1794 Flowing Hair Silver Dollar

The Mint Act of April 2, 1792, established the United States Mint and a bimetallic coinage system based on the silver dollar and the gold eagle as the primary monetary units of the nation.

However, the silver dollar was not coined until 1794. It might have appeared sooner had it not been for the $10,000 bond required of Chief Coiner Henry Voigt and Assayer Albion Cox.

When neither Voigt nor Cox could post bond, they were denied permission to handle precious metals, making it impossible for the production of gold or silver coinage to go forward.

The first Director of the Mint, David Rittenhouse, used his influence with Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson and President George Washington to reduce bond to $5000 and $1000 respectively, amounts both could post.

On October 15, 1794, a total of 1,758 silver dollars were struck on a manually powered coin press. This proved to be the entire mintage of the 1794 Flowing Hair Silver Dollar. Rittenhouse took possession of entire group and personally distributed them, keeping at least one for himself (see below). Most of them ended up in general circulation.

Today, the 1794 Flowing Hair Silver Dollar is celebrated as one of the greatest coins in American numismatics. Of the original mintage, perhaps 8% are known to survive.  Intense pressure from collectors virtually guarantees 1794 silver dollar prices to remain on a steep climb.

On May 14, 2010, a 1794 Flowing Hair Silver Dollar sold for $7.85 million. It is in near perfect condition, and is believed by many scholars to be the very first U.S. silver dollar to come off the coining press. This fabulous coin was taken into protective care by Director Rittenhouse and carefully guarded for many generations. On January 24, 2013, this exact same coin sold for over $10 million!

1794 Flowing Hair Silver Dollar

1794 US Silver Dollar Rare
Coin Photos courtesy of Heritage Auction Galleries

1794 Flowing Hair Silver Dollar Value Increase Chart

1794 Flowing Hair Silver Dollar (G-4 Condition)

The 1794 Flowing Hair Silver Dollar is one of the most historically significant coins in American numismatics. It was the first year of the dollar, the monetary unit of the United States, and was produced in very limited quantities. Collectors pay big money to own a 1794 silver dollar. Take a look at the chart above. The blue line depicts the percent price increase of the 1794 silver dollar since Year 2000. It is completely off the charts. You can't see it, but in 2008-09, it reached 12.5 times its value, compared to what it was worth in 2000. It has receded since its all time high, but it is still fair to say it has increased in value many times over the last decade or so. The red line charts the progress of the Rare Coin Values Index, which takes the combined percent change over time of a pre-selected group of 87 rare US coins, the purpose of which is to understand the strength and direction of the overall rare US coin market. The Index uses Year 2000 as a baseline. The 1794 Flowing Hair Silver Dollar is one of the 87 coins included in the Index.


Members of the Rare Coin Values Index
Date Coin Type Grade Est. Retail Value Sep 2021
1793 Liberty Cap Left Half Cent G-4 4000
1802 2/0 Rev 1802 Draped Bust Half Cent G-4 850
1793 Chain AMERI. Flowing Hair Large Cent G-4 10000
1794 Starred Rev Liberty Cap Large Cent G-4 35000
1799 Draped Bust Large Cent G-4 4750
1856 Flying Eagle Cent G-4 6500
1877 Indian Head Cent G-4 600
1909-S VDB Lincoln Cent G-4 600
1914-D Lincoln Cent G-4 170
1922-D (No D) Lincoln Cent G-4 550
1864 Small Motto Two Cent F-12 375
1865 Three Cent Silver PF-65 1750
1884 Three Cent Nickel F-12 925
1795 Flowing Hair Half Dime G-4 1400
1797 Draped Bust, Small Eagle Half Dime G-4 1500
1800 Draped Bust, Large Eagle Half Dime G-4 1100
1865 Seated Liberty Half Dime G-4 300
1879 Shield Nickel VG-8 575
1885 Liberty Nickel VG-8 600
1913-S Type 2 Buffalo Nickel G-4 325
1918/7-D Buffalo Nickel G-4 775
1937-D 3 Legs Buffalo Nickel G-4 475
1796 Draped Bust Dime G-4 2750
1822 Capped Bust Dime G-4 2000
1871-CC Seated Liberty Dime G-4 3250
1895-O Barber Dime G-4 525
1916-D Mercury Dime VG-8 1400
1942/1-D Mercury Dime VG-8 425
1875-CC Twenty Cent G-4 250
1796 Draped Bust, Small Eagle Quarter G-4 11500
1804 Draped Bust, Large Eagle Quarter G-4 4000
1823 Capped Bust Quarter G-4 40000
1870-CC Seated Liberty Quarter G-4 9000
1896-S Barber Quarter G-4 700
1901-S Barber Quarter G-4 4750
1916 Standing Liberty Quarter G-4 2900
1918/7-S Standing Liberty Quarter G-4 1150
1923-S Standing Liberty Quarter G-4 300
1932-D Washington Quarter F-12 100
1794 Flowing Hair Half Dollar G-4 4500
1796 16 Stars Draped Bust Small Eagle Half Dollar G-4 40000
1815/12 Capped Bust Half Dollar G-4 1750
1836 Reed Edge Capped Bust Half Dollar G-4 1000
1870-CC Seated Liberty Half Dollar G-4 900
1892-O Barber Half Dollar G-4 300
1921-D Walking Liberty Half Dollar VG-8 350
1938-D Walking Liberty Half Dollar VG-8 60
1953-S Franklin Half Dollar MS-65 FBL 18000
1794 Flowing Hair Silver Dollar G-4 75000
1796 Draped Bust Small Eagle Silver Dollar G-4 1750
1801 Draped Bust Large Eagle Silver Dollar G-4 1000
1836 Gobrecht Dollar, Name on Base, Circ. Issue XF-40 12500
1873-CC Seated Liberty Dollar G-4 7500
1879 Trade Dollar PF-65 6350
1889-CC Morgan Silver Dollar F-12 800
1893-S Morgan Silver Dollar F-12 3750
1895 Morgan Silver Dollar F-12 (PF Only) 35000
1928 Peace Dollar F-12 225
1849-C Cl. Wreath Type One Gold Dollar VF-20 1350
1855-D Type Two Gold Dollar VF-20 16750
1861-D Type Three Gold Dollar VF-20 33500
1796 No Stars Capped Bust $ 2.50 Quarter Eagle F-12 64500
1808 Capped Draped Bust $2.50 Quarter Eagle F-12 45000
1826 Capped Head $2.50 Quarter Eagle F-12 9500
1838-C Classic Head $2.50 Quarter Eagle F-12 3850
1848 CAL. Coronet $2.50 Quarter Eagle F-12 35000
1856-D Coronet $2.50 Quarter Eagle F-12 10000
1911-D Indian Head $2.50 Quarter Eagle XF-40 3500
1854-D Indian Head Three Dollar F-12 22500
1795 Capped Bust Small Eagle $5.00 Half Eagle F-12 20000
1800 Capped Bust Large Eagle $5.00 Half Eagle F-12 4250
1808 Capped Draped Bust $5.00 Half Eagle F-12 3500
1821 Capped Head $5.00 Half Eagle F-12 32500
1833 Large Date Capped Head $5.00 Half Eagle F-12 16500
1834 Cross 4 Classic Head $5.00 Half Eagle F-12 1300
1861-D Coronet $5.00 Half Eagle F-12 20000
1870-CC Coronet $5.00 Half Eagle F-12 15000
1909-O Indian Head $5.00 Half Eagle XF-40 7250
1795 9 Leaves Capped Bust Small Eagle $10 Eagle F-12 83500
1804 Capped Bust Large Eagle $10 Eagle F-12 20000
1841-O Coronet $10 Eagle F-12 6000
1879-CC Coronet $10 Eagle F-12 11250
1911-D Indian Head $10 Eagle XF-40 2000
1930-S Indian Head $10 Eagle XF-40 31250
1859-O Coronet $20 Double Eagle VF-20 16500
1907 Wire Rim St-Gaudens $20 Double Eagle XF-40 9950
1921 St-Gaudens $20 Double Eagle XF-40 47500

See the 87 Index Coins