US Coins – Spink to sell iconic 1794 Silver Dollar

The first of America’s iconic Silver Dollars will be on sale at Spink USA on 27 January 2015. It will also be available for view at the New York International Numismatic Convention (NYINC) at our stand no. S33-S34 from Thursday January 8 to Sunday January 11, 2015.

Late in 1794, the first U.S. silver dollar was introduced.  These lovely dollars — dame Liberty, her hair flowing, on one side; a rustic eagle in charming display on the other — would find their way into few pockets and purses; a mere 1,758 pieces were minted.

1794 Dollar NGC-50 CAC
1794 Dollar NGC-50 CAC

After independence, the fledgling United States continued to suffer a chaos of currency. Myriad foreign gold and silver circulated filling the gaps created by the chronic shortage of British coin. Payment for a purchase of provisions might be made up of Portuguese gold half joes, an old Dutch leeuwendaalder, some German states silver coins, a well-worn Jacobian shilling, a Spanish 8 Reales, and a cut piece of silver plate. To further compound this each American colony had its own rate of exchange.

Thomas Jefferson in 1776 advocated a decimal coinage. As a coinage model, he pointed to the Spanish 8 Reales, the “Dollar”. In 1786 Congress picked names for U.S. coinage – an eagle equal to 10 dollars, a half eagle, dollar, half dollar, double dime, dime, cent and half cent. Production was now the issue. On the 16th of October, Congress passed ordinance for the establishment of a mint.

George Washington, on April 2, 1792, approved the law, “establishing the mint and regulating the coins of the United States.” The mint’s home would be in Philadelphia.  U.S. coinage would now be composed of gold eagles, and half and quarter eagles; silver dollars, half and quarter dollars, dismes and half dismes; and copper cents and half cents.

Thomas Pinckney, the US Minister to Great Britain engaged Albion Coxe as assayer, while a Philadelphia clock-maker and steam-engine builder, Henry Voight was made the chief coiner of the mint. The national mint would go on to flourish, while the silver dollar would go on to become the United States’ most iconic coin and the dollar the country’s fundamental monetary unit.

The coin is graded AU 50 by NGC and CAC verified, it is quite sharp for the issue, displaying a strong date, bold types and pleasing rich, deep gray toning. The “STATES” on the reverse shows some typical weakness, but the strike is far superior to most examples of this very rare coin.

It is estimated $300,000 – $400,000.

For more information please contact:

Greg Cole or Luke Mitchell at  +1 212 282 8400 or [email protected] / [email protected]

About Spink

Spink is the world’s leading auctioneer of stamps, coins, banknotes, medals, bonds & shares, autographs, books and wine.  Since its foundation in 1666, the Spink name has become synonymous with tradition, experience and integrity. Holder of royal warrants and numerous records for prices achieved at auction, Spink offers an unparalleled range of services to collectors worldwide.  Headquartered in London, with offices in New York, Switzerland, Hong Kong and Singapore, Spink holds over 70 auctions a year.  Catalogues can be accessed through the Spink website ( or via the Spink App for iPhone and iPad.

American Silver Dollars Currently Available on eBay


Related Articles


  1. I had the pleasure of examining this dollar in hand at the Nov Balto Whitman show. It is cleaner, more attractive, and better struck than the Newman coin without the distracting scratches on the bust of the Newman coin. In fact it is cleaner and better struck than 95% of the 100+ 1794 dollars I’ve seen over the decades. One tiny pockmark on Liberty’s top cheek and might have been there since it was struck.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.