rosenthal specimens), or, they were overstruck on silver dollars, from the 1798-1803 era (which were available on the numismatic for $1.20 to $1.50 or so each): However, no traces of undertypes have been been. The lightweight coins (Berg, Linderman, Idler) may have been struck on current silver dollar planchets, or even overstruck in current silver dollars, give the problems that George and Theodore Eckfeldt had with obtaining blank planchets. Under this scenario, the coins had edge lettering applied separately at a later date, presumably after James Ross Snowden left office in 1861. This would place the 1860s as the time frame in which the 1804 Class III dollars were completed.
It was widely believed that Dr. Henry Richard Linderman, whose Class III coin was described as "a beautiful sharp Proof .... the finest known specimen," when it was auctioned in 1888, was obtained by Linderman directly from the Mint during his period of service there. Don Taxay (in Counterfeit, Mis-struck and Unofficial Coins, 1963, quoted at length under "What Others Have Said About the 1804 $1," in the 1804 dollar section, below) noted that in 1869, specimens of Class III dollars, said to have been freshly made at the Mint, were being offered for $600 apiece to collectors. Certainly, by 1875- 1876, Philadelphia dealer John W. Haseltine had a supply of them on hand.
A study of Class III dollars should reveal the break at LIBERT to be more advanced than on Class I coins. Study of the growth of the break among Class III coins would determine their sequence of Issue.
As Newman and Bressett have outlined in detail, it is the Class II and, in particular, the Class III 1804 dollars that caused many dealers, collectors, and others to turn against Mint practices in the 1870s. Official pronouncements of authenticity increased in quantity as numismatic disgust kept pace. Thus was set the scene for a controversy surrounding the 1804 dollar that would last for the better part of a century, until Newman and Bressett laid the matter to, rest by, printing the facts in their 1962 book, the Fantastic
1804 Dollar. Â
The 1801-2-3 Novodels
Let me reiterate what I have stated to this point concerning the 1801-, 1802-, and 1803-dated novodel silver dollars:
â€¢ The dies for the 1802 and 1803 were made, before autumn 1834.
â€¢ The die for the 1801 was made at a later date, possibly much later, using different star, letter, and numeral punches.
â€¢ The 1801 and 1803 novodels were struck about the same time, as evidenced by a piece of foreign: metal adhering to the reverse die 'when each was made.
â€¢ The 1801-2-3 novodels all used Reverse X, arid show die breaks at NITED more advanced-than On Class I dollars, also made with Reverse X.
The 1801 novodel: The 1801 novodelis known with the NITED 'break on the reverse, believed (from the photographic evidence to be the latest state. Thus, the 1801 novodel was struck after the 1803, and it follows that both were struck after the 1802.
Order of striking summarized: To this point the order of striking would seem to be as follows:
1804 Class I novodel dollar
1802 novodel dollar
1803 novodel dollar
1801 novodel dollar
1801-2-3 novodels first sold in 1876: A curious, I believe telling, fact is that the existence of the 1801, 1802, and 1803 novodel Proofs was not publicized until 1876, when J.W. Haseltine displayed several examples and offered them for sale.
Years later (Lyman Sale catalogue, 1913) Samuel Hudson Chapman stated that Mint officials were offering these coins for sale in May 1876. As Chapman worked for Haseltine, he undoubtedly knew the truth.