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Flowing Hair Dollars
The Flowing Hair Dollar was the first dollar-denomination coin struck in the United States. Chief Engraver of the United States Mint, Robert Scot, created an allegorical representation of Liberty on the obverse of the coin and an eagle on the reverse of the coin as mandated by the Coinage Act of 1792.
But Scot’s Miss Liberty had a look of concern on her face and with her hair blowing back, and the much-maligned scrawny eagle on the reverse, the coin was not well-received.
On October 15, 1794, the first 1794-dated silver dollars were struck and a total of only 1,758 coins were struck for that year. It is estimated that less than 10% of that mintage survives today. Scot’s design had Miss Liberty, facing right, with seven six-pointed stars in front of her face and eight six-pointed stars behind her head. The motto “LIBERTY” would be above her head and the date “1794” below her.
The reverse had a small American eagle perched on olive branches, also facing right. The motto “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” would surmount the eagle. No denomination was stated on either side of the coin whatsoever. Its size would determine its value. But around the edge was “HUNDRED CENTS ONE DOLLAR OR UNIT.”
In 1795, the design remained essentially the same but because so many more coins were struck additional dies were created which created several varieties. There are 1795-dated silver dollars with two leaves below each wing and some with three leaves.
The majority of coins were poorly struck as they were minted on a hand screw-press which was designed for coins that were the size of a half dollar or smaller.