The 1804 Silver Dollar is one of the rarest and most popular of all American coins, despite the fact that none were made until 1834 and several were even made many years after that! Mint reports from 1804 show a delivery figure of 19,570 Silver Dollars, but numismatists believe these were all leftover coins dated 1803. Certain qualities of the known 1804 Silver Dollars (and other facts concerning their history) indicate that the first 1804 Silver Dollars were struck in or about 1834, when orders came from the State Department for special sets of coins to be struck for diplomatic purposes. Later restrikes were made sometime after 1857 (a unique example shows the undertype of an 1857 Swiss Shooting Thaler)!
Thus, we find three classes of 1804 Silver Dollars. Class I examples were made circa 1834 - these all have lettered edges and no rust pit in the field just left of the top leaf of the olive branch on the reverse. Class II examples were made after 1857 - the only known specimen has a plain edge. Class III examples were made after 1857 - they all have lettered edges and a rust pit in the afore-mentioned place on the reverse. Currently, eight examples are known of the Class I type, one is known of the Class II, and six are known of the Class III type. The finest example known is a Class I "Original" owned by the C. F. Childs estate; this remarkable coin was recently graded Proof-68 by the Professional Coin Grading Service.
The coin illustrated above is an example of the Class III type. Known as the "Amon Carter" specimen (named after the famous Texas numismatist who once owned it), this example has a pedigree dating all the way back to 1876. In 1998, this coin was purchased by Legend Numismatics and placed in a collection that now includes rarities such as the 1794 Dollar from the Harry Bass collection, a 1795 Plain Eagle Dollar in PCGS MS65, a 1796 Dollar from the Whitney collection, a 1797 Dollar with obverse stars arranged 10x6 graded NGC MS65 from the Eliasberg Collection, an 1801 Dollar certified NGC MS63 from the Eliasberg collection, and an 1802 Dollar in PCGS MS64 from the Floyd Starr collection.
The following is a complete roster of all known examples of the 1804 Silver Dollar, divided into Classes.
CLASS I - Lettered Edge
1. The U.S. Mint Specimen
2. The Stickney - Eliasberg Specimen. PCGS Proof-65
3. The Cohen - ANA Specimen
4. The Mickley - Reed Hawn Specimen
5. The Parmelee - Byron Reed Specimen. ICG Proof-64
6. The Dexter Specimen
7. The Watters-Childs Specimen, (sold on August 30, 1999 for $4.14 million!); PCGS PR-68
8. The King of Siam Specimen, called "Brilliant Gem Proof" by Breen. PCGS PR-67
Class II - New reverse, plain edge, struck over an 1857 Swiss (Bern) Shooting Thaler
9. The U.S. Mint Specimen
Class III - New reverse, lettered edge
10. The Berg - Garrett Specimen
11. The Adams - Carter Specimen
12. The Davis - Wolfson Specimen
13. The Linderman - DuPont Specimen, now on display at the headquarters of the American Numismatic Association
14. The Rosenthal - ANS Specimen
15. The Idler - Bebee Specimen, now on display at the headquarters of the American Numismatic Association