B-9,BB-166. Great toning and strike with pizazz. Normal design. Apostrophe after final S in STATES usually seen. R1. Est.Pop.1000-1500 coins.
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."
Bolender 9, Haseltine 9
OBVERSE 9: Similar to BB-157, but from a different die. The stars are larger (punched, more deeply into the die), making them closer together. The upper left and right stars are about equidistant from L and Y. 13th star about 1.5 mm. from bust. First star about 2 mm. from curl. On the left, stars 1 to 4 are spaced closer than are stars 4 to 7. On the right, stars 8 and 9, and 12 and 13, are spaced closer than are the other stars. Die crack below base of 1 in date on all seen.
Obverse die used to strike 1799 BB-166 only. (See note under 1799/8 and 1799 silver dollars, general information, concerning an apocryphal new variety in the Boyd Collection.)
REVERSE N: "Apostrophe" after final S in STATES on most (but not all) specimens. Star touches point of-lower part of eagle's beak. Far right edge of A is over cloud 3. Leaf points under right side of upright of I in AMERICA. A touches 3rd feather only. Die crack through, MERIC.
Reverse die used to strike 1799 BB-166 only.
Die State I: Perfect obverse die without crack under 1. Perfect reverse die without "apostrophe" flaw after final S in STATES. Extremely rare. Not seen by author.
Die State II: Obverse die crack begins between two denticles and extends" upward about halfway to base of 1 in date. Reverse with very tiny vertical "apostrophe" crack to upper right of final S in STATES. Scarce die state.
Die State III: Obverse die crack connects with bottom of I and enlarges. Another crack begins on bust and extends upward and to the right, touching chin, and ending in the field. On reverse. "apostrophe" crack enlarges slightly. Common die state.
Die State IV: Obverse crack through bust extends to, star 10 and also downward to first 9 in date. Reverse as preceding.
Scarce die state."
Die State V: Obverse die shatters. Additional crack in obverse field to left of stars 8, 9, and 10, connects with earlier crack. Crack connects stars 9 and 10. New crack from border, up through drapery, bust, field, to left side of star 12. By this time, the obverse field has a bumpy, "sandpaper" surface (observed on a Mint State coin), from extensive die rust. On the reverse, the "apostrophe" crack extends to border as does a new crack to the left of the final S in STATES. Probably, about 10% to 20% of the specimens of BB-166 are of this die state.
COLLECTING NOTES: 1799 BB-166 and BB-163 are the most plentiful varieties of the year. It seems likely that about 1,000 to 1,800 of each are known. The population of BB-166 is distributed in a bell curve-few extremely worn ones, some VG, more in Fine grade, a cluster at VF, fewer EF, still fewer AU, and only a small number of Mint State examples. Incidentally, the same curve applies to most other early dollars, except it is sometimes truncated at the upper end. Of course, one can only guess as to how most coins offered years ago will fall into the MS-60-61-62-63, etc., distribution we know today.
Ivy Specimen. MS-64. Steve Ivy, May, 1983:1762, "Natural lilac surfaces display sea green and blue at their peripheries. The strike is very bold; the radial lines in many of the reverse stars are plain to the eye. Perfectly centered with all of the milling bold. Advanced obverse die cracks in the right field and into the stars."
Saunders Specimen. MS-64. Bowers and Merena, Ebenezer Milton Saunders Collection 1987:3517. "MS-64 to 65. Intense lilac and magenta toning at center, changing to some iridescence at borders. Very well struck in all areas."
Stack's Auction '90 Specimen. MS-63 .. Stack's, 1980:258. "Brilliant Unc., nearly choice. Strong strike, lovely rose and blue violet toning, excellent surfaces."
Ebsen Specimen. MS-63. Superior Galleries, Buddy Ebsen Collection, 1987:1903. "Perfect obverse die. MS-63. Boldly struck with full prooflike surfaces on both sides. Toned in warm sunset shades of russet and grayish violet, a hint of iridescence."
Baldenhofer Specimen. MS-60 to 65. W. G. Baldenhofer to Stack's, Farish-Baldenhofer Sale, 1955. AJ. Ostheimer, 3rd Collection â€¢ Superior Galleries, ANA Convention Sale, 1975:930. "Additional fine obverse die cracks, including one connecting ninth and l0th stars. MS-60 to 65, frosty and iridescently toned with full original mint lustre. Well centered obverse with lovely clean surfaces, although two minute pin scratches can be seen with a glass. The most noticeable being just left of the l0th star. Few adjustment marks on Liberty's bust."
ANA Centennial Auction Specimen. MS-60. Bowers and Merena, ANA Centennial Sale, 1991:441. "Lustrous, deep silver gray toning, with darker Harvard gray on raised devices. Reverse has traces of rich deep champagne around the eagle's head. Later state of the reverse, a cud forming beside the second S and the die breaking from rim above second A, extending to center of neighboring I."
Austin Specimen. MS-60. Bowers and Ruddy, Austin Collection 1974:28. "Brilliant Unc. with just minimal evidence of having been in a bag with other coins. Full brilliant mint frost just beginning to tone a subtle light iridescent brown."
Boyd Specimen. MS-60. Numismatic Gallery, World's Greatest Collection, F.C.C. Boyd, 1945:69. "Unc."
Davis Specimen. MS-60. Stack's, Davis-Graves (James Davis) Collection, 1954:1301. "Later die state of the variety. Beautiful Unc, with much mint lustre."
Elder Specimen. MS-60. Thomas L. Elder sale, 1924. M.H. Bolender Collection, 1952:100. "Unc., beautiful impressions, except for slight friction on reverse center. Finely toned, mint lustre."
Gable Specimen. MS-60. William Gable Collection, S. Hudson Chapman, 1914. J.T. Reeder Collection. M.H. Bolender Collection, 1952:101. Lester Merkin, A.J. Ostheimer, 3rd Collection, 1968:280. "Die flaws below I; reverse apostrophe break right of final S. Advanced die cracks. Iridescent golden toned Unc., a couple of faint pin scratches short of gem grade."
Holmes Specimen. MS-60. Stack's, Milton Holmes Collection, 1960:2246. "Unc., with faintest sign of cabinet friction on cheek. Full mint bloom. Sharply struck."
Schuyler Specimen. MS-60. Schuyler Collection .. M.H. Bolender Collection, 1952:103. "Die breaks not as advanced as on last two. Some me marks on reverse done at mint to reduce planchet weight. Sharply struck, Unc., with mint lustre."
Stack Specimen. MS-60. Stack's, James A. Stack Collection, 1989:528. "Brilliant Unc., nearly choice. Strong strike, all reverse stars sharp. Rose and blue violet toning, excellent surfaces."
Taylor Specimen. MS-60. Bowers and Merena, Frederick Taylor Collection 1987:414. "Magnificently toned around the peripheries in shades of sky blue and violet, with lavender and sunset at the centers. Distinctive die flaw on the reverse following the final S in STATES, resembling an apostrophe. Advanced die state with several breaks. A crack on the obverse begins beneath T in LIBERTY, and intersects with another break in the field extending from 10th star to Liberty's chin and neck. Another extends from rim to right of date to her drapery. The reverse has a few faint cracks in AMERICA."
Stirling Specimen. AU-55. Frank M. Stirling Collection, Heritage, February 1986:1340. Bolender-5a variety. Obverse with "splashes of iridescent golds and blues." (Many more AU coins could be cited.)
Goldbergs 1/2015:1523, $111,625
Superior 10/1989:3820, $24,310
Wayne Miller Collection
Dr. Hesselgesser Collection - Goldbergs 9/2011:5095, $11,500
Hesselgesser Collection - Goldbergs 2/2008:2871, $15,525