Draped Bust Dollar

Posted by on March 9, 2012

Coin Weight (g) Composition Silver Melt Value Full Melt Value
Draped (1795-1804) 26.96 89% silver, 10% copper
BS 1802drapedbustdollar 300x152 Draped Bust Dollar

1802 Draped Bust Dollar

The Draped Bust Dollar was first coined in 1795 thru 1803.  1795 was the year the firs United States dollar was last struck.  There are two types for this silver coin.  The first was minted in 1795 and 1798 with the “Small Eagle Reverse” being the same as the previous silver dollar.  Then in 1798 the “Heraldic Eagle Reverse” was designed by John Eckstein and used for the Draped Bust Dollar until 1804 when the silver dollar was discontinued.

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The 327,536 silver dollars struck in 1798 may have either reverse.  There are also numerous variations.  The 1798 Small Eagle has two with either 13 or 15 Stars.  The 1798 Heraldic Eagle has six and there 35 generally recognized variations for the entire series.  Draped Bust Dollar was minted every year during its run and is not consider as being rare.  The 1798 and 1799 are the most common due to the large number minted at the time; 327,536 and 423,515 respectively.  Proof coins were struck; about 5 in 1801 and 10 or so in 1802 and again in 1803 when business strikes stopped.

MS 1804 dollar obverse 300x297 Draped Bust Dollar

1804 Draped Bust Dollar re-stirke proof obverse

The earlier silver dollars were not used domestically as much as in foreign exchange.  This drain of the United States dollars prompted President Thomas Jefferson to suspend the minting of US dollars.  About 15 Proofs were re-struck with the date 1804 as presentation pieces for collectors.  There are also a few other re-strike Proofs known.  There are also numerous counterfeit pieces to be wary of great deals, being familiar with these coins and being able to compare them before buying them is one of the better ways of protecting yourself.

The Draped Bust Dollar regardless of variation will have lettering “HUNDRED CENTS ONE DOLLAR OR UNIT” with various ornaments in between each word.  They are all also 27 grams of 90% silver and 10% copper and 39-40 millimeters in diameter.

The obverse is designed by Robert Scot based on a drawing by Gilbert Stuart.  The bust of Liberty faces left, her long hair tied back with a bow.  The date in under her along the rim, from both sides stars continue around the rim on the left and right of the coin surrounding Liberty.  “LIBERTY” arches over her interrupting the stars along the rim.

The Draped Bust Dollar has a few variations with the number of stars.  It was thought that there should be a star for each state, and then it seemed problematic when they realized how cluttered the coins were becoming they decided to switch to having only thirteen stars representing the original states.  Even after the decision to use thirteen stars, there are still star variations.

The reverses of the Draped Bust Dollar has two types.  The first is the ‘Small Eagle Reverse’, having a bald eagle standing on a rock with wings spread.  A wreath surrounds the eagle and around that encircling the coin by the rim is “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA”.

MS 1804 dollar reverse 300x297 Draped Bust Dollar

1804 Draped Bust Dollar re-strike proof reverse

The second type, “Heraldic Eagle Reverse”, has a larger bald eagle with wings spread and a national shield on its chest.  The eagles left talon hold 13 arrows, although there is a 1800 variation with 12 arrows and also one with 10 arrows for 1800.  The right talon holds an olive branch.  In the eagles beak is a scroll with “E PLURIBUS UNUM” on it.  Above the eagle, between its wings is a field of 13 evenly distributed stars, although some variations have 15.  Arching above the stars and still between the wings is a string of clouds.  Then encircling all this along the rim is “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA”.

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