The upcoming Heritage September 17 auction of Important Selections from the Bob R. Simpson Collection, Part I features, among many other outstanding coins, the finest known 1795 dollar struck with silver plug, graded MS65+ by PCGS and pedigreed to the Lord St. Oswald Collection.
The Lord St. Oswald coins have earned exalted status in U.S. numismatics, but only recently is the pedigree understood to a comfortable degree. Some uncertainties remain, confused by the passage of time and by unfamiliarity with the exact individuals who formed the collection, yet the provenance is now clear, thanks to the insightful study of David E. Tripp and other dedicated researchers.
The coins themselves bear witness to more than 220 years of outstanding preservation and careful numismatic ownership.
The Lord St. Oswald coins spent a majority of their years in a coin cabinet crafted by the great maker Thomas Chippendale. That cabinet was just one of about 100 Chippendale pieces to grace the renowned English country house, Nostell Priory.
The U.S. coin portion of the collection consisted of some 84 coins. Colonial, Post-Colonial, and Federal issues were part of the collection. 34 pieces were federal issues dated 1794 or 1795, and they were essentially as struck. The pre-federal issues include examples from every state, and they show varying degrees of wear — as if pulled from circulation. Many of the Uncirculated large cents in the collection were from Mint deliveries made while Strickland was in Philadelphia in December 1794.
It is interesting that no examples of 1795 half eagles, eagles, or Draped Bust dollars are included in the Lord St. Oswald collection — all of those were delivered by the Mint after late July 1795.
Amazingly, the collection survived intact within a single family for more than 150 years. The federal coins in the collection included:
- Two 1794 half cents
- One 1793 Chain cent
- 24 1794 Large Cents
- Three 1795 Half Dollars
- Two 1794 Silver Dollars
- Three 1795 Flowing Hair Silver Dollars
There is nothing confusing about the quality of this splendid 1795 Silver Plug Flowing Hair dollar. It is not only the finest 1795 Silver Plug dollar certified, it is the second-finest 1795 Flowing Hair dollar in existence, surpassed by only the beautiful, million-dollar Bullowa 1795 dollar (also a B-7, BB-18 example, but without a silver plug).
This Lord St. Oswald coin is partially prooflike throughout the obverse margin and toward the center, with lightly frosted devices and ample mint luster shining through. Attractive lilac-blue and pale-gray field toning yields to well-seated, rich-gold patina that surrounds the raised elements and enlivens a sharp strike. The coin is exceptionally well-balanced front-to-back, imbued with similar shades on the reverse that deepen slightly within some of the lettering. A trio of widely spaced, light adjustment marks angle across the hair, temple, and one on the chin, as well as faintly near the rims — surprisingly present but not unusual, despite the Mint-inserted silver plug. Liberty’s cheek is full, rounded, and unblemished.
The reverse displays a full visual of the silver plug, circular and toned deep-blue, its toning likely from a difference in silver alloys. The eagle’s breast feathers are well-defined, with only minor weakening of strike at the eagle’s leg and talons. Struck from the earliest die state (Bowers Die State I), with a tiny die line off each corner of the left ribbon end.
This coin has a well-established provenance and is a stunning Gem — Plus-graded by PCGS with CAC endorsement — sure to attract bids commensurate with its place as the second-finest 1795 Flowing Hair silver dollar.