One Dollar Menu
Draped Bust Dollar 1795 - 1804
With a change in leadership at the Mint the short-lived Flowing Hair design (approved
by Rittenhouse) was marked for replacement by the new Mint Director H. W. DeSaussure.
Possibly at the suggestion of President Washington, DeSaussure engaged portraitist
Gilbert Stuart to create a new design for the silver coins. DeSaussure, set out
immediately to improve the designs of all the silver denominations.
Designer: Obverse by Robert Scot, reverse by John Eckstein
Content: 90% silver 10% copper
Diameter: 39-40 millimeters
Weight: 27 grams
Edge: Lettered - "HUNDRED CENTS ONE DOLLAR OR UNIT", ornaments between words vary
Mint Mark: There are no mint marks on these coins, all coins were minted in Philadelphia.
Type 1 (1795-1798)
The new design was very striking. Where the earlier Flowing Hair design was youthful
and vivacious with her hair flowing freely behind her, the new design was a full
figured woman in the flower of womanhood and her hair bound by a ribbon. LIBERTY
and the date are the only inscriptions on the obverse. This portrait has come to
be known as the Draped Bust design and appears on the most valuable U.S. coin rarity,
the 1804 silver dollar.
In 1795 (the second year of silver dollar production) both the "Flowing Hair" type
and the "Draped Bust" type were produced.
When the Flowing Hair portrait of Liberty was retired, the Mint made the decision
to keep the reverse essentially the same. The small, naturalistic eagle encircled
by a wreath was retained with UNITED STATES OF AMERICA inscribed around the border.
However, the eagle seems more graceful, also the eagle is perched on a cloud instead
of a rock. In addition, the lauerl wreath was replaced by a wreath of palm and olive branches.
Lettering on the edge is: HUNDRED CENTS ONE DOLLAR OR UNIT, with decorations separating the words.
Type 2 (1798 - 1804)
In 1798 the young hatchling eagle seen on the earlier dollar was replaced with an
larger, older and more naturalistic eagle that was more in keeping with heraldic iconography.
There was a major oversight in the Heraldic Eagle: It was the placement of the arrows
in the eagle's right claw (the more honorable placement in heraldry) thusleaving
the olive branch in the left (or less honorable) claw. This implyed that War was
more honorable than peace. We assume the implications were unintended.
During the six years that the Draped Bust Heraldic Eagle dollars were struck, 1,153,709
coins were produced. However, there are dozens of die varieties. While most involving
only a small difference in the placement of the stars, numerals, letters or other
design elements, there are other important design changes.
There are two different patterns of stars on the reverse above the eagle's head on
the 1798 dollar. The first was known as the "cross pattern" (a modification of The
Great Seal of the United States). The second stars arrangment was two triangular
groups of six joined by a single star in the middle (known as the "arc pattern").
The earlier "cross pattern" configuration is generally the scarcer of the two.
Around 1800 silver dollars began to disappear from circulation. This was because
many were being shipped overseas or being melted for their intrinsic value. Over
two centuries after they were manufactured, the Draped Bust dollars continues to
be widely collected.
Click Here for:
U.S. Bust Silver Dollars