1804 dollar

Last updated

United States
Value1 U.S. dollar
MassClass I: 410.21 grains (26.581 g)–416.4 grains (26.98 g) [1]
Class II: 392.6 grains (25.45 g) [2]
Class III: 402.8 grains (26.10 g)–416.25 grains (26.973 g) [3]
Diameter37-40 mm (1.49-1.57 in)
Composition90.0% Ag
10.0% Cu
1804 dollar type I obverse.jpeg
The obverse of a Class I 1804 dollar
DesignBust of Liberty, facing to the viewer's right, with the date and the word "LIBERTY"
Design date1795
1804 dollar type I reverse.jpeg
The reverse of a Class I 1804 dollar
DesignHeraldic representation of an eagle holding a scroll reading " E PLURIBUS UNUM ", above which are 13 stars and clouds, with "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA" along the periphery
Design date1798

The 1804 dollar or Bowed Liberty Dollar was a dollar coin struck by the Mint of the United States, of which fifteen specimens are currently known to exist. Though dated 1804, none were struck in that year; all were minted in the 1830s or later. They were first created for use in special proof coin sets used as diplomatic gifts during Edmund Roberts' trips to Siam and Muscat.


Edmund Roberts distributed the coins in 1834 and 1835. Two additional sets were ordered for government officials in Japan and Cochinchina, but Roberts died in Macau before they could be delivered. Besides those 1804 dollars produced for inclusion in the diplomatic sets, the Mint struck some examples which were used to trade with collectors for pieces desired for the Mint's coin cabinet. Numismatists first became aware of the 1804 dollar in 1842, when an illustration of one example appeared in a publication authored by two Mint employees. A collector subsequently acquired one example from the Mint in 1843. In response to numismatic demand, several examples were surreptitiously produced by Mint officials. Unlike the original coins, these later restrikes lacked the correct edge lettering, although later examples released from the Mint bore the correct lettering. The coins produced for the diplomatic mission, those struck surreptitiously without edge lettering and those with lettering are known collectively as "Class I", "Class II" and "Class III" dollars, respectively.

From their discovery by numismatists, 1804 dollars have commanded high prices. Auction prices reached $1,000 by 1885, and in the mid-twentieth century, the coins realized over $30,000. In 1999, a Class I example sold for $4.14 million, then the highest price paid for any coin. Their high value has caused 1804 dollars to be a frequent target of counterfeiting and other methods of deception.


The Spanish milled dollar was declared legal tender in the United States in 1793. Mexico Carlos III Pillar Dollar of 8 Reales 1771.jpg
The Spanish milled dollar was declared legal tender in the United States in 1793.

The Coinage Act of 1792, the legislation which provided for the establishment of the Mint of the United States (today the United States Mint), authorized coinage of multiple denominations of gold, silver and copper coins. [4] According to the act, the dollar, or "unit", was to "be of the value of a Spanish milled dollar as the same is now current, and to contain three hundred and seventy-one grains and four sixteenth parts of a grain of pure, or four hundred and sixteen grains of standard silver". [4] The act went on to state that the coin would be struck in an alloy consisting of 89.2 percent silver and 10.8 percent copper. [5] The purity and weight standards outlined in the Act were based on the mean of several assays conducted on Spanish milled dollars. [6] However, the dollars were mandated by Spanish law to contain 90.2 percent silver, and most of the unworn examples in circulation in the United States at the time contained approximately 1.75 grains (0.113 g) more than the silver dollars authorized by the Act. [7] In 1793, President George Washington signed into law a bill which declared Spanish milled dollars legal tender, provided that they weighed no less than 415 grains (26.9 g), which meant that at the lowest weight allowed by law, the Spanish dollars would contain approximately 0.5 percent less silver than the United States dollar coins. [8] [9] As a result, the United States silver dollars and unworn Spanish dollars were largely forced out of circulation in accordance with Gresham's law; the lighter Spanish dollars were shipped in quantity for circulation in the United States, while the heavier pieces would be turned in to the Philadelphia Mint to be recoined into United States coinage to take advantage of the discrepancy in weight. [9] At that time, silver bullion was supplied to the Mint exclusively by private depositors, who, according to the Coinage Act of 1792, had the right to have their bullion coined free of charge. [10] [5] As large silver coins were a preferred method of commerce throughout the world, especially China, a considerable number of the United States dollars requested by silver depositors were exported to satisfy that demand. [9]

The first dollar coins, known as Flowing Hair dollars, were issued by the Mint beginning in 1794. By 1800, a majority of depositors requested their bullion be struck as silver dollars, which were then utilizing the Draped Bust design. [11] This contributed to a shortage of small change in circulation, and as a result, the public became increasingly critical of the Mint. [12] Mint Director Elias Boudinot began encouraging depositors to accept fractional coins, and the production of dollars began to decrease in relation to the smaller coins. [13] Dollar coin production ceased in March 1804, although those pieces bore the date of 1803. [12] [lower-alpha 1] In his 1805 report, Mint Director Robert Patterson stated that "[t]he striking of small coins is a measure which has been adopted to accommodate the banks and other depositors, and at their particular request, both with a view of furnishing a supply of small change, and to prevent the exportation of the specie of the United States to foreign countries." [15] Though none had been struck for over two years, Secretary of State James Madison officially suspended silver dollar coinage on May 1, 1806, addressing a letter to Patterson:

Sir: In Consequence of a representation from the director of the Bank of the United States that considerable purchases have been made of dollars coined at the mint for the purpose of exporting them, and as it is probable further purchases and exportations will be made the President directs that all the silver to be coined at the mint shall be of small denominations, so that the value of the largest pieces shall not exceed half a dollar. [16]


Edmund Roberts' diplomatic mission

In 1832, commercial shipper Edmund Roberts began acting as an envoy to Asia on behalf of the United States government, with the intent of negotiating trade deals in the region. [17] [lower-alpha 2] During his mission, he reached deals both with Said bin Sultan, the Sultan of Muscat and Oman, and the Phra Khlang of Siam (modern Thailand), an important financial minister of that nation. [19] Roberts was given items which were to be presented as gifts to the officials with whom he was negotiating, but described them as being of "very mean quality, and of inconsiderable value". [20] After the treaties were ratified in the United States, Roberts had to return to Siam and Muscat to receive approval from the representatives of those nations. [19] In a letter to the Department of State dated October 8, 1834, Roberts decried the gifts of his previous journey as inadequate and insulting to his hosts in the Orient. [19] In addition to several other items, he requested a set of coins as an appropriate offering to Said bin Sultan:

I am rather at a loss to know what articles will be most acceptable to the Sultan, but I suppose a complete set of new gold & silver & copper coins of the U.S. neatly arranged in a morocco case & then to have an outward covering would be proper to send not only to the sultan, but to other Asiatics. [21]

In a November 11, 1834 letter sent to Mint Director Samuel Moore, Secretary of State John Forsyth approved Roberts' suggestion, writing:

The President [ Andrew Jackson ] has directed that a complete set of the coins of the United States be sent to the King of Siam, and another to the Sultan of Muscat. You are requested, therefore, to forward to the Department for that purpose, duplicate specimens of each kind now in use, whether of gold, silver, or copper. [21]

He also directed Moore to have two Morocco leather boxes made to house the coins. He stated that one should be yellow in color, and the other crimson, and that funds could be drawn from the Treasury for the value of the boxes and coins. [21] Later, in a letter dated December 2, 1834, Forsyth directed Moore to include "national emblems" (including an eagle and stars) on the exterior of the cases. [21]

King Nangklao.jpg
Rama III, the King of Siam, received the second set of coins distributed by Roberts.
Said bin Sultan cropped.jpg
Said bin Sultan was the recipient of a coin set containing an 1804 dollar.

In their book The Fantastic 1804 Dollar, numismatic historians Eric P. Newman and Kenneth E. Bressett assert that a problem arose at the Mint as to how to interpret Forsyth's order. [22] As his initial correspondence indicated that the sets were to include coins of every type then in use, Mint officials included both the silver dollar and gold eagle. [lower-alpha 3] The moratorium on silver dollar coinage had been lifted in 1831, but none had been coined since those issued in March 1804. [24] Two sets of coins, minted in proof finish, were completed and delivered along with their boxes to Roberts shortly prior to his departure on the USS Peacock on April 27, 1835. [25] The dollars included the sets bore the Draped Bust design, depicting an allegorical representation of Liberty on the obverse and a heraldic eagle on the reverse. [26] A list of diplomatic gifts was also proposed for missions to Japan and Cochin-China (today part of Vietnam), which included two additional sets of coins. [27]

Roberts delivered the first set of coins to Said bin Sultan on October 1, 1835. [28] He delivered the next set to King Rama III of Siam the following year, on April 6. [29] Roberts died in Macau on June 12, 1836, before he could initiate contact with any other nations. On June 30, Edmund P. Kennedy, commodore of the diplomatic fleet, wrote to the State Department that he had "directed that the presents [which remained ungifted due to Roberts’ death] be forwarded to the United States". [27] The proof sets meant for Cochin-China and Japan were likely included in the shipment of returned presents. [27] All dollars struck for inclusion in the diplomatic gift sets were likely dated 1804. [30] It is unknown why that date was chosen for the dollars, but numismatic historian R.W. Julian suggests that it could have been done to prevent angering collectors who would not have been able to acquire the 1834-dated coin for their collections; Chief Coiner Adam Eckfeldt, after consulting with Moore, mistakenly determined that 19,570 dollars bearing the date 1804 were struck in that year. [31] [lower-alpha 4] [lower-alpha 5] The dollars minted for the diplomatic gift sets, as well as other examples struck with the same dies, are collectively known as "Class I" 1804 dollars. [34] In total, eight specimens of this type are known today. [35]

Later restrikes

A Class III 1804 dollar 1804 Silver Dollar (Class III).jpg
A Class III 1804 dollar

During the nineteenth century, Mint employees produced unauthorized copies of medals and coins, sometimes backdated. [36] Although coin restrikes were created openly at the Philadelphia Mint from the 1830s, the practice became clandestine by the end of the 1850s. [37] In the decades after the first 1804 dollars were produced, collectors became aware of their existence and desired to obtain them. [38] Several were struck at the Mint in 1858. [39] Those coins, which became known as "Class II" 1804 dollars, had plain, unlettered edges, as opposed to standard issue Draped Bust dollars and those struck as diplomatic gifts, all of which had edge lettering applied by the Castaing machine. [39] In 1859, James Ross Snowden unsuccessfully requested permission from the Treasury Secretary to create patterns and restrikes of rare coins for sale to collectors, and in that year, dealers began offering plain edge 1804 dollars to the public. [39] At least three were offered for sale by various dealers in 1859, and coin dealer Ebenezer Locke Mason claimed that he was offered three by Theodore Eckfeldt, a Mint employee and nephew of Adam Eckfeldt (who had died in 1852). [40] After the public became aware that Mint officials had permitted restrikes, there was a minor scandal which resulted in a Congressional investigation and the destruction of outdated coinage dies. The controversy prompted William E. DuBois, Mint Assayer, to try, in 1860, to recall the examples of the 1804 dollar in private hands. [41] [39] According to DuBois, five coins were known to be privately owned, of which four were recovered. [39] He stated that three were destroyed in his presence, and one was added to the Mint's coin cabinet (of which he was curator, and which is today the National Numismatic Collection), where it remains today. [42] The coin, which is the sole known Class II specimen in existence, was struck over an 1857 Swiss shooting thaler minted for the federal shooting festival held in Bern. [36] The fifth coin, alluded to by DuBois, is not currently accounted for, although its edge may have been lettered after its recovery in an attempt to pass it as an original. [43] Coins with added lettering are known as "Class III" 1804 dollars. [44] The obverse coinage die used to strike the Class II and Class III 1804 dollars was deposited in safekeeping in 1860, and the reverse die was destroyed in that year. [44] The obverse die was defaced in 1869. [45]

An illustration of the edge lettering (in two segments) appearing on the Class I and Class III 1804 dollars 1804 dollar edge.jpg
An illustration of the edge lettering (in two segments) appearing on the Class I and Class III 1804 dollars

Class III dollars are identical to the Class II dollar, except lettering similar to that on the Class I dollars was applied to the edge of the coins. [34] Based on the slightly concave appearance of the Class III dollars, it is likely that all were given edge lettering at some point after striking; as the Castaing machine was meant to be used prior to striking, its improper use resulted in a deformation of the coin surface. [46] Newman and Bressett assert that they were struck at approximately the same time as the Class II dollars, and that the edges were lettered and the coins concealed by Mint employees until 1869, when one was offered to a coin collector, who rejected it as a restrike. [47] However, numismatist S. Hudson Chapman believed that some Class III dollars were struck as late as 1876. [48] In 1875, several were sold by Philadelphia coin dealer John W. Haseltine. [45] Six specimens of the Class III dollar are known today. [35]

Numismatic interest

The Immune Columbia coin in gold, traded by Stickney for an 1804 dollar Immune Columbia gold.jpeg
The Immune Columbia coin in gold, traded by Stickney for an 1804 dollar

Collectors first became aware of the existence of the 1804 dollar in 1842, when a pantograph reproduction of one specimen was featured in A Manual of Gold and Silver Coins of All Nations, a work authored by Mint employees Jacob R. Eckfeldt and William DuBois. [49] [50] The first private collector to obtain an example was Matthew A. Stickney, who acquired the coin from the Mint on May 9, 1843, by trading certain rare coins from his collection, including a unique early United States Immune Columbia coin struck in gold. [51] Interest in coin collecting and the 1804 dollars began increasing, and by 1860, the dollars saw extensive coverage by numismatists. [52] In 1885, auctioneer W.E. Woodward described the 1804 dollar as "the king of coins", a moniker which it maintains today. [53] Numismatic historian Q. David Bowers asserts that the 1804 dollar has attracted more attention than any other coin. [54] All fifteen extant specimens are acknowledged and studied by numismatists. They are identified by nicknames based on prominent owners, or the first individuals known to have possessed the coins. [55]

At the 1962 American Numismatic Association convention, British numismatist David B. Spink announced that he was in possession of a theretofore unknown 1804 dollar specimen. [56] The coin was housed in a yellow leather case embossed with an eagle and other ornamentation, conforming to the description of that made for the King of Siam. The set consisted of a half cent, cent, dime, quarter, half dollar, dollar, quarter eagle, half eagle and eagle. [56] [lower-alpha 6] As all of the coins in the set were dated 1834 with the exception of the dollar and eagle, it provided the first definitive proof that an 1804 dollar was included in the diplomatic presentation sets. [56] According to Spink, the set was offered to him by two women whom he believed were descendants of Anna Leonowens, tutor of the children of Rama IV (half-brother and heir of Rama III) and fictionalized protagonist of the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical The King and I . [58]

Years of production

The fact that no 1804 dollars were struck in 1804 was not widely accepted by numismatists until the early twentieth century. [59] Before such time, the actual year in which they were struck remained contentious among numismatists. Early on, collectors assumed that the 1804 dollars were struck in 1804, and their rarity was explained by various theories. The bulk of the mintage was variously rumored to have been paid to Barbary pirates as ransom, lost at sea en route to China, and melted before leaving the Philadelphia Mint. [60] In 1867, numismatist W. Elliot Woodward acknowledged that 1804 dollars were struck as diplomatic gifts in 1834, but he also believed that others were struck in 1804. [61] Numismatists Lyman H. Low and William T. R. Marvin, writing for the American Journal of Numismatics in 1899, stated that "the journal confidently asserts that there is no dollar dated 1804 which was struck in that year by the U.S. Mint." [62] In 1891, numismatist John A. Nexsen wrote that the Class I 1804 dollars were "without doubt coined in 1804". [63] In 1905, he recanted his earlier assertions, stating that "no one now believes that they were coined in 1804." [64]

According to Newman and Bressett, the manner in which the 1804 dollars were produced is proof that none were struck in 1804. [65] They note that the Castaing machine's edging dies utilized an 'H' that was undersized in relation to the other letters, the same as those used on Draped Bust dollars throughout the regular production of those coins. [65] However, the edge lettering on all Class I 1804 dollars is deformed and partially obliterated, meaning that they were not struck in an open-collared coinage press as was used in 1804, but one which used a steel collar that was not introduced to the Mint until 1833. [65] The deformation of the edge lettering was caused by pressure pushing the coinage metal against the steel collar containing the coin blank. [65] Additionally, many 1804 dollars were struck in proof finish, a technique which was first employed at the Mint in 1817. [66]

Sale prices

From the time numismatists became aware of 1804 dollars, they have commanded high prices, both in relation to their face value and the numismatic value of other silver dollars. [67] Some early examples were maintained in the Mint's coin cabinet for use in trades, and in 1859, dealers began offering Class II dollars priced at $75, while Theodore Eckfeldt reportedly offered a Philadelphia coin dealer three coins for $70 each. [40] In 1883, a Class III dollar was reportedly purchased in Vienna for $740, and a Class I specimen was auctioned for $1,000 in 1885 by Henry and Samuel H. Chapman. [68] [69] In 1903, an example sold for $1,800, and the same coin reportedly sold for $4,250 in 1941. [70] In 1960, a Class III dollar fetched $28,000 at an auction conducted by Stack's, a coin firm, and the same coin reached $36,000 at another Stack's sale in 1963. [71] A Class I specimen brought $77,500 at a 1970 Stack's auction, and during a 1980 rise in coin prices, a Class III example sold for $400,000 by Bowers and Ruddy Galleries. [72] [73] A Class I example reached $990,000 at a Superior Galleries auction in 1990, and an example once owned by coin collector Louis Eliasberg became the first 1804 dollar to surpass $1 million at auction, selling for $1,815,000 at a sale conducted by Bowers and Merena, Inc., in 1997. [72]

The price reached an all-time high in 1999, when the finest known specimen, graded Proof-68 by the Professional Coin Grading Service, which is believed to have been the example presented to Said bin Sultan, was auctioned by Bowers and Merena for $4,140,000. [74] At the time of the sale, this was the highest price paid for any coin. [75] In 2008, a Class I example was sold by Heritage Auctions for $3,737,500, and a Class III was sold by the same firm for $2,300,000 in 2009. [72]

Counterfeits and reproductions

A comparison of a genuine 1804 dollar and an altered-date specimen, from a 1910 book on the subject of rare coins 1804 dollar comparison.jpg
A comparison of a genuine 1804 dollar and an altered-date specimen, from a 1910 book on the subject of rare coins

Counterfeits and spurious reproductions of the 1804 dollar have been created since numismatists became aware of the coins' high value. [76] James A. Bolen, a medallist and coin collector who created copies of valuable coins between 1862 and 1869, fabricated an 1804 dollar by altering the last digit in the date of a genuine 1803 example. [76] Although Bolen added his name to the edge of the coin, other forgers created altered date coins with the intent to deceive. [77] Nineteenth-century stage actor John T. Raymond purchased a specimen of the coin, which was later revealed to be a forgery, for $300. [78] All silver dollars dated between 1800 and 1803 were subject to alteration to 1804 dollars, but 1801 was the date most commonly used for that purpose. [79] [80]

In addition to altered dates, electrotypes of the 1804 dollar were created, both for the purposes of study and fraud. [81] [lower-alpha 7] One such coin in the collection of the San Francisco Mint was described by them as genuine from 1887 to 1927. [83] Electrotypes were also created by Mint employees, and one was used as the basis for the pantograph reproductions which appeared in Eckfeldt and DuBois' 1842 A Manual of Gold and Silver Coins of All Nations. [84]

More modern replicas, known as "Saigon copies", were commonly offered as original at low prices to American soldiers during the Vietnam War. In Saigon and other South Vietnamese cities, as well in nearby Thailand, military personnel were offered the copies by vendors who sometimes claimed that they were family heirlooms. [85] [86] In 2012, Professional Coin Grading Service founder David Hall stated that counterfeit 1804 dollars had been available in Hong Kong for decades. [87]

Known specimens

Nicknames of known 1804 dollar specimens
TypeRepresentative obverseRepresentative reverseSpecimen nicknames [88]
Class I 1804 dollar type I obverse.jpeg 1804 dollar type I reverse.jpeg Mint Cabinet Specimen/U.S. Mint Specimen
Stickney Specimen
King of Siam Presentation Specimen/Siam Specimen
Sultan of Muscat Presentation Specimen/Watters Specimen
Dexter Specimen
Parmalee-Reed Specimen
Mickley Specimen
Cohen Specimen
Class II 1804 dollar type II obverse.jpeg 1804 dollar type II reverse.jpeg Mint Cabinet Specimen/U.S. Mint Specimen
Class III 1804 dollar type III obverse.jpeg 1804 dollar type III reverse.jpeg Berg Specimen
Adams Specimen
Davis Specimen
Linderman Specimen
Driefus–Rosenthal Specimen/Rosenthal Specimen
Idler Specimen

See also


  1. In the early days of the Mint, dies were saved and reused as an economic measure. They were sometimes modified to include the current date, but that practice was not universally applied. [14]
  2. Officially, Roberts was a "special agent", but he was described in a later State Department document as a "Special Envoy". Numismatic historian Q. David Bowers suggests that Roberts' original title may have been chosen to avoid intervention from Congress, as official ambassadors and envoys required approval by the United States Senate. [18]
  3. Although the dollars struck in 1804 bore the date 1803, the eagles struck in that year were not antedated. [23] Mintage of that denomination ceased because the intrinsic bullion value became higher than the face value of the coin. [22]
  4. Moore consulted the Mint records, which indicated that 19,570 dollars were struck in 1804. However, those coins, struck from old dies as was common practice at the time, were dated 1803. [31]
  5. The issue of when dollar coin mintage actually ceased was further confused by a later misreading of Patterson's 1806 annual report to Congress, which erroneously suggested that 321 were coined in 1805. [32] In reality, the coins listed were struck earlier and included as part of a bullion deposit routed through the Mint. [33]
  6. There were two empty openings in the case: one the size of a half dime, and another the size of a quarter eagle. [56] The extra opening may have been used for a quarter eagle inscribed " E PLURIBUS UNUM ", which was removed from that denomination in 1834; [57] The quarter eagle utilized for the set was an example which lacked the motto.
  7. Electrotypes were created by making a wax impression of both sides of the coin, coating the impressions with graphite, then submerging them in a plating solution. Copper in the solution was deposited into the impressions, creating reproduction of the obverse and reverse, which were then joined together. [82]

Related Research Articles

Nickel (United States coin) Current denomination of United States currency

A nickel is a five-cent coin struck by the United States Mint. Composed of cupronickel, the piece has been issued since 1866. Its diameter is 0.835 inches (21.21 mm) and its thickness is 0.077 inches (1.95 mm).

The dollar coin is a United States coin with a face value of one United States dollar. Dollar coins have been minted in the United States in gold, silver, and base metal versions. Dollar coins were first minted in the United States in 1794.

Two-cent piece (United States) Coin of the United States (1864–1873)

The two-cent piece was produced by the Mint of the United States for circulation from 1864 to 1872 and for collectors in 1873. Designed by James B. Longacre, there were decreasing mintages each year, as other minor coins such as the nickel proved more popular. It was abolished by the Mint Act of 1873.

Double eagle Gold $20 coin of the United States

A double eagle is a gold coin of the United States with a denomination of $20. The coins are 34 mm x 2 mm and are made from a 90% gold and 10% copper alloy and have a total weight of 1.0750 troy ounces.

United States Bicentennial coinage Three US coins minted in 1975–1976

The United States Bicentennial coinage is a set of circulating commemorative coins, consisting of a quarter, half dollar and dollar struck by the United States Mint in 1975 and 1976. Regardless of when struck, each coin bears the double date 1776–1976 on the normal obverses for the Washington quarter, Kennedy half dollar and Eisenhower dollar. No coins dated 1975 of any of the three denominations were minted.

Eisenhower dollar United States dollar coin

The Eisenhower dollar was a one-dollar coin issued by the United States Mint from 1971 to 1978; it was the first coin of that denomination issued by the Mint since the Peace dollar series ended in 1935. The coin depicts President Dwight D. Eisenhower on the obverse, and on the reverse a stylized image honoring the 1969 Apollo 11 Moon mission based on the mission patch designed by astronaut Michael Collins. Both sides were designed by Frank Gasparro. It is the only large-size U.S. dollar coin whose circulation strikes contained no silver.

Pattern coin Sample coin to demonstrate the design of a coin

A pattern coin is a coin which has not been approved for release, but produced to evaluate a proposed coin design. They are often off-metal strike, to proof standard or piedforts. Many coin collectors collect and study pattern coins because of their historical importance. Many of the world's most valuable coins are pattern coins; nearly 25 of the pieces listed in 100 Greatest US Coins are pattern coins.

Seated Liberty dollar United States silver dollar coin minted from 1840–1873

The Seated Liberty dollar was a dollar coin struck by the United States Mint from 1840 to 1873 and designed by its chief engraver, Christian Gobrecht. It was the last silver coin of that denomination to be struck before passage of the Coinage Act of 1873, which temporarily ended production of the silver dollar for American commerce. The coin's obverse is based on that of the Gobrecht dollar, which had been minted experimentally from 1836 to 1839. However, the soaring eagle used on the reverse of the Gobrecht dollar was not used; instead, the United States Mint (Mint) used a heraldic eagle, based on a design by late Mint Chief Engraver John Reich first utilized on coins in 1807.

Gobrecht dollar US silver dollar coin (1836–1839)

The Gobrecht dollar, minted from 1836 to 1839, was the first silver dollar struck for circulation by the United States Mint since production of that denomination was officially halted in 1806. The coin was struck in small numbers to determine whether the reintroduced silver dollar would be well received by the public.

Draped Bust dollar United States dollar coin minted from 1795 to 1803

The Draped Bust dollar is a United States dollar coin minted from 1795 to 1803, and was reproduced, dated 1804, into the 1850s. The design succeeded the Flowing Hair dollar, which began mintage in 1794 and was the first silver dollar struck by the United States Mint. The designer is unknown, though the distinction is usually credited to artist Gilbert Stuart. The model is also unknown, though Ann Willing Bingham has been suggested.

Flowing Hair dollar Coin minted by the United States from 1794 to 1795

The Flowing Hair dollar was the first dollar coin issued by the United States federal government. The coin was minted in 1794 and 1795; its size and weight were based on the Spanish dollar, which was popular in trade throughout the Americas.

Large cent One-cent coin in the United States from 1793 to 1957

The United States large cent was a coin with a face value of 1/100 of a United States dollar. Its nominal diameter was 118 inch (28.57 mm). The first official mintage of the large cent was in 1793, and its production continued until 1857, when it was officially replaced by the modern-size one-cent coin.

1913 Liberty Head nickel Rare United States coin

The 1913 Liberty Head nickel is an American five-cent piece which was produced in extremely limited quantities unauthorized by the United States Mint, making it one of the best-known and most coveted rarities in American numismatics. In 1972, one specimen of the five cent coin became the first coin to sell for over US$100,000; in 1996, another specimen became the first to sell for over US$1 million. A specimen was sold for US$3 million in a 2004 private sale, then resold for US$3.7 million at a public auction in 2010.

Three-dollar piece US three-dollar coin (1854–1889)

The three-dollar piece was a gold coin produced by the United States Bureau of the Mint from 1854 to 1889. Authorized by the Act of February 21, 1853, the coin was designed by Mint Chief Engraver James B. Longacre. The obverse bears a representation of Lady Liberty wearing a headdress of a Native American princess and the reverse a wreath of corn, wheat, cotton, and tobacco.

Farran Zerbe American numismatist (1871–1949)

Joseph Farran Zerbe was an American coin collector and dealer who was the president of the American Numismatic Association (ANA) in 1908 and 1909. He served as chief numismatist at the World's Fairs in St. Louis (1904), Portland (1905), and San Francisco (1915).

Bridgeport, Connecticut, Centennial half dollar 1936 US commemorative coin

The Bridgeport, Connecticut, Centennial half dollar is a commemorative fifty-cent piece issued in 1936 by the United States Bureau of the Mint to honor the 100th anniversary of the incorporation of Bridgeport, Connecticut, as a city. Designed by Henry Kreis, the obverse depicts the showman P. T. Barnum, who was one of Bridgeport's most famous residents, was mayor of the city, helped develop it, and is buried there. The reverse depicts a stylized eagle.

Turban Head eagle US ten-dollar gold piece (1795–1804)

The Turban Head eagle, also known as the Capped Bust eagle, was a ten-dollar gold piece, or eagle, struck by the United States Mint from 1795 to 1804. The piece was designed by Robert Scot, and was the first in the eagle series, which continued until the Mint ceased striking gold coins for circulation in 1933. The common name is a misnomer; Liberty does not wear a turban but a cap, believed by some to be a pileus or Phrygian cap : her hair twisting around the headgear makes it resemble a turban.

Louisiana Purchase Exposition gold dollar United States commemorative coin

The Louisiana Purchase Exposition gold dollar is a commemorative coin issue dated 1903. Struck in two varieties, the coins were designed by United States Bureau of the Mint Chief Engraver Charles E. Barber. The pieces were issued to commemorate the Louisiana Purchase Exposition held in 1904 in St. Louis; one variety depicted former president Thomas Jefferson, and the other, the recently assassinated president William McKinley. Although not the first American commemorative coins, they were the first in gold.

Liberty Head double eagle American twenty-dollar gold piece

The Liberty Head double eagle or Coronet double eagle is an American twenty-dollar gold piece struck as a pattern coin in 1849, and for commerce from 1850 to 1907. It was designed by Mint of the United States Chief Engraver James B. Longacre.

California Diamond Jubilee half dollar United States commemorative silver fifty-cent piece

The California Diamond Jubilee half dollar was a United States commemorative silver fifty-cent piece struck at the San Francisco Mint in 1925. It was issued to celebrate the 75th anniversary of California statehood.


  1. Newman & Bressett, 2009, pp. 120–122.
  2. Newman & Bressett, 2009, p. 128.
  3. Newman & Bressett, 2009, pp. 129–130.
  4. 1 2 Act of April 2, 1792, p. 3.
  5. 1 2 Act of April 2, 1792, p. 4.
  6. Breen, 1988, p. 423.
  7. Newman & Bressett, 2009, pp. 20–21.
  8. Act of February 9, 1793, p. 7.
  9. 1 2 3 Newman & Bressett, 2009, p. 21.
  10. Julian, 1993, p. 35.
  11. Julian, 1993, p. 44.
  12. 1 2 Julian, 1993, p. 46.
  13. Newman & Bressett, 2009, p. 22.
  14. Bowers, 1999, p. 41.
  15. American State Papers, 1832, p. 165.
  16. Laws of the United States Relating to the Coinage, 1892, p. 16.
  17. Bowers, 1999, p. 142.
  18. Bowers, 1999, p. 191.
  19. 1 2 3 Newman & Bressett, 2009, p. 63.
  20. Roberts, 1837, p. 319.
  21. 1 2 3 4 Bowers, 1999, p. 195.
  22. 1 2 Newman & Bressett, 2009, p. 64.
  23. Yeoman, 2008, p. 255.
  24. Julian, 1993, p. 432.
  25. Newman & Bressett, 2009, pp. 64–65.
  26. Yeoman, 2008, p. 210.
  27. 1 2 3 Newman & Bressett, 2009, p. 65.
  28. Bowers, 1999, p. 235.
  29. Bowers, 1999, p. 264.
  30. Bowers, 1999, p. 28.
  31. 1 2 Julian, 1993, p. 433.
  32. Newman & Bressett, 2009, p. 17–18.
  33. Newman & Bressett, 2009, p. 18–19.
  34. 1 2 Newman & Bressett, 2009, p. 35.
  35. 1 2 Newman & Bressett, 2009, p. 203.
  36. 1 2 Newman & Bressett, 2009, p. 75.
  37. Bowers, 1999, pp. 17–19.
  38. Newman & Bressett, 2009, p. 78.
  39. 1 2 3 4 5 Newman & Bressett, 2009, p. 80.
  40. 1 2 Newman & Bressett, 2009, pp. 80–81.
  41. Frossard, 1891, p. 231.
  42. Newman & Bressett, 2009, pp. 75–81.
  43. Newman & Bressett, 2009, p. 81.
  44. 1 2 Newman & Bressett, 2009, p. 112.
  45. 1 2 Newman & Bressett, 2009, p. 88.
  46. Newman & Bressett, 2009, pp. 60–61.
  47. Newman & Bressett, 2009, p. 114.
  48. Bowers, 1999, p. 356.
  49. Newman & Bressett, 2009, p. 19.
  50. Eckfeldt & DuBois, 1842, Plate II.
  51. Newman & Bressett, 2009, pp. 71–73.
  52. Bowers, 1999, p. 348.
  53. Bowers, 1999, p. 350.
  54. Bowers, 1999, p. 347.
  55. Bowers, 1999, p. 357.
  56. 1 2 3 4 Newman & Bressett, 2009, p. 66.
  57. Yeoman, 2008, p. 247.
  58. Bowers, 1999, p. 359.
  59. Albanese, 2009, p. 111.
  60. Newman & Bressett, 2009, pp. 24–25.
  61. Bowers, 1999, p. 351.
  62. Newman & Bressett, 2009, p. 94.
  63. Nexsen, 1891, p. 98.
  64. Nexsen, 1905, p. 102.
  65. 1 2 3 4 Newman & Bressett, 2009, p. 58.
  66. Newman & Bressett, 2009, p. 61.
  67. Newman & Bressett, 2009, p. 13.
  68. Newman & Bressett, 2009, p. 129.
  69. American Journal of Numismatics, 1904, p. 92.
  70. McIlvaine, 1941, p. 29.
  71. Newman & Bressett, 2009, p. 194.
  72. 1 2 3 Beety, 2013, p. 9.
  73. Newman & Bressett, 2009, p. 189.
  74. Newman & Bressett, 2009, pp. 175–178.
  75. Newman & Bressett, 2009, p. 178.
  76. 1 2 Newman & Bressett, 2009, p. 103.
  77. Newman & Bressett, 2009, p. 103–104.
  78. The Art Collector, 1891, p. 90.
  79. Newman & Bressett, 2009, p. 105.
  80. Alexander & Co., 1910, p. 8.
  81. Newman & Bressett, 2009, pp. 106–107.
  82. Ruddy, 2005, p. 265.
  83. Newman & Bressett, 2009, p. 106.
  84. Newman & Bressett, 2009, p. 107.
  85. Rochette, 1997.
  86. Ganz, 2010, p. 99.
  87. Numismatic News, 2012.
  88. Bowers, 1999, pp. 357–369.