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Obverse of 1795 Silver Dollar - Bolender 3     Reverse of 1795 Silver Dollar - Bolender 3


Rarity: Rare

Variety equivalents:
Bowers-Borckardt 11

Close-up of Obverse of 1795 Silver Dollar - Bolender 3

Close-up of Reverse of 1795 Silver Dollar - Bolender 3

Closeup images courtesy of Ira and Larry Goldberg Coins & Collectibles

Images courtesy of Ira and Larry Goldberg Coins & Collectibles

Significant examples:
PCGS EF-40, Silver Plug (illustrated above)
- Goldbergs 2/2005:1476
1795. Flowing Hair Dollar, Two Leaves, Silver plug. Bolender-3, BB-11; Rarity-4. PCGS graded EF-40. With regards to originality, eye appeal and plug definition, this 1795 Flowing Hair Silver Plug dollar is one of the most attractive we have seen! Even wear from years of circulation has left all devices showing the same amount of friction and all possessing the same light silver appearance. A uniform antique coloration rests atop all surfaces and is accented by a light steel blue and golden patina. With regards to marks, two old scratches are noted just below the LI of LIBERTY where Liberty's hair meets the fields and a small planchet depression, evidently mint made, is found to the upper left of the first A in AMERICA. Measuring just slightly above 8 millimeters in width, the obverse plug shape is circular with a "pan handle" beginning to spread down Liberty's neck. Reverse plug shape is a jagged edge circle found over the majority of the eagle's breast and left wing. Plug definition is completely clear at an arm's length away for both sides! An extremely choice example that would be the perfect addition to a high quality early type set!

While the circumstances surrounding the production of these early dollars with silver plugs can only be theorized, the suggested reasoning is quite logical and convincing. Famous numismatist Q. David Bowers first described these "plugs" in 1981 and researched there existence more heavily alongside numismatists Tom DeLorey, Kenneth E. Bressett and Roger W. Burdette in the decade that followed. In a nutshell, they speculated that the silver plugs were inserted into lightweight planchets before striking in order to bring the planchets up to weight. After inserting the silver plug, if the planchet was a tad too heavy, it was adjusted down, otherwise the coin was then struck to flatten out the inserted plug.

The demand for silver plug Flowing Hair dollars has increased steadily over the past 5-10 years. With minor peaks and valleys along that trend, many more collectors desire a silver plug example for their collection than ever before. In all, perhaps 75-100 silver plug examples exist in all grades and all varieties. Some have come to the market in recent years with plug definition that is marginal at best. Sometimes, no obverse plug detail is visible and reverse detail requires magnification. Needless to say, the most heavily sought after examples possess clear plug definition on both the obverse and reverse, like the present specimen. Research and auction records support literature stating Bolender-1, BB-21 and Bolender-7, BB-18 are the most frequently encountered varieties that possess silver plugs. The Bolender-3 variety is a scarce Rarity-5 issue without the silver plug and in the present condition, this choice EF Bolender-3 example with a clearly defined plug is a true rarity! PCGS population for all varieties of 6 in 45, 3 in 50, 2 in 53, 2 in 55, 1 in 58 and 1 in 64

Recent appearances of silver plug Flowing Hair dollars include the following:

1) 1795 B-3, BB-11 ANACS Fine Details, NET VG-8 - Scratched; Heritage Numismatics Auctions, Sept. 9-11, 2004, Lot # 6977; $5,290

2) 1795 B-1, BB-21 NGC MS61, Superior Galleries, August 16, 2004, Lot #818: Unsold (no obverse plug definition)

3) 1795 B-7, BB-18 PCGS EF45, Superior Galleries, August 16, 2004, Lot #819: Unsold (no obverse plug definition, marginal reverse definition)

4) 1795 B-3, BB-11 NGC AU50, Goldberg's, May 31 -June 2, 2004, Lot #803: $34,500 (sharp obverse and reverse plug definition)

Recent appearances:
EF.  Ex- Stack's "The September Sale", September 12-13, 2000, Lot 570, "Bolender-3, Two Berries", sold for $6,900.00

VG-8. Ex - Bowers & Merena Galleries' "The Cabinet of Lucien M. LaRiviere, Part III", May 21, 2001, Lot 1, "BB-11, B-3, Head of '94, Two leaves", illustrated, sold for $1,552.50

Sources and/or recommended reading:
"Silver Dollars & Trade Dollars of the United States - A Complete Encyclopedia by Q. David Bowers