1802 Draped Bust Silver Dollar. Narrow Date. BB-241, B-6. NGC MS-65.
This is one of the finest, most attractive surviving Draped Bust, Heraldic Eagle silver dollars in fabulous GEM Mint State-65 condition. Fiery amber cools to crimson and indigo highlights across both sides. The design elements are uniformly bold and well pronounced, certainly far sharper than typically encountered. Indeed, Liberty displays impressive hair and profile definition, as do the eagle’s wing feathers and the shield elements on the reverse – all highlighted by dominant cartwheel luster.
Mintage figures for the 1802 silver dollars are rather hazy. The official report notes that 41,650 dollars were struck for the calendar year of 1802. However, based on the number of known surviving specimens this number is believed to be markedly lower than the actual quantity of 1802-dated coins coined. Q. David Bowers calculates that the true figure is likely closer to 80,000 coins produced not only in 1802, but also in 1803. The number of dies that were prepared for the issue is uncertain, though seven different die pairings for the 1802/1 overdate and only two die marriages for the normal date have so far been conclusively categorized. The Bowers-Borckardt 241 die variety is by far the most available of all the 1802 silver dollars and in fact for the entire type. Most of the estimated 1,500 to 2,750 extant specimens are found in the Very Fine to Extremely Fine grade range, with a somewhat smaller quantity found at the lower levels. At the other end of the spectrum, there are only about 50 to 70 Mint State pieces known. Several extraordinary notable specimens are listed in Bowers’ 2013 book, The Encyclopedia of United States Silver Dollars: 1793-1804, all clustered around the MS-63 and MS-65 levels. This piece is not on that roster, though it should be noted that they were not able to positively identify all of the coins listed therein from some of the sales held in the days prior to grading and certification services. This coin is surely among the finest known of not only the variety but also for any 1802-dated silver dollar.
The last auction record we can locate for a Mint State-65 Narrow Date 1802 Early Dollar is from the Eliasberg sale of April 1997 conducted by Bowers and Merena. This was an auction which was obviously well attended, that superb example brought $165,000 in a market that was mediocre at best.
The NGC published price is $265,000 for one of five (5) other coins certified as MS65 (none finer!). The Coin Dealer Newsletter (CDN) Collector’s Price Guide published value is $236,000. We were able to acquire this coin recently at what we believe is a Fair Market Value and offering it at a very attractive price when compared the those that are published.