B-22,BB-168. This coin is noted for a reverse horizontal die break causing its ultimate demise. R-3/4. Est.Pop.200-400 coins. This coin is in high CC. Very Rare in EF and above.
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-22, Haseltine 22
OBVERSE 10: See description under 1799 BB-167. Die flaws in field before eye as on BB-167.
Obverse die used to strike 1799 BB-167 (earlier use) and BB-168 (later use).
REVERSE P: Horizontal die crack entirely across center of reverse, from right side of E to left side of M. One arrow extends slightly past right side of upright of N. Star touches lower point of eagle's beak; ray points to left upright of U in PLURIBUS. Leaf point is slightly right of being under center of I in AMERICA. Letter A touches only 3rd feather. U in UNITED is cut off at upper left; made from defective punch (used on three different dies to strike BB-157; BB-158, 159, 161 and 162; and BB-168). Far right edge of A is over cloud 3.
Reverse die used to strike 1799 BB-168 only.
Die State I: With perfect obverse die; reverse die not shattered. May not exist.
Die State II: Obverse with delicate crack connecting stars 11, 12, and 13. Reverse die with bisecting horizontal crack beginning at left border, right side of E, ribbon, wing, eagle's neck, wing, ribbon, left side of M, to right border. The usually seen die state.
Die State III: Obverse as preceding. Reverse is a slightly later state with blob at crack as it touches upper right of E. Scarcer than preceding. Dies as described by Bolender for BB-168. Reverse die broken across.
Die State III: Later state with the obverse developing multiple cracks to the point of shattering. Cf. Pine Tree Auctions Sale, September 1974, Lot 1028. Extremely rare. Not seen.
COLLECTING NOTES: With a known population estimated to be in the range of 300 to 500 coins, 1799 BB-168 is at once elusive but sufficiently available that every serious specialist can own one, Most specimens are in lower grades through VF. EF coins are very rare. AU coins? Where are they? Mint State? Forget it.
Aspen Specimen. EF-40. Bowers and Merena Galleries, Dr. Nelson Page Aspen Collection, 1989:387. "The fields are remarkably smooth, warmly toned in pleasing hues of lilac and gold. A tiny obverse rim bump is noted at 4:00."
Hollinbeck-Kagin Specimen. EF-40. Hollinbeck-Kagin Sale, August 1970:1093. "Heavy die break horizontally bisecting reverse, EF (obverse not quite that; but reverse better}."
Springfield Specimen. EF-40. Bowers and Ruddy, Springfield Library and Museums Sale, 1981:242. "Die flaws in field before eye; reverse die broken in half horizontally just above shield. Strictly EF-40, reverse with plenty of lustre and more like EF-45; obverse weaker."
Chalkley Specimen. VF-35. Superior Galleries, Chalkley Collection, 1990:2871. "Darkly toned, faint scratches above and on Liberty. Reverse die suffered a catastrophic horizontal crack spanning the entire die."
October Sale Specimen. VF-35. Superior Galleries, October Sale, 1990:1206. "Darkly toned, perhaps to help hide some faint tooling on Liberty and the surrounding fields. Reverse has a huge, horizontal die break, is sharp."
Aspen Specimen (another). VF-30/EF-40. Bowers and Merena Galleries, Dr.. Nelson Page Aspen Collection, 1989:388. "Blushes of faint champagne iridescence enhance both surfaces."
Aspen Specimen (another). VF-30/EF-40. Bowers and Merena Galleries, Dr. Nelson Page Aspen Collection, 1989:3506. "Horizontal die break which bisects the reverse. Blushes of warm steel gray and coppery golden toning enhance the fields and motifs. Wisps of satiny lustre can be seen at the peripheries."
VonStetten-Buchenbadt Specimen. VF-30/EF-40. Bowers and Merena Galleries, von Stetten-Buchenbach Collection, 1986:1954. "VF-30 obverse, EF-40 or better reverse. Reverse die is cracked horizontally at center."