Draped Bust Dollar
There are two distinct types of – the Small Eagle variety was struck from 1795 to 1798 and the Heraldic Eagle variety that was struck from 1798 to 1804.
Due to the reaction of the public and Administration officials to the design of the Flowing Hair Silver Dollar, the Mint Director, Henry William De Saussure, wanted to redesign the coins. It is believed that portrait artist Gilbert Stuart had delivered sketches of his rendition of Miss Liberty to the US Mint, and they were to be used as models for the redesign of the Silver Dollar.
Mint Engraver Robert Scot used these designs to create the new silver dollars. This version of Miss Liberty was more lifelike than the previous effort and she was more well-received. She also faced right, had the motto “LIBERTY” above her, with seven six-pointed stars to her right, in front of her face and eight six-pointed stars behind her head. The dates would be located beneath her on the obverse. The reverse had the same scrawny eagle perched on olive branches as previous with the legend “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” around the coin.
In the latter part of 1795, these newly designed Silver Dollars were struck. In 1796, nearly double the number of 1795 coins were struck and released. Numerous varieties were unintentionally struck but all varieties are close in value. Only 7,776 coins struck that were dated 1797.
1798 was the final year of this design and had 327,536 coins struck. There are two distinct obverses for this date: 15 Stars on the Obverse and 13 Stars on the Obverse. The Mint recognized that if they continued to add Stars to the Obverse of these coins, they would become the dominant design element, so they settled on honoring the 13 original colonies instead to represent the current states no matter how many were added to the Union.
Later in 1798, Scot was instructed to revise the eagle reverse. He changed a small eagle perched on olive branches to a large eagle that greatly resembled the one on the Great Seal of the United States. This eagle was much larger, had it wings upward, and had a Union shield covering its breast. In the right talon were 13 arrows and in the left was an olive branch. In the eagle’s beak was a banner on which was inscribed “E PLURIBUS UNUM.” Above the eagle were 13 six-pointed stars with a bank of clouds above the stars, and “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” encircled the periphery. The edge bears the inscription “HUNDRED CENTS ONE DOLLAR OR UNIT.” This design continued until 1803 and in this short-lived series are numerous varieties.
The Mint stopped striking silver dollars in 1803. They had more than they needed, and they wanted the half dollar to become the dominant coin for commerce in America. They also wanted to stem the flow of American silver dollars to Asia to be melted.
But things had changed by the 1830s. US Mint Director, Samuel Moore, asked President Andrew Jackson for permission to begin coining silver dollars once again. The US Mint was to give two Asian dignitaries each a set of American proof coins. The State Department ordered two sets of proof coins to be given to the King of Siam and to the Sultan of Muscat and Oman.
What the mint succeeded in creating was the undisputed King of American silver dollar coins. The 1804 Silver Dollars are possibly the most desired of all US coinage. They were struck in the 1834 – 1835 period solely for use in these two presentations sets and for use in Proof Sets.
There are 8 known originals, 7 known restrikes, and 4 US Mint made electrotypes of the plain edge specimen for a total known population of 19 coins.