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The Year 1883 in History
On March 3, Congress voted to build three new warships, the first constructed since the Civil War. Since that conflict, America had fallen to 12th place among sea powers of the world.
0n, May 24, 1884 the Brooklyn Bridge opened in a special ceremony (in which 12 people were trampled to death), and Brooklyn and Manhattan were linked by one of the engineering wonders of the world. The dormant volcano Krakatoa, located between Java and Sumatra in the Sunda Strait, exploded on August 27, 1883 in the greatest volcanic disaster since the demolition of most of the island of Santorini (Thera) in 1470 B.C., an eruption that ended much of the Minoan civilization on nearby Crete. Krakatoa took an estimated 36,000 lives and spewed so much dust and smoke into the sky that sunsets around the world were bright red for a year thereafter.
On the entertainment scene, on March 26, 1883 William H. Vanderbilt, age 34, son of Commodore Vanderbilt, threw a party at his Fifth Avenue mansion at a cost of $250,000 to the delight of the social set, perhaps a precursor to other lavish spending which would culminate in the 1890s in the erection of The Breakers, the Vanderbilt "cottage' by the sea in Newport, Rhode Island. Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island saw print in book form, and Mark Twain's (Samuel L. Clemens') book, Life on the Mississippi was published from the world's first significant manuscript for a book submitted on typewritten sheets. William Cody's traveling entourage, "Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show," opened at Omaha, Nebraska in 1883 and went on to achieve great fame in years to come, as Americans were and still are enchanted with dramatizations of the rough and ready cowboy life. Two years later, Annie Oakley would at the age of 25 join the show and become renown for her sharp-shooting prowess, including shooting holes in cards and tickets. Admission tickets punched by the theatre owners as free passes would for many years later be known as Annie Oakleys.
In 1883, Dye's Coin Encyclopedia was published in Philadelphia. This immense volume comprised 1,152 pages and contained over 1,500 illustrations. Distributed widely, the book did much to advance the cause of coin collecting in America
in an era in which few textbooks or price guides were available. Buying and selling prices were given for various United States dollars, among other coins.
In the selling category, Dye listed these prices for Good and Fine examples of silver dollars: 1794 $35 Good, $50 Fine; 1795$1.50, $2.50; 1796 $1.60, $2.75; 1797 $1.60, $2.85; 1798 Large Eagle $1.15, $1.25; 1798 Small Eagle, $2.50, $5.00; 1799 $1.15,$1.25; 1799, 5 Stars Facing, $2.50, $4; 1800 $1.25, $ 1.50; 1801 $1.50, $2.75; 1802 $1.50, $2.75; 1803 $1.50, $2.75; 1804 $375,$650; 1836 $5, $8; 1838 $15, $35; 1839 $10, $25.The following silver dollars were priced in Uncirculated condition by Dye: 1840-1849, each $1.50; 1850 $1.75; 1851$20, $35; 1852 $25, $40; 1853 $1.75, $2.75; 1854 $5, $9; 1855$4, $7; 1856 $3, $5; 1857 $2.25, $3.75; 1858 [impaired and unimpaired Proofs? Dye doesn't specify, but he does list two prices] $ 1 5 and $35; 1859 to 1869, inclusive, each $1.75. Dye listed Proof silver dollars as follows: 1870-1873 and to 1878-1881, each $1.25 to $1.75.