B-16 BB-110. High R6. This obverse die cracked early and therefore a limited number of coins survived. Some estimates are 30-50 coins exist. Only one or two coins are known to exist in die state I (no obverse crack seen). This present high grade beauty has the no die crack (die state I) unlike the more common Die State II. Very rare in AU grade and in die state I. CC 2-4.
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 10: Wide date, the most space between 9 and 8. Star 8 is slightly closer to Y than star 13 is to bust. Star 7 distant from L, and star 1 a trifle farther from curl.
In 1950, Bolender noted this: "The die broke early and so badly that very few pieces were struck, possibly not over two, as no others are known to the author. A number of pieces formerly attributed as H-16 in various catalogues arid examined by the author, turned out to be incorrectly attributed. The die crack is heavy and extends from border on left near first star to right through base of lowest curl and top of 179 of date. There is a spur downward from a denticle above right part of E in LIBERTY."
Today, a perfect die coin is also known.
Obverse die used to strike 1798 BB-110 only.
REVERSE K: Five small berries, the two upper ones closest together. The third berry from top is attached to a leaf point. Berry under left foot of A in AMERICA. A leaf points to space between R and I in AMERICA. Art star pattern, Star is distant from eagle's beak; ray points toward center of B, in PLURIBUS. 13 perfect arrows, an unusually well-developed cluster. A plain die mark is always present in the back of the two highest clouds on the reverse. The first two reverse stars on the left both touch clouds. A small flaw or clash mark is present below the right ribbon.
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).
Discussion of the states of the reverse die used to strike, in this order, BB-110, BB-111, BB-112, and BB-113:
BB-110: Flaws below wing tip on the left, and under D Of UNITED.
BB-111: As preceding, plus tiny crack or clash mark from left shield tip to ribbon above. Â
BB-112: As preceding, plus beginning of crack from branch stem end down to border.
BB-113: As preceding, this extensive crack along border from above final S in STATES, through, OF, wing tip, to, border just above first A in AMERICA.
Die State I: Perfect obverse die. The 1975 ANA, Convention Sale (Superior): 874, Ostheimer, Blanchard specimen, Yolanda Gross Collection. VF-20.
Die State II: Obverse die with cracks as described by Bolender, quoted above. The usual state seen.
Die State III: Die state later than II with advanced obverse cracks, Not seen.
COLLECTING-NOTES: 1798 BB-110 is one of the great rarities of the year 1798.Probably, no more than 30 to 50 are known. Estimates of the surviving population have varied widely, to as low as six to 12 coins. In his 1881 Type-Table, J.W. Haseltine called this variety very rare.
Willasch Specimen. AU-58. Superior, H. Roland Willasch Collection, 1990: 492. "Deep blue and russet toning throughout atop semi-prooflike fields. Struck from the latest die state known, in fact, a heavy cud has formed below the first star to the area below the curl. The fields show faint evidence of cleaning, but have fully toned over. Only a touch of rubbing on the high points and minor handling marks in the fields keep this from a Mint State grade. Tiny pin prick below T of LIBERTY and a minor rim bump just past the D of UNITED on reverse." Currently graded MS-63 (PCGS).
? Specimen. AU-53 (PCGS). Reported by Warren Miller.
Numismatic Gallery Specimen. EF-40. Numismatic Gallery, 1950. M.H. Bolender Collection, 1952:63. "The die broke early and so badly that very few pieces were struck, possibly not more than two, as no others are known to me. The die break is heavy and extends from border on left near first star to right through base of lowest curl and top of 179 of date. EF.". ANA Convention Sale, Superior, 1975: 875. "EF-40, lovely even natural toning, very clean, with a well centered obverse. Reverse struck slightly off towards the top. There are a few microscopic edge nicks, the most noticeable between ES of STATES."
Spies Specimen. EF-40. Stack's, W. Earl Spies Collection, 1974:79. "The break from the edge below the first star across the top of 179 is massive indeed. Spur over E very clear. Fully EF or better with mint lustre and prooflike surface."
Four Memorable Collections Specimen. VF-30. Bowers and Merena, Four Memorable Collections Sale, 1985:2010. "Natural smoky gray toning. A few rim bumps typical of these large heavy coins. A heavy die break extends from the border just below the first star to the right, through the base of the lowest curl, and across the tops of the numerals 179 of the date. No other obverse die has this trait." Westchester Collection Sale, Bowers and Merena, 1987: 602.
Blevins Specimen. VF-25. H.W. Blevins Collection. Superior, 1988. Blanchard Specimen. VF-20. Rare Die State I. From a Mr. Blanchard in March 1953. K.P. Austin Collection. AJ. Ostheimer, 3rd Collection. 1975 ANA Convention Sale, Superior. Yolanda Gross Collection.
Julian Leidman, sold privately - H. Rolland Willasch Collection - Superior 5/1990:492 - Reed Hawn Collection - Stack’s 10/1993 - Queller Family Collection - Heritage 4/2008:2029 - Cardinal Collection - Stack's/Bowers 8/2011:7397, $74,750
Wayne Miller Collection
Dr. Hesselgesser Collection - Goldbergs 9/2011:5047, $9,487.50