1798 $1 B-17 BB-101 5 Lines Pt 9 VG8 Certification #80636430, PCGS #40017

Owner's Comments

B-17, BB-101, 5 Lines, Pointed 9, R.5 EX: The Palos Verdes Collection. As described in M. H. Bolender's book of early dollar varieties: "1798 B-17 (H-17) Excessively rare. Haseltine's was only good, the only one he ever found. The author's (Bolender) is fine, and the only one he has seen. Rarity 7."

Expert Comments

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."

B-17. H-17.

OBVERSE 5: Wide date, the 8 just touching bust. Date is over 11.5 mm. across at bottom widest part. Upper star on left very close to L, and upper star on right is near Y. Second star ray points slightly right of denticle. The denticles to left of date are irregular.

Obverse die used to strike 1798 BB-101 only.

REVERSE F: See description under 1798 BB-96. Large Letters reverse, 5 lines in each vertical shield element. BB-101 is from an later state (Die State V as described under BB-96). On the BB-101 variety some berries appear without sterns. Only 10 arrows, the two sticks seen on BB-96 having now been removed.

The reverse die was used to coin BB-96 dollars, reground and used to coin BB-101 Die State I dollars.

Reverse die used to strike 1798 BB-96 (early and late states), BB-101 (latest state).

Die State I: Perfect obverse die without injuries. The Spies Collection (Stack's, 1974), "Bolender-17a" from "finished dies" without obverse defects, may be Die State 1. Walter Breen suggests (in his Encyclopedia, Breen-5379) that only one specimen may be known of this die state.

Die State II: Most known specimens have a readily visible die injury at Miss Liberty's left shoulder and another at the reverse field area near the stars. This is the state known to Bolender. Die crack just beginning over I of AMERICA. Equivalent to Die State V of 1798 BB-96. This is the usual die state of BB-101 seen.

Die State III: As preceding, but obverse die cracks along leftmost star rays (stars 2 to 5) and denticles on left side. Cf. Blevins Collection (Superior, 1988): 3680.

Die State IV: As preceding, but reverse crack now extends through letter R and into the field at the lower left of the letter. Cf. 1975 ANA (Superior): 876.

Die State V: On the latest die state, the die swells at the left obverse field and at the corresponding area of the reverse.

COLLECTING NOTES: 1798 BB-101 is another rare variety. Probably about 70 to 120 are known, most of which are well circulated. The average grade of F-19 is one of just a few to dip below the VF category. An AU or Mint State coin, if such could be found, would be regarded as a landmark item.

Haseltine's was only Good, the only one he ever found. In his 1881 Type-Table, he used his favorite adjective, "excessively," which he used excessively, to describe the rarity of this variety. Bolender only ever saw one, the VF coin that landed in his collection. The fact that numerous specimens have appeared since then, is testimony to the potential "out there" for locating still more examples of erstwhile and present rarities. Only a small number of 1798-dated dollars in numismatic circles have ever been attributed to Bolender numbers.


Miller Specimen. EF-45. Warren Miller Collection. Die State III.

Smith Specimen. EF-40. H.P. Smith. Col. E.H.R. Green Collection. O. K. Rumbel Collection. ANA Convention Sale, New Netherlands 38th Sale, 1952: 3133. About EF. "A beautifully toned coin with considerable lustre, believed to be one of the three finest known specimens.". Bolender, April 1953: 277. A.J. Ostheimer, 3rd Collection, Lester Merkin, 1968: 259. "EF, much frosty lustre, delicate pastel toning."

Hollinbeck-Kagin Specimen. EF-40. Hollinbeck-Kagin Sale, June 1970: 612. "EF with lustre, lovely patina."
Boyd Specimen. EF-40. F.C.C. Boyd Collection, 1945. Bolender Collection, 1952. Dr. Charles Ruby Collection. Gilhousen Collection, Superior, 1973: 1236. "EF, lustrous, iridescently toned."

Higgins Specimen. EF-40. Bowers and Merena, Lloyd M.Higgins, M.D. Collection, 1988: 2216, VF-35 to EF-40 (ANACS 40/40). "Condition Census, even medium silver gray toning on both surfaces. Nice detailing visible on Liberty’s hair on the obverse and the eagle's wings and shield lines on the reverse. Obverse die sinking, bulge beneath Liberty’s breast and behind her head. Pronounced crack visible running from above the first star to the rim above the seventh, accounting for the rarity of the variety. Plainly, the crack and bulging was severe enough to retire the die from service soon after its initial use."

Stirling Specimen. VF-30. Frank M. Stirling Collection, Heritage, February 1986:1335. "Pleasing russet brown toning scattered throughout."

Blevins Specimen. VF-30. Superior, H.W. Blevins Collection, 1988:3670. "Medium gunmetal gray with some faint golden undertones at the centers. Very well struck for the variety with full hair detail and sharp feathers; there is a bit of weakness at the right side of the shield. Die injury at Liberty's shoulder which has made the left obverse (and the corresponding reverse) fields appear quite swollen."

Willasch Specimen. VF-25. Superior, H. Roland Willasch Collection, 1990:493. "Steel gray and original with a single small mark above the bow of Liberty. Excellent rims and fields otherwise and truly a charming example of this scarce variety. Late obverse die state with cracks visible at the outer left star points and the dentils heavily lapped down. The reverse has a small crack from rim to I of AMERICA."

Baldenhofer Specimen. VF-20. W.G. Baldenhofer. Lester Merkin's Ostheimer Collection Sale, 1968. Stack's, W. Earl Spies Collection, 1974:80. "EF, mint lustre and delicate iridescent toning.". 1975 ANA Convention Sale, Superior. Yolanda Gross Collection.
Robert Scot
40.00 millimeters
27.00 grams
90% Silver, 10% Copper
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Condition Census Learn More

Pos Grade Thumbnail Pedigree and History
1 AU53 PCGS grade AU53 PCGS grade

Dr. Hesselgesser Collection - Goldbergs 9/2011:5039, $11,213 - Goldbergs 5/2012:1280, $8,913

1 AU53 PCGS grade AU53 PCGS grade

Wartren Miller Collection - MJ Sullivan Collection

1 AU53 PCGS grade

Cardinal Collection - American Numismatic Rarities 6/2005:28, $12,650 - Heritage 8/2014:4621, $8,813

1 XF45 PCGS grade XF45 PCGS grade
AU53 PCGS grade #1 AU53 PCGS grade

Dr. Hesselgesser Collection - Goldbergs 9/2011:5039, $11,213 - Goldbergs 5/2012:1280, $8,913

AU53 PCGS grade #1 AU53 PCGS grade

Wartren Miller Collection - MJ Sullivan Collection

#1 AU53 PCGS grade

Cardinal Collection - American Numismatic Rarities 6/2005:28, $12,650 - Heritage 8/2014:4621, $8,813

XF45 PCGS grade #1 XF45 PCGS grade