The Classic Head was a coin design issued by the United States Mint in the early 19th century. It was introduced for copper coinage in 1808 by engraver John Reich and later redesigned and improved by Chief Engraver William Kneass.
The short-lived Classic Head interpretation of Liberty was designed by John Reich for use on the half cent and the large cent; however, the design used on the silver and gold coins was developed by William Kneass. The Classic Head depicted Liberty with long, curly hair. The reverse designed by John Reich depicted the coin's denomination and value inside a wreath.
Kneass's design, however, scaled down the design so it would fit on smaller coins and then added a heraldic eagle on the reverse, substituting the simple design by John Reich. A similar design on gold coinage kept the name "Classic Head", but only retained the curly hair. The head was completely redesigned by William Kneass, and featured a traditional maiden with a ribbon binding her long, curly hair.
This variety omitted "E pluribus unum" from the reverse of the coin. In 1840, a smaller head was designed to conform with the appearance of the larger gold coins, therefore making the Classic Head design obsolete. The new Classic Head design was produced from 1834 to 1839.
The Classic Head variety was usually preceded by the Draped Bust design and followed by the Matron Head liberty on copper coinage.
The design was used for the following coins:
R.S. Yeoman, A Guide Book of United States Coins 2009 Edition.
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The Coinage Act of 1792, passed by the United States Congress on April 2, 1792, created the United States dollar as the country's standard unit of money, established the United States Mint, and regulated the coinage of the United States. This act established the silver dollar as the unit of money in the United States, declared it to be lawful tender, and created a decimal system for U.S. currency.
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Robert Scot (October 2, 1745 – November 3, 1823) was an American engraver who served as Chief Engraver of the United States Mint from 1793 until his death in 1823. He was succeeded by William Kneass. Scot designed the popular and rare Flowing Hair dollar coinage along with the Liberty Cap half cent. Scot is perhaps best known for his design, the Draped Bust, which was used on many silver and copper coins. Robert Scot was the most prolific engraver of early American patriotic iconography, with symbols and images depicting rebellion, unity, victory, and liberty throughout his career in America.
Christian Gobrecht was the third Chief Engraver of the United States Mint from 1840 until his death in 1844. He was responsible for designing the famous "Seated Liberty" designs, which were in turn the direct inspiration for the design of the Trade Dollar. He also designed the Gobrecht Dollar, which was struck in small quantities from 1836 to 1838 and later inspired the Flying Eagle cent. He also designed the obverse sides for the Liberty head Quarter Eagle, Half Eagle, and Eagle gold coins, as well as the "braided hair" type Half cent and Large cent coins.
Charles Edward Barber was an American coin engraver who served as the sixth chief engraver of the United States Mint from 1879 until his death in 1917. He had a long and fruitful career in coinage, designing most of the coins produced at the mint during his time as chief engraver. He did full coin designs, and he designed about 30 medals in his lifetime. The Barber coinage were named after him. In addition, Barber designed a number of commemorative coins, some in partnership with assistant engraver George T. Morgan. For the popular Columbian half dollar, and the Panama-Pacific half dollar and quarter eagle, Barber designed the obverse and Morgan the reverse. Barber also designed the 1883 coins for the Kingdom of Hawaii, and also Cuban coinage of 1915. Barber's design on the Cuba 5 centavo coin remained in use until 1961.
The half cent was the smallest denomination of United States coin ever minted. It was first minted in 1793 and last minted in 1857. It was minted with five different designs.
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.
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William Kneass was the second Chief Engraver of the United States Mint from 1824 until his death in 1840. Kneass is credited with designing the "Classic Head" motif, which appeared on numerous denominations of American currency, including the gold quarter eagle ($2.50) and half eagle ($5.00) gold pieces from 1834 to 1839. He also modified John Reich's "Capped Bust" design for use on the half dime through half-dollar from 1829 to 1837.
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"Draped Bust" was the name given to a design of United States coins. It appeared on much of the regular-issue copper and silver United States coinage, 1796–1807. It was designed by engraver Robert Scot.
The Classic Head $2.50 gold coin is an American coin, also called a quarter eagle, minted from 1834-1839. It features Liberty on the obverse and an eagle on the reverse.
James Barton Longacre was an American portraitist and engraver, and the fourth Chief Engraver of the United States Mint from 1844 until his death. Longacre is best known for designing the Indian Head cent, which entered commerce in 1859, and for the designs of the Shield nickel, Flying Eagle cent and other coins of the mid-19th century.
The numismatic history of the United States began with Colonial coins such as the pine tree shilling and paper money; most notably the foreign but widely accepted Spanish piece of eight, ultimately descended from the Joachimsthaler and the direct ancestor of the U.S. Dollar.
The Capped Bust coinage of the United States consisted of a half dime, dime, quarter and half dollar.