1795 Flowing Hair Silver Dollar. B-7, BB-18. Rarity-3. BB Die State I. Three Leaves. Silver Plug. VF-30 (PCGS).
Prized 1795 Flowing Hair Silver Dollar with Mint-Inserted Silver Plug
This scarce die variety is confirmed by the intersecting of Star 1 and Liberty's lowest hair curl, as well as the presence of 14 berries in the reverse wreath, and three leaves below each wing. The surfaces reveal mottled light toning variations, and even wear from circulation. Although several adjustments marks are apparent on the reverse, there are no distracting post-strike blemishes or abrasions found on either side of the coin. A few decades ago researchers determined that a number of Flowing Hair silver dollars had central silver plugs in them, which were inserted by the Mint prior to striking. Why this was done was logical as this process saved many steps that would otherwise be required.
The process of refining the silver to the exacting fineness standards was no doubt difficult enough, then the silver bar had to be drawn between two precisely set rollers to reduce its thickness to have the correct weight once the planchets were cut. If planchets were a hair too thin and thus light weight, the whole process would have to start again--unless, another option was developed using the technology of the 1792 Silver Center cent patterns. This option involved punching a hole in the center of the light weight planchet, and inserting a silver plug which would bring the planchet at least up to the correct weight standards. If the planchet was then too heavy with the silver plug inserted it could be adjusted downward as needed using the normal filing process (seen here) of adjustment marks. Silver plugs show up on the struck coins as toning differently, sometimes with outlined boarders, other times virtually invisible as the force of the strike blended the two pieces to one. The insertion of silver plugs was abandoned by the Mint in mid 1795 and is not known on our gold coinage, but has been seen on 1794 and 1795 silver dollars as well as very few 1795 half dollars. The use of silver plugs on our coinage is a reflection of how important it was to the founding fathers to have our new Federal coinage accepted as prescribed by law, as the coinage of under weight or sub-standard precious metal coins would have quickly brought international ridicule on our new upstart nation.
Pedigree: From a New England Museum.