Ugly Draped Bust Dollars



Draped Bust coins may be among the most beautiful U.S. coins ever minted, but not all of them are. Because of their strike, wear, toning, or damage, some are about as appealing as a case of chicken pox.

But sometimes there's beauty to a coin that has survived the years, weathered but not beaten, a beauty distilled by hard experience in the world. A harsh beauty. Conventionally ugly, some coins shine forth with their stark uniqueness. Other coins are just plain ugly. To a significant extent, ugliness, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.















1798 dollar first graded by ANACS as EF details, corroded, adjustment marks, Net VF-20, then graded by PCI as VF-35.















1798 dollar with edge shaved (3 o'clock to 5 o'clock on obverse and 1 o'clock to 3 o'clock on reverse) and spotting.















1798 dollar with two deep gouges on obverse that nearly push through the reverse and a small gouge on Liberty's nose that gives her a clownish appearance.















1798 dollar with clumsily applied graffiti on the reverse that distorts the obverse, plus a rim ding at 11:30 on the obverse.















1798 dollar with artificial toning exhibiting gaudy circus coloration that doesn't smoothly transition from one color to the next.















1799 dollar with heavy corrosion, stains, rim dings, scratches, and a bent planchet. Remarkably, it still sold for $240 on eBay.















Heavily worn 1799 dollar with a barely discernable date that was holed and clumsily plugged and that's heavily gouged, scratched, and stained. This is the ugliest Bust dollar I've ever seen ... it cost me $65.

















1799 dollar that had been countermarked on the obverse with a series of Xs. It appears that somebody later attempted to cover up the countermarks with silver solder but stopped when he realized the attempt was a dismal failure.

















1799 dollar in an NGC AU-50 slab. It's a truism that beauty is subjective, but the splotchy toning on Liberty's face and the two planchet flaws on the reverse make this a coin that only its mother could love.

















1799 dollar in a PCGS MS-63 slab. The legitimate grading services do a good if not perfect job spotting artificial toning. One indication of AT is wild, circus colors, such as those on this coin. PCGS felt that this toning was authentic.















1800 dollar with a hold that has been very clumsily plugged, and a nasty scratch in the right obverse field to boot.















1802 over 1801 dollar that was harshly cleaned and artificially retoned, which isn't hidden by the photo's colorful background.






1802 dollar in an NGC AU-53 holder, with two very distracting stain lines on the obverse. Grading services don't seem to mind stains, even when they're major eye sores.















1803 dollar with hairlines so severe they look like they were caused by steel wool.

Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, but the same can't be said about authenticity. Because of their age, desirability, and market value, with Bust dollars, you need to beware of counterfeits.




Draped Bust


Anne's Life

Anne's Death

1804 Dollar


Dollar Set






Other Images

More Info

Other glomworthy coins:

Oldest Coins

 Athenian Owls

Alexander the Great Coins

Medusa Coins

Thracian Tetradrachms

House of Constantine

Draped Bust Coins

Saint-Gaudens Double Eagles

Coin sites:
Coin Collecting: Consumer Protection Guide
Glomming: Coin Connoisseurship
Bogos: Counterfeit Coins

© 2014 Reid Goldsborough

Note: Any of the items illustrated on these pages that are in my possession are stored off site.