Auction preview: Unique, newly discovered 1795 Dual-Plugged silver dollar

A unique, newly discovered 221-year-old U.S. silver dollar is among the top highlights of the Aug. 10 Heritage Signature Auction at the American Numismatic Association (ANA) Anaheim World’s Fair of Money.

Authenticated by Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC), this recently discovered 1795 U.S. Flowing Hair silver dollar with two separate “plugs” is a first-of-its-kind.

“Many 1795 silver dollars, along with a single 1794 dollar and a small number of 1795 half dollars, show evidence of a Mint-inserted plug, apparently to achieve a correct weight for the planchet prior to striking,” said Mark Borckardt, Heritage senior cataloguer. “Today, for the first time, we have a 1795 Flowing Hair dollar that has two Mint-inserted silver plugs, one at the center of the obverse and the other at the lower reverse.”

Borckardt said each of the two plugs has a diameter of about 4 mm.

The first-known 1795 Flowing Hair silver dollar (reverse shown) with two inserted plugs. (Photo by Heritage Auctions)

The first-known 1795 Flowing Hair silver dollar (reverse shown) with two inserted plugs. (Photo by Heritage Auctions)

“The obverse plug is located on Liberty’s neck, tangent to the jaw line which appears through the plug. The reverse plug is located between the ribbon ends.”

The coin has been certified and graded NGC About Uncirculated-53 and is designated as 1795 dollar Flowing Hair, Three Leaves variety B-5, BB-27, R-1.

“Most numismatic researchers today agree that silver plugs were added to adjust the weight of the planchets,” said Borckardt. “While we don’t know the exact process used at the Philadelphia Mint in 1795, we assume an underweight planchet was pierced and a silver pin fastened to the planchet by means of smooth ‘dies’ in a screw press. Apparently, the first plug on this coin was not enough to bring up the weight to the standard level of 26.96 grams, so a second plug was inserted.”

The dual-plugged coin weighs 26.98 grams.

Because the consignor of this discovery coin wishes to remain anonymous, no information is currently available at the lot’s provenance.

“This unique early American coin provides insight into the early years of the United States Mint.  Its discovery 221 years after its production makes us eagerly anticipate what other numismatic treasures are still waiting to be found,” said Borckardt.

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