B-14,BB-122. This coin is the earliest die state known to exist. NGC graded the coin AU58. PC obviously downgraded it perhaps for the weak stars on the right (Try to find one better)! But the amazing aspect of this coin is the stars being complete on the left. Most varieties have missing stars on the left secondary to an early die clash with development of a crack from the 1st star to the L in Liberty. This allowed numerous subvarieties to develope with missing stars on the left. R3. Est.Pop.300-425 coins. High CC (top 3).
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."
Line star: pattern on reverse.
OBVERSE 16: Medium wide date, 10.25 mm. across at bottom widest part. The 1 in date close to hair, 8 close to bust. Stars about equidistant from curl, L, Y, and bust, except that upper left star is a little closer to L. Ray of star 1 points to slightly left of center of a denticle. On the left there is more space between stars 6 and 7 than the other stars. On the right stars 8 and 9 have a smaller space between them than do any other stars. The highest curl on head is solid and is centered under upright of E. Some lines (die clash marks) show in field between curl and first two stars. Interior of loop on lowest curl "shaded" with hair details.
NOTE. This obverse die closely resembles BB-124, to which refer. BB-122 is distinguishable by the fact that it has the 8 closer to the bust than does BB-124, and that the 11th and 12th stars on BB-122 are much closer together than on BB-124.
Obverse die used to strike 1798 BB-122 only.
REVERSE S: Claw touches A in AMERICA; the only 1798 reverse with this feature. Five small berries, two top ones closest together. Point of leaf under left lower point of I in AMERICA. Star just misses touching point of upper part of eagle's beak, and in worn specimens appears to touch; star ray points to center of B in PLURIBUS. Line star pattern. 13 perfect arrows. Four rightmost shafts each have two arrowheads (total of eight arrowheads there); third shaft from left is thinner than normal; fourth shaft from left is much too thick.
Reverse die used to strike 1798 BB-122 only.
Die State I: Perfect dies. No obverse clash mark. May not exist.
Die State II: Dies as described above for BB-122. Clash marks on obverse. Clash marks on reverse below two rightmost clouds, Raised die roughness at E of UNITED.
Die State III: 'Obverse die begins to fail; crack develops connecting innermost rays of stars 2 through 5. Slightly scarcer than following.
Die State IV: As above, but tiny crack now connects stars 4 and 5 near their centers. The most plentiful die state.
Die State V: As above, but reverse die now relapped, thinning and damaging some of the arrows, lightening the raised die roughness at E of UNITED, and obliterating much of the leaf under C of AMERICA. Slightly scarcer than preceding.
Die State VI: Bolender-14a. Obverse crack extends down to star 1 and up to star 7. Star 7 and L of LIBERTY weaken. Reverse die as above. Rarer than preceding.
Die State VII: Bolender-14b. With same die cracks as State VI, but the die crack on obverse is now heavier, nearly obliterating the star 7 and part of L. Bolender mentions a crack on reverse through right part of O. Rare.
Die State VIII: Latest die state shows the obverse star 7 and the L in LIBERTY entirely removed by a heavy die crack.
COLLECTING NOTES: Somewhere in the range of 350 to 550 1798 BB-122 dollars are believed to exist. The variety is very rare above EF and may be unknown in Mint State. The distribution of available specimens is heavily weighted toward the low end of the Very Fine category.
Garrett Specimen. AU-50. Bowers and Ruddy, Garrett Collection, 1980:688. "Traces of original mint lustre remain in the protected areas of the surface. An exceptionally sharp strike."
Gross Specimen. AU-50. Stack's, September 1988. Sold to the following. Yolanda Gross Collection.
Hollinbeck-Kagin Specimen. AU-50. Hollinbeck-Kagin Sale,June 1970:611. "Nearly Uncirculated."
Brooks Specimen. EF-45. Bowers and Merena, Brooks Collection, 1989:206. "Sharply struck with rich, mottled gold and gray toning. Miss Liberty's hair strands and the eagle's wing feathers are nearly all nicely delineated. A trivial mint caused rim flaw is present at 5:00 on the obverse."
Ebsen Specimen. EF-45. Superior, Buddy Ebsen Collection, 1987:1897. "Somewhat of a shallow but even strike, perfectly centered on a problem-free planchet. Enough detail and mint lustre is still present to easily justify this high grade. Some light wear is spread along the highest points and it is free of discernible marks in either the fields or on the rims. Attractive antique toning, light silvery gray with some lustrous highlights."
Blevins Specimen. EF-40. Superior, H.W. Blevins Collection, 1988:3662. "Splashes of rich violet and russet gold toning highlight the obverse; the reverse is a light gray with pale golden blue undertones. The strike is absolutely exceptional, with the hair and feathers fully defined and the borders showing broad, sharp beading."
Overton Specimen. EF-40. AI C. Overton, May 1954. AJ. Ostheimer, 3rd Collection, Lester Merkin, 1968:256. "Really EF, lustrous, but weakly struck from injured, buckled and lapped dies. Beautiful mint frost with natural iridescent toning."
Clark Specimen. EF-40. Primus C. Clark Collection, M.H. Bolender, 1932. M.H. Bolender Collection, Bolender, 1952: 58. "Perfect dies. Diagonal lines in field between first two stars and curls. Reverse: EF, struck a little bit off center to right."
Kissel and Victoria Collections Specimen. VF-35. Bowers and Merena, Kissel and Victoria Collections, 1989:391. "Quite nicely centered on both the obverse and reverse. Pleasing, mottled hues of blue and lilac enhance the surfaces. Two or three minor rim dings can be seen, as is consistent for the grade, and a few trivial marks are noted on Miss Liberty's cheek and neck."
Gilhousen Specimen. VF-35. Superior, Gilhousen Sale, 1973:1235. "Better than VF, some areas suggest EF, mint lustre. Iridescent tone."
New Netherlands Specimen. VF-35. New Netherlands Coin Company's 57th Sale, 1963. VF-EF.
Blevins Specimen (another). Net VF-35. (EF-40, unattractive). Superior, H.W. Blevins Collection, 1988:3663. "Sharpness of EF-40 or better, but with somewhat unsavory, splotchy coloring which is, in all probability, artificial. Extremely well struck and centered with virtually full detail noted on Liberty's hair and feathers. Die roughness inside of the first six stars and an unusual 'tail' between the fourth and fifth stars."
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