1780 Regulated Dollar
This is America’s first dollar coin.
Only two exist. One is permanently housed in the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation Museum in Pennsylvania. This is the second.
On July 4, 1776, the 13 colonies declared their independence from Britain. For the next eight years — before the U.S. mint issue of the 1794 Bust Dollar — skilled American metalsmiths regulated foreign coins, like this Bolivian 8 Reale, by cutting them to an appropriate weight, plugging them with silver, and applying their counterstamp as verification of quality.
While many regulated gold coins have come up for auction, regulated silver is much rarer.
This coin is an astonishing specimen of this fascinating corner of American numismatics. Stamped with “PS”, it was adjusted and verified by Philip Syng, a renowned silversmith and close friend of Benjamin Franklin. Syng is probably best known for the “Syng Inkstand”, used to sign the Declaration of Independence.
This Regulated Dollar was issued circa 1780, 13 years after the word “dollar” first appeared on colonial paper currency. It features the symbol that went on to become our modern dollar symbol ($): two pillars representing the rocks at Gibraltar — the gateway to the new world — with a banner wrapped around them.
Steeped in symbolism and history, it was minted in 1763 at the Potosi Mint in Bolivia and made its way to the United States at a time when our founding fathers were still laying the foundations of our great country and working to cement our place on the world stage.