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Bust dollar variety ID’d by ICG

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Independent Coin Graders has confirmed and encapsulated a newly discovered die marriage for an 1803 Large 3 Draped Bust silver dollar that was found in an old collection.

The coin has an attractive original surface and is in Very Fine-20 details condition. The collector submitted the coin to dollar expert Randy Campbell at the Baltimore show.

Campbell was unable to match the coin to any known die combination in the Bowers Silver Dollar Encyclopedia.

Diagnostics for the newly-discovered 1803 Large 3 Draped Bust silver dollar.

Diagnostics for the newly-discovered 1803 Large 3 Draped Bust silver dollar.

At the ICG lab, Michael Fazzari confirmed that the obverse die was unlisted and that it was paired with reverse die “B” used on other coins in the series. The reverse of the coin appears to be identical to the reverse (terminal state) used on BB-255, B-6.

Fazzari contacted Mark Borckardt, senior numismatist at Heritage Auctions for further confirmation of the discovery piece. The new die marriage has been assigned BB-257, B-8.

Borckardt added that this is the first early silver dollar variety discovered since a pair of new 1795 varieties were identified in the late 1990s. This die marriage brings the total number of early dollar varieties to 119, not counting the later proof-only or 1804 emissions.

The obverse die is different from any other 1803 dollar. The fact that this obverse has not been seen before may indicate the rarity of this die marriage. Three differences from the other 1803 Large 3 dollar (BB-255, B-6) can be seen in the photographs. The “T” in “Liberty” is repunched at its base. The first star is close to the bust and the “1” in the date is not close to the hair curl.

This article was originally printed in Numismatic News Express.
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