United States of America
|Value||1 Dollar United States dollar|
|Mass||26.96 g (416 gr)|
|Diameter||39–40 mm (1.53–1.57 in)|
|Years of minting||1794–1795|
|Design||Bust of Liberty|
|Design||Eagle surrounded by wreath|
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.
In 1791, following a study by Alexander Hamilton, Congress passed a joint resolution calling for the establishment of a national mint. Later that year, in his third State of the Union address, President George Washington urged Congress to provide for a mint, which was officially authorized by the Coinage Act of 1792. Despite the authorization, silver and gold coins were not struck until 1794. The Flowing Hair dollar, designed by Robert Scot, was initially produced in 1794, and again in 1795. In October 1795 the design was replaced by the Draped Bust dollar.
Beginning in the 1780s, a large number of prominent Americans called for the establishment of a central mint to supply the United States with official coinage; all such proposals failed due in large part to lack of funds and opposition from individuals and groups who preferred that coins be struck by the individual states.Since there were no federal coins issued, the needs of the states were fulfilled by a variety of domestic and foreign coins and tokens, including Spanish peso, eight-real coins (popularly known as Spanish dollars or pieces of eight).
In 1789, the United States Constitution, which granted Congress the power "to coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures",was ratified and came into force. The following year, Congress began deliberating on the state of the nation's monetary system and coinage. On January 28, 1791, Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton presented a report to Congress detailing the findings of a study he had conducted on the monetary system and the potential of a United States mint. As part of his study, Hamilton had a series of assay tests of Spanish dollars performed, as that was the coin upon which the United States monetary system would be based. After viewing the results, the secretary recommended that the silver content of the United States dollar be based on the average silver content of the pesos tested. Hamilton's recommendation was that the dollar should contain 371.25 grains of silver and have a gross weight of 416 grains, the balance being copper. On March 3, 1791, after reviewing Hamilton's report, Congress passed a joint resolution authorizing a federal mint; the resolution, however, gave no specifics or appropriations.
In his third annual address to Congress, later known as the State of the Union address, delivered on October 25, 1791, in Philadelphia, President George Washington urged members of Congress to put the joint resolution approved earlier that year into immediate effect:
The disorders in the existing currency, and especially the scarcity of small change, a scarcity so peculiarly distressing to the poorer classes, strongly recommend the carrying into immediate effect the resolution already entered into concerning the establishment of a mint. Measures have been taken pursuant to that resolution for procuring some of the most necessary artists, together with the requisite apparatus.
In response, the Senate appointed a committee chaired by Robert Morris to draft the necessary specifications and legislation that would officially create a federal mint and coinage. parts out of 1,664 (about 89.24 percent) fine silver, with the remainder copper, intended to equal the silver in Spanish dollars. However, an assay of the Spanish dollars was in error—they were in fact 65/72 silver (about 90.28 percent) with the remainder copper.The committee presented a bill before Congress on December 21, 1791, which stated in part that the new dollar coin (which was to form the basis of the United States monetary system) should contain 371 grains of silver and a total weight of 416 grains, as Hamilton had earlier recommended. The new silver coins were to be struck in an alloy containing 1,485
One provision in Morris' legislation called for President Washington to be depicted on the obverse side of every coin struck by the new mint.The bill passed the Senate after debate, but it was altered in the House of Representatives to instead call for the head of an allegorical figure representing Liberty to appear. Upon returning to the Senate, the upper house insisted on its version of the design provision. The House rejected the provision for the second time and passed another version of the bill, after which the Senate concurred. The law, known as the Coinage Act of 1792, was signed into law on April 2, 1792, by President Washington. The Act provided for the creation of the United States Mint, and appropriated money to meet the cost of construction of an appropriate facility, and for salaries for employees and officials. The denominations sanctioned under the Act were half cents, cents, half dimes, dimes, quarter dollars, half dollars, dollars, quarter eagles, half eagles and eagles. On July 31, 1792, the foundation stone of the Philadelphia Mint was laid by newly appointed Mint Director David Rittenhouse. Machinery and personnel began occupying the new building by September 1792, and production began on cents in February 1793. In the first year of production at the Mint, only copper coins were minted, as the prospective assayer could not raise the required $10,000 surety to officially assume the position; the 1792 Coinage Act stated that both the chief coiner and assayer were to "become bound to the United States of America, with one or more sureties to the satisfaction of the Secretary of the Treasury, in the sum of ten thousand dollars". Later that year, Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson appealed to Congress that the amount of the bonds be lowered. On March 3, 1794, Congress lowered the bonds to $5,000 and $1,000 for chief coiner and assayer, respectively.
Early in 1794, engraver Robert Scot began preparing designs for the silver dollar.Scot's initial design depicted a bust of Liberty, while his reverse featured an eagle, both required by the 1792 Coinage Act. Scot's design closely followed his design for the cent, but with the Phrygian cap removed. Government officials later instructed Scot to include a wreath around the eagle and to move the denomination from the reverse face to the edge of the coin. After receiving approval, Scot began engraving the hubs for the new silver dollar. Extra care was taken during the engraving of this denomination, because the dollar would be the largest American coin, and would thus receive the most scrutiny from foreign nations. The lettering was executed by Frederick Geiger, who had worked as a typographer for various books and newspapers. After the dies were created, several copper test pieces were struck. Officials decided to add fifteen stars around the periphery, representing the fifteen states that had ratified the Constitution to that point, to the right-facing Liberty on the obverse.
Now that mintage of the silver denominations could begin, the Mint began seeking depositors to bring in silver and gold bullion to be coined. After receiving several deposits, assayer Albion Cox notified Rittenhouse of his beliefs that the .892 standard approved for silver coinage was difficult to produce and that it would darken if put into circulation. 1792. The Mint's action cost suppliers of silver about one percent of their deposit; the largest depositor, John Vaughan, reckoned his loss at $2,260. Congress approved his petition for reimbursement in 1800, after several delays.Instead, Cox recommended that the purity be modified to .900 fine, but also that the weight be kept at 416 grains. This meant that the new alloy was contrary to statute and that all depositors would be overcharged for their silver bullion deposits, as there was a higher silver content in the coins than was allowed by the Coinage Act of
Before the coins could be struck, the edge lettering and devices had to be impressed on the edge of the planchets. This action was performed with a device known as the Castaing machine; the machine stamped the edge with the words "Hundred Cents One Dollar or Unit" along with ornamentation.As production was inexact, many planchets intended for silver dollars were overweight. This was remedied by filing the face of the planchets; for this reason, the coins vary in weight more dramatically than later issues, which were minted with more precise equipment.
The first silver dollars were struck on October 15, 1794.The silver used for the 1794 dollars came solely from silver ingots deposited with the Mint by Mint Director David Rittenhouse on August 22, 1794. Per a handwritten coin transfer warrant issued by Director Rittenhouse on October 15, 1794, 1,758 silver dollars were transferred from the custody of Chief Coiner Henry Voigt to the custody of Mint Treasurer Dr. Nicholas Way. Also on October 15, per a handwritten coin return warrant issued by Director Rittenhouse, the 1,758 silver dollars were transferred from the custody of Mint Treasurer Dr. Nicholas Way to David Rittenhouse, as a partial coin return towards his August 22 silver deposits. The 1,758 coins that were struck by Chief Coiner Henry Voigt, though acceptable, were poorly struck due to issues with the coining press that was used during early production at the Mint. It was a man-powered screw press intended for use on coins no larger than a half dollar.
On October 16, 1794, after receiving a silver dollar from David Rittenhouse, Secretary of State Edmund Randolph forwarded the dollar coin to President Washington for his inspection.In an attempt to help circulate the coins, Rittenhouse spent many of the new coins and traded them for foreign coins to market the new products of the Mint. Others were distributed to VIPs and distinguished visitors to the Mint. After the initial production, Rittenhouse ordered all dollar coin production to end until Mint personnel could build a more powerful press that would be capable of better striking the coins. The Columbian Centinel (Boston, MA) first wrote an article about the new dollar coins on November 26, 1794:
Some of the new dollars now coining at the Mint of the United States have found their way to this town. A correspondent put one in into the editor's hands yesterday. Its weight is equal to that of a Spanish dollar, but the metal appears finer ... The tout ensemble (entire design) has a pleasing effect to a connoisseur, but the touches of the [en]graver are too delicate, and there is a want of that boldness of execution which is necessary to durability and currency
The new coinage press was completed in early 1795, and the first group of dollars, totalling 3,810 coins, was delivered on May 6. 8 millimetres (0.31 in). It is believed that this was done to correct the weight of underweight planchets. The total mintage for the second and final year of production is estimated at 160,295. In total, 203,033 silver dollars were struck in 1795, but it is unknown exactly how many of those were of the Flowing Hair type, as the Draped Bust dollar succeeded it in October 1795; the Draped Bust dollar was designed by portraitist Gilbert Stuart at the behest of Rittenhouse's successor as Mint Director, Henry DeSaussure.The coins struck on May 8 may have borne a 1794 date, however there is no document or evidence to support such a statement. A number of 1795 dollars (along with one 1794 issue) are known to have been struck with a silver plug set into the center, measuring approximately
Throughout its history, the 1794 dollar has widely been considered one of the rarest and most valuable of all United States coins.In a September 1880 issue of The Coin Journal, the author noted that a good quality specimen of the 1794 dollar was valued at fifty dollars. In the early 1990s, numismatic historian Jack Collins estimated the surviving number of the coins to be between 120 and 130. In 2013, the finest known example, which was among the earliest coins struck and was prepared with special care, was sold at auction for $10,016,875, the highest selling price of any coin in history. The dollar was graded Specimen-66 by the Professional Coin Grading Service, noting the special conditions under which it was struck. The coin, which had previously been owned by Colonel E.H.R. Green, was sold by Stack's Bowers Galleries in a public auction in January 2013. It was previously sold in 2010 for what was then a record sum of $7.85 million, to the Cardinal Collection Educational Foundation. Steven Contursi, a former owner of the coin, said that it was a "national treasure" and that he was proud to have been its "custodian" from 2003 until its sale in 2010. Martin Logies, representative of the foundation that purchased the coin, said that of all the rarities he had seen, he believed that one was the "single most important of all".
The Coinage Act of 1873 or Mint Act of 1873, 17 Stat. 424, was a general revision of the laws relating to the Mint of the United States. In abolishing the right of holders of silver bullion to have their metal struck into fully legal tender dollar coins, it ended bimetallism in the United States, placing the nation firmly on the gold standard. Because of this, the act became contentious in later years, and was denounced by some as the "Crime of '73".
A nickel is a five-cent coin struck by the United States Mint. Composed of 75% copper and 25% nickel, 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). Due to inflation, the purchasing power of the nickel continues to drop, and currently the coin represents less than 1% of the federal hourly minimum wage. In 2018, over 1.26 billion nickels were produced at the Philadelphia and Denver mints.
The United States Mint is a bureau of the Department of the Treasury responsible for producing coinage for the United States to conduct its trade and commerce, as well as controlling the movement of bullion. It does not produce paper money; that responsibility belongs to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. The first United States Mint was created in Philadelphia in 1792, and soon joined by other centers, whose coins were identified by their own mint marks. There are currently four active coin-producing mints: Philadelphia, Denver, San Francisco, and West Point.
The Coinage Act, 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.
The half dime, or half disme, was a silver coin, valued at five cents, formerly minted in the United States.
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 a stylized image honoring the 1969 Apollo 11 Moon mission on the reverse, with both sides designed by Frank Gasparro. It is the only large-size U.S. dollar coin whose circulation strikes contained no silver.
The American twenty-cent piece is a coin struck from 1875 to 1878, but only for collectors in the final two years. Proposed by Nevada Senator John P. Jones, it proved a failure due to confusion with the quarter, to which it was close in both size and value.
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.
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.
The United States large cent was a coin with a face value of 1/100 of a United States dollar. Its nominal diameter was 11⁄8 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.
The Shield nickel was the first United States five-cent piece to be made out of copper-nickel, the same alloy of which American nickels are struck today. Designed by James B. Longacre, the coin was issued from 1866 until 1883, when it was replaced by the Liberty Head nickel. The coin takes its name from the motif on its obverse, and was the first five-cent coin referred to as a "nickel"—silver pieces of that denomination had been known as half dimes.
The United States trade dollar was a dollar coin minted by the United States Mint to compete with other large silver trade coins that were already popular in East Asia. The idea first came about in the 1860s, when the price of silver began to decline due to increased mining efforts in the western United States. A bill providing in part for the issuance of the trade dollar was eventually put before Congress, where it was approved and later signed into law as the Coinage Act of 1873. The act made trade dollars legal tender up to five dollars. A number of designs were considered for the trade dollar, and an obverse and reverse created by William Barber were selected.
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.
John Adam Eckfeldt was a worker and official in the early days of the United States Mint. A lifelong Philadelphian, Eckfeldt served as the second chief coiner of the Mint, from 1814 until 1839.
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.
The United States Assay Commission was an agency of the United States government from 1792 to 1980. Its function was to supervise the annual testing of the gold, silver, and base metal coins produced by the United States Mint to ensure that they met specifications. Although some members were designated by statute, for the most part the commission, which was freshly appointed each year, consisted of prominent Americans, including numismatists. Appointment to the Assay Commission was eagerly sought after, in part because commissioners received a commemorative medal. These medals, different each year, are extremely rare, with the exception of the 1977 issue, which was sold to the general public.
The McKinley Birthplace Memorial gold dollar was a commemorative coin struck by the United States Bureau of the Mint in 1916 and 1917, depicting the 25th President of the United States, William McKinley. The coin's obverse was designed by Charles E. Barber, Chief Engraver of the Mint, and the reverse by his assistant, George T. Morgan. As McKinley had appeared on a version of the 1903-dated Louisiana Purchase Exposition dollar, the 1916 release made him the first person to appear on two issues of U.S. coins.
The United States Sesquicentennial coin issue consisted of a commemorative half dollar and quarter eagle struck in 1926 at the Philadelphia Mint for the 150th anniversary of American independence. The obverse of the half dollar features portraits of the first president, George Washington, and the president in 1926, Calvin Coolidge, making it the only American coin to depict a president in his lifetime.
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.
The five Panama–Pacific commemorative coins were produced in connection with the 1915 Panama–Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco. Struck at that city's mint, the issue included round and octagonal $50 pieces. Excepting modern bullion coins, these two gold pieces are the highest denomination ever issued and the largest coins ever struck by the United States Mint. The octagonal $50 piece is the only U.S. coin to be issued that is not round.
| Dollar coin of the United States (1794, 1795)|
Draped Bust dollar (1795)
Draped Bust dollar