Coin Values Moving with Precious Metals: Up-Dated 11/30/2020: Gold $1777 | Silver $22.16


Bust Dollar Values

Bust dollar values for this colonial series begin at the $545 level. A majestic coin in size and design, follow a step by step method of identifying date and variety combination. Condition is key to an accurate value; grading images and descriptions narrow the range.

Bust Silver Dollar Draped Bust Variety

Steps Leading to Value:

  • Step 1: Date and Mintmark Variety - Different dates and varieties are identified.
  • Step 2: Grading Condition - Images and descriptions pinpoint the key areas to judge deciding condition.
  • Step 3: Special Qualities - High initial value requires a close inspection of quality.

Avidly collected and studied, there is a ready market for your coin. Judging the different combinations of date and variety and, adding judging condition is complex. Proceed slowly, review the value chart to understand the potential of Bust silver dollars.

Bust Dollar Values
1794 to 1804
 Condition of Coin
DateGoodFineExtremely
Fine
Mint
State
  Bust Dollar Values Updated 2020
Flowing Hair Variety
1794 $33,017 RARE RARE RARE
1795 $1,503 $2,609 $5,903 RARE
Draped Bust Variety | Small Eagle Reverse
1795 $1,069 $2,721 $4,572 RARE
1796 $1,204 $2,191 $5,031 RARE
1797 $1,101 $2,417 $6,790 RARE
1798 $1,820 $2,956 $7,350 RARE
Draped Bust Variety | Heraldic Eagle Reverse
1798 $545 $868 $2,688 $15,563
1799 $628 $884 $2,823 $15,143
1800 $589 $1,069 $2,254 $18,153
1801 $698 $1,036 $3,472 $17,295
1802 $844 $1,106 $3,211 $22,181
1803 $718 $1,003 $2,564 $17,045

The above are wholesale coin values. Computed from dealer's price lists with various mark-up factors figured in. They reflect closely the value you would expect to receive when selling. Variations in value do occur subject to subtle grading points, collector demands and dealer needs. However, Bust Dollars are very popular and currently in strong demand.

Step 1: | Variety and Date Identified

First US dollar coins were struck in 1794 with a flowing hair design to Liberty. An eagle with wings outstretched pointing downward is within an olive wreath on the reverse. This design carries the dates 1794 and 1795 and is a very scarce coin today. A new design was produced within the first years.

All varieties of Bust dollars were struck at the Philadelphia mint, still new in 1794 and adding capabilities.

Draped Bust Dollar: Small Eagle Variety 1795 to 1798

Small Eagle Variety Draped Bust Silver Dollar

Liberty's portrait was redesigned, locks of her hair are now drawn back and tied with a ribbon. A draped gown was added and stars and legend remain surrounding the rim. An eagle similar as the first is now within a wreath of olive and palm branches. All of the variety with the small eagle reverse are scarce and desirable.

Draped Bust Dollar: Heraldic Eagle Variety 1798 to 1804

Heraldic Eagle Draped Bust Silver Dollar

The major change of the variety is the Heraldic eagle reverse. Now the eagle is more formal with the US shield on chest. Thirteen arrows are in the right claw and olive branch in left. Held in the eagle's beak is the scroll inscribed E Pluribus Unum - (of many, one). Completing the design are clouds and stars above the eagle. Production of the Heraldic Eagle variety approached 900,000 pieces. They are an historical coin from the early days of US mintage. Many factors contribute to value. Condition is judged next in Step 2.

Step 2: | Judging Condition Determines Grade | Narrows Value

Values of these majestic coins is dependent on collectors. They are searching for the best condition coins they can afford for their collections. By necessity, each coin is carefully examined and the amount of wear is determined. A "Grade" is assigned and from there an accurate value begins to emerge.

Condition Discovers Bust Dollar Values

Understand a large difference in value is often due to a small difference in wear. Compare your coins to the grading images below. Look closely at the amount of hair detail on Liberty and feather detail on the eagle's wings. Don't clean or rub your coins to get a clear view, use a magnifying glass. These coins are that important.

If your coin is in nicer condition than Fine grade, seek professional services as to grade and authenticity. See Step 3 for help in authenticating a grading.

Grade Set of Bust Silver Dollars in Fine and Good Grades

Fine Grade: Draped Bust Silver Dollar

Obverse View: Fine Grade Draped Bust Silver Dollar

Obverse: Features Identifying the Fine Grade: Wear is moderate over the entire surface. Many bold details remain.

Hair at the back of Liberty's head is visibly separated from the major waves over her ear. Although the major wave is weak and faded.

Liberty's cheek is flattened, her shoulder is flattened, however, a slight contour spans her neck to chest.

Curls of hair at back of neck and shoulder are well detailed. Major lines and strands are free of merging.

Reverse View: Fine Grade Draped Bust Silver Dollar

Reverse: Features Identifying the Fine Grade: Many bold details remain on the reverse. Eagle has a few feathers visible and a sharp outline to the claws.

Three clear rows of feathers are visible on the wings. Some blending is towards the top edges with clear detail towards the ends of the feathers.

Top upwards sweep detail of the shield faded but visible.

A moderate amount of the high profile of the cloud detail is flattened. Clouds retain a raised contour and are bold from the field.

Good Grade: Draped Bust Silver Dollar

Obverse View: Good Grade Draped Bust Silver Dollar

Obverse: Features Identifying the Good Grade: Liberty is well worn and fully represented and bold. Wear has reduced most details to faint or missing.

A complete outline of Liberty remains raised from the field of the coin.

Hair strands are visible at the back of Liberty's neck. Merging of strands has occurred, however major strands show separation.

A strong rim shows along most of the edge. Note: rim height varies on many coins due to strike, some variance is in definition is expected.

All lettering, date, and stars are visible.

Reverse View: Good Grade Draped Bust Silver Dollar

Reverse: Features Identifying the Good Grade: Completeness of major elements are key to achieving the Good grade.

Most small details of the eagle are worn flat. Wing feathers are smooth and head are smooth. A complete outline remains including tips of wings.

Many stars above the eagle are faint but all are visible. Clouds are also visible.

Legend is readable with fading only at the tops of letters. Most letters are separate of the rim.

Step 3: | Special Qualities Enhancing Value

Authenticity is one of the greatest qualities of these old Bust dollars. Minted in limited quantities in comparison today and now scarce, authentic examples are an historic coin. However, over the years because of the high value, Replicas have been produced. A replica of US coinage, if marked as "Copy" is lawful and legal to sell as a novelty. They are sold today, often bearing the extremely rare 1804 date. It can lead to confusion because of the unfamiliarity of original pieces.

Additionally, counterfeits (unlawful examples) are known of bust dollars. Meant to deceive, these try to match as closely to original coins as possible. Levels of quality are found in counterfeit coins, many are low quality, and identified quickly. Others are high levels of sophistication and deceptive. The high values of bust dollars attract counterfeit attempts.

PCGS and NGC Grading Holders

Grading Services both authenticate and grade coins. Submitting coins worth over $100 to a major grading service is routinely done by collectors and dealers. Benefits the marketability of the coin and assurance against counterfeits. All Bust dollars are candidates to send to one of the top two services. Professional Coin Grading Services (PCGS) and Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC) are the industry leaders.

An additional benefit, each coin is housed in special, protective holder. Identity of the coin's grade is marked on holders and attribution of special varieties is often requested for bust dollars, further increasing the value of the coin. PCGS and NGC is an insight to the services. Visit each, both have listing of dealers who help advise and assist in the authentication and grading process.

References

US Mint. 1892 US Mint Annual Report. https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/book/316
US Mint. Catalogue of Coins of the United States. https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/book/554591

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