The November 2015 Baltimore auctions by Stack's Bowers include many great coins. Here's one interesting piece highlighted this
week in a blog article by cataloguer James McCartney. -Editor
The Flowing Hair half dollars of 1794 and 1795 are scarce and desirable and always attract attention. Within the overall design type
exists an even scarcer subset of pieces, those that exhibit a silver plug inserted into the center of the planchet before striking. Most
often encountered on the Flowing Hair dollars of the same year, a select few 1795 half dollars also display this feature. While overweight
planchets were often filed in order to match the intrinsic with the stated value, adding precious metal required innovation. This technique
was also employed on the pattern cents of 1792, though it was an attempt to reduce the amount of weighty copper needed to represent one
cent worth of precious metal, and not necessarily to correct a manufacturing inaccuracy.
1795 Flowing Hair half dollars with a silver plug are considered to be a holy grail among enthusiasts. There is a certified population
of just two examples listed for Overton-128 examples with a Silver Plug between both PCGS and NGC. Don Willis mentions the existence of
three pieces total across all Overton varieties – two certified by PCGS and one raw coin – and it is possible that the present coin could
be this third, previously raw, piece. Additionally, Stephen Herrman’s Auction and Mail Bid Prices Realized for Bust Half Dollars lists
three examples, one of which is likely the second PCGS certified piece referenced by Willis.
Assuming the existence of five unique Silver Plug Flowing Hair half dollars, the finest two known are graded Fine-12 (PCGS), followed by
the current Very Good-10 (NGC), an ungraded Good-6 piece, and a final unevaluated example. While this census might be considered a bit
conservative, even the most liberal assessments confirm these as true rarities. Very close in grade to the finest known, the present
Condition Census offering is an elusive opportunity to bid on one of the most captivating relics of early U.S. numismatics.
To read the complete article, see:
Incredible 1795 Silver Plug Flowing Hair Half Dollar to be Featured in our November 2015 Baltimore Rarities Night Auction
Wayne Homren, Editor
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