1 Dollar, United States, 1794


Once a new national government had been established under a new Constitution, attention naturally turned to ways of proclaiming national identity. A new, national coinage was one way of doing so, especially if it featured patriotic new images, rather than the endless sequence of crowned monarchs and coats of arms adorning the coinage of Old Europe.

A U. S Mint Act was passed in 1792, and work was quickly underway. Designs were chosen-a depiction of Liberty for obverses, an eagle, or the value within a wreath, for reverses. The first of the new coins, copper cents and half cents, appeared early the following year. By 1794, mint designers were working to create a silver dollar, the flagship of the new denominations. But they first made a trial piece, in copper.

Robert Scot created the dies for this design, a Liberty head with flowing hair for the dollar's obverse; an eagle within a simple wreath for the reverse. The new dies to be used in producing silver dollars were tested with a striking in copper. Copper would took a good impression, and would allow Scot and his associates to see whether the dies were cut deeply enough and would therefore be capable of producing the detail wanted on the final silver product.

Only one piece, this coin, was struck in copper, and it is a unique national treasure.

Date Made: 1794

Mint: U.S. Mint, PhiladelphiaDesigner: Scot, Robert

Place Made: United States: Pennsylvania, PhiladelphiaCity: United States: Pennsylvania, PhiladelphiaProvince: United States: PennsylvaniaCountry: United StatesPolitical Area: United States

See more items in: Work and Industry: National Numismatic Collection, Coins, Numismatics, Coins, Currency and Medals, Legendary Coins

Exhibition: Value of Money

Exhibition Location: National Museum of American History

Related Web Publication: http://americanhistory.si.edu/coins/glossary.cfm

Related Publication: Zoomable Image and Details, Sewer, Andy; Allison, David; Liebhold, Peter; Davis, Nancy; Franz, Kathleen G.. American Enterprise: A History of Business in America, Feingold, Ellen R.. Value of Money, The, Glossary of Coins and Currency Terms

Credit Line: Norman & Harvey G. Stack

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: 1987.0910.01Accession Number: 1987.0910Catalog Number: 1987.0910.0001

Object Name: coin

Physical Description: copper (overall material)Measurements: overall: 38 mm; 1 1/2 in

Guid: http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ng49ca746ab-0fa6-704b-e053-15f76fa0b4fa

Record Id: nmah_835239

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