Collecting the 1804 Silver Dollar

The 1804 Silver Dollar

For those interested in collecting rare and unique American silver coins, the 1804 silver dollar will probably be one of the first they will want to add to their coin collection.

The 1804 silver dollar is not only one of the rarest but also one of the most popular silver dollars.

Considering the 1804 dollars weren’t made until 1834 and are still popular with coin collectors, says a lot about them.

The 1804 silver dollar is one of the most publicized of US coins. It is also known as the draped bust silver dollar. Due to the draped “Bust of Liberty”. It features a bold eagle on the reverse.

1804 Draped Bust Silver Dollar

Mint records state that 19,570 dollars were coined, but, it was the practice in those days to use old dies for as long as they were serviceable, with total disregard in the annual reports for the dating of the coins.

Although many silver dollars were dated 1804 by the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia, they were not actually struck in that year. 19,570 silver dollars that were actually minted in 1804 were dated 1803, as the die was still in good condition.

History of the 1804 Silver Dollar

In 1834, the U.S. Dept of State wanted a gift to present to the King of Siam and the Sultan of Muscat. So, President Jackson asked that a complete set of coins be made for each monarch.

The State Dept. wanted the coins to be in mint condition and as attractive a gift as possible. During their research, they discovered that the last year both the ten-dollar gold coin and the silver dollar had been minted was in 1804, so they had new dies made with the date 1804, and that is how the 1804 Silver dollar came to be.

1804 Silver Dollar Reverse - Bald Eagle

There is no coin that has been the subject of more comment, speculation or interest than the fascinating 1804 dollar. Another reason why this silver dollar has been written about and discussed so much through the years is because it was the first coin ever to be officially recognized as a rare coin in the United States.

In fact, the 1804 Silver Dollar is such a popular rarity with the public as well as collectors that it’s known as the King of American Coins.

Silver Dollar Specimens

There are 15 known specimens of the 1804 Silver Dollar in circulation. The collection of 1804 Silver Dollars consists of three classes.

Class I dollars were made around 1834.

The characteristics of the Class I coin are lettered edges and no rust pit on the flip side to the left of the upper olive branch leaf. There are currently eight specimens of the Class I.

  1. The U.S. Mint Specimen
  2. The Stickney-Eliasberg Specimen
  3. The Cohen-ANA Specimen
  4. The Mickley-Reed Hawn Specimen
  5. The Parmalee-Byron Reed Specimen
  6. The Dexter Specimen
  7. The Watters-Childs Specimen
  8. The King of Siam Specimen

Class II dollars were made after 1857 with a plain edge.

To date, there is only one example of this coin… The U.S. Mint Specimen

Class III dollars were also made after 1857

Like Class I dollars they have the lettered edge but have a rust pit on the flip side to the left of the upper olive branch leaf. There are only six examples of the Class III coin.

  1. The Berg-Garrett Specimen
  2. The Adams-Carter Specimen
  3. The Davis-Wolfson Specimen
  4. The Linderman-DuPont Specimen
  5. The Rosenthal-ANS Specimen
  6. The Idler-Bebee Specimen

1804 Silver Dollar Worth

Although the 1804 Silver dollar is not the rarest coin in the world, it is known for being extremely rare.

One aspect that makes it one of the most sought after American coins in the history of coin collecting.

  • In 1999 an 1804 First reverse (original) sold for $4,140,000
  • In 2001 an 1804 Second reverse sold for $874,000

Fakes

Because of the 1804 Silver Dollar’s status as the “King of U.S. Coins”, the 1804 dollar is one of the most frequently counterfeited of all dates and denominations.

All genuine 1804 dollars have been accounted for, and any that turn up for sale outside of a major auction house should be looked upon with suspicion as they are almost certainly fake.

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