Featured in the Rarities Night session of our official auction of the 2016 ANA World’s Fair of Money will be a handsome 1803 Draped Bust silver dollar, a chronological sibling to the "King of American Coins" and an important rarity in its own right. The 1803 issue is a significant and somewhat enigmatic mintage. Though the conventional production figure for the year as listed in some references, including the Guide Book, is 85,634 pieces, this number is derived from a combination of the delivery figures for the 1803 and 1804 calendar years, which assumes that all of the pieces struck during this time period were 1803-dated coins.
While it is now obvious that no 1804-dated dollars were struck in that year, the delivery records of 1803 are similarly misleading in that coins bearing the dates 1801, 1802, and 1803 were likely produced contemporaneously. Because of these skewed figures, the true scarcity of the 1803 Draped Bust silver dollar is largely underestimated.
This piece is dominated by deep olive and pewter tones that enliven to emerald and amber iridescence under a light source. Tinges of mint luster peek out from the most protected regions, complementing the overall unblemished complexion. The fields are pleasantly smooth and suggest reflectivity on the obverse, though magnified inspection reveals the faintest micro porosity atop the highest points.
The overall definition is sharp, despite the exhausted reverse die and a slight central softness that is commonplace among examples of this variety. Previous employments and subsequent lappings of the reverse have removed details of cloud 6, arrow shafts, and tail feathers, though the extant elements are exceptionally acute. With strong eye appeal, this piece is an ideal representative of the Small 3 variety.
This important rarity will be offered alongside other treasures in our Rarities Night session of our August 2016 Anaheim ANA World’s Fair of Money Auction. To consign your rarities to this showcase event, please contact our offices today at 1-800-458-4646 to speak with a Consignment Director and see what Stack’s Bowers Galleries can do for you.