The D. Brent Pogue Collection

backChoice Mint State 1794 Half Dollar

Lot 1095
Choice Mint State 1794 Half Dollar

O-101a, First Variety Issued
Ex: Boyd, Hayes, Noblet
Single Finest at PCGS

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1794 Flowing Hair Half Dollar. O-101a. Rarity-3+. MS-64 (PCGS) The D. Brent Pogue Collection 1794 half dollar is from the first pair of dies used to strike that denomination and is no doubt from the first delivery of this denomination made on October 15, 1794. As Jimmy Hayes, a former owner of this coin and a scholar of early coinage, has said, this is the rarest first-year-of-issue Mint State American silver coin. Our description of it as part of the Hayes Collection in 1985 is as follows:
"Choice Brilliant Uncirculated, full mint luster, some faint planchet adjustment marks on the eagle and a tiny rim planchet defect below the first star. Exquisite gray and iridescent toning. A superb specimen, and if not the finest known, certainly equal to it."

So far as can be determined, there was no numismatic interest in the new half dollars at the time of mintage, none are known to have been set aside or presented, and all were routinely placed into circulation. The survival of a 1794 in any Mint State level was a matter of rare chance. Accordingly, among the half dollars in the Pogue Collection this coin is indeed very special.

The first silver coin production at the Mint consisted of 5,300 half dollars and 1,758 silver dollars delivered on October 15, 1794, to the Mint treasurer by Chief Coiner Henry Voigt. Earlier, Voigt had made dies, but by 1795 that specialty was entrusted to Chief Engraver Robert Scot. On February 4, 1795, a large batch of 18,164 half dollars was delivered from 1794-dated dies.

Half dollars of the Flowing Hair design continued to be made in 1795. This short-lived motif was replaced with the Draped Bust obverse and Small Eagle reverse motif the following year.

Today, with heightened interest in rare coins and, especially rarities in high grades, this coin will be an object of discussion for a long time.

Provenance: F.C.C. Boyd; Numismatic Gallery’s (Abe Kosoff and Abner Kreisberg) “World’s Greatest Collection” Sale, April 1945, lot 2; Stack’s; Chicago Collection; our sale of the Jimmy Hayes Collection, October 1985, lot 50; our sale of the E. Richard Collection, October 1989, lot 693; Douglas L. Noblet; our Rarities Sale, January 1999, lot 1.

Rarities Auction Accompanying the D. Brent Pogue Collection

Stack’s Bowers Galleries will be hosting an exclusive Rarities Auction, held in conjunction with The D. Brent Pogue Collection. We will be accepting limited consignments of United States and world coins and paper money, featured in a spectacular catalog reserved for the rarest of the rare. Special terms will apply. If you are interested in participating in this unique opportunity, please call 949-748-4849 or email us at [email protected].

Alternatively, you can fill out our online consignment form. Click here to view the form.