Philadelphia: 1795. Hardcover. 1st design, Robert Scot’s flowing hair image, 2nd issue (minting) with a 1795 date. Dollar (100 cents), 39.1 mm. 26.9 grams. 89.24% Silver, 10.76% Copper. Beginning on Oct. 15, 1794, the 1st issue of 1,758 coins, with a 1794 date, were minted on a press too small for clean strikes. A larger press was constructed in May 1795 and the 2nd issue coins, with a 1795 date, were minted from May to Oct. completing the first year’s production after which the design was completely changed to the Scott–Erickson draped bust image. Survivors of the 1794 1st issue, depending on condition, have recently sold for $85 thousand (damaged) to $10 million (Stack’s, 2013, the world record for any coin), and if you can afford it, that’s the one to buy. Our 2nd issue is still from the first year of striking U. S. dollars (Oct. 15, 1794–Oct 15, 1795) and from the original design, and it is a nice one, without major flaws, slabbed and graded by NGC as “Fine 12” with light amber and lilac–gray toning at the edges under magnification (the 4 white grips of NGC’s slab are just visible at the rim in our picture). Reference: B–5, BB–27 (3 leaves), NGC ID #24WZ. fine. Item #443
At the urging of George Washington, and after a study by Alexander Hamilton, the Congress’ Statute 1 (the Mint Act of 1792) authorized the dollar as the standard unit of money along with fractional coinage in a decimal system. The Philadelphia Mint’s foundation stone was laid on Jul. 31, 1792, David Rittenhouse was appointed Director, and Albion Cox Assayer. After copper cents and half cents were produced in 1793, and a few silver half dollars (Overton’s numbers 105, 106, and 108) were delivered on Oct. 15, 1794, the first silver dollars were struck beginning Oct. 15 and given to Rittenhouse for distribution to VIPs as souvenirs. Silver dollars continued to be minted and circulated until 1935 when production ceased. They stayed in circulation until the 1960s, and then became unredeemable on Jun. 24, 1968, but even before then the value of the silver exceeded a dollar, so they’d become collector’s items. Those available today contain $20 in silver, and no one sells them for a dollar.