1795-98 Silver Dollar Draped Bust Small Eagle

This historical information is provided complements of NGC (Numismatic Guarantee Corporation). NGC is the "grading service of choice" of the ANA (American Numismatic Association), the largest collector oriented organization in the United States. NGC is one of the two largest independent grading services. NGC has been grading coins since 1987, and have graded in excess of four million coins.

A precocious country during its formative years, the United States grew quickly in size and stature throughout its first half-century as an independent nation. It didn't reach maturity nearly as fast, however, as the likeness of Miss Liberty on U.S. silver coinage.

When Liberty first appeared on the nation's silver coins in 1794 she was youthful and vivacious, with her hair flowing freely behind her. Focusing on that feature, collectors refer to these coins as the Flowing Hair type. But it didn't take long for this innocent- looking maiden to reach the full flower of womanhood: The very next year a new portrait showed her, in the words of coinage critic Cornelius Vermeule, as "a buxom Roman matron" having long, elegant tresses neatly tied back with a ribbon and a bow and ample cleavage visible above a fold of drapery.

This full-figured portrait has come to be known as the Draped Bust design, and it holds a significant distinction: It appears on the obverse of the 1804 silver dollar, one of the most famous and most valuable U.S. coin rarities.

For a time, the Draped Bust portrait graced all five silver coins then being issued: the dollar, half dollar, quarter, dime and half dime. The dollar got the jump on all the others, though, receiving this design partway through production in 1795. It didn't make its debut on the other four coins until 1796.

Selection of the dollar as the new design's first showcase underscored the primacy of that coin. The dollar was the cornerstone of the monetary system devised by the Founding Fathers, and the $1 coin was not only the largest silver issue but, in the view of officials overseeing the Mint, the most prestigious as well as most important. They had made that clear in 1794 when they chose to have dollars struck before anything else at the outset of silver coinage, only then giving the go-ahead for the smaller silver pieces.

Replacement of the short-lived Flowing Hair design coincided with a change in leadership at the Mint. David Rittenhouse resigned as the Mint's first director at the end of June 1795, and his successor, Henry William DeSaussure, set out at once to improve the designs of all the denominations, particularly those struck in silver.

Possibly at the urging of President George Washington, DeSaussure engaged portraitist Gilbert Stuart to fashion a new design for the silver coins. Stuart prepared a drawing of the Draped Bust figure, reportedly basing the portrait on Philadelphia socialite Ann Willing Bingham, said to be the most beautiful woman of her time. This sketch was translated to plaster by artist John Eckstein of Providence, Rhode Island, and the dies were executed by Mint Chief Engraver Robert Scot.

Though the Flowing Hair portrait of Liberty was retired, the Mint kept the reverse essentially the same. It features a small, naturalistic eagle encircled by a wreath, with UNITED STATES OF AMERICA inscribed around the border. On the Draped Bust coinage, this "Small Eagle" reverse does reveal subtle refinements: The eagle seems more graceful, for example, and it's perched upon a cloud instead of a rock (as had been the case on the Flowing Hair coinage). In addition, the wreath has been modified: The previous laurel branches have given way to branches of palm and olive. LIBERTY and the date are the only inscriptions on the obverse. Lettering on the edge proclaims the statement of value: HUNDRED CENTS ONE DOLLAR OR UNIT, with decorations separating the words.

The entire first-year production of Draped Bust silver dollars took place in the last two weeks of October, 1795 and totaled a modest 42,738 pieces. That's barely one-fourth the mintage of 1795 Flowing Hair dollars; some 160,000 of those had been struck earlier. Nonetheless, both types historically have commanded comparable premiums. The Flowing Hair dollar benefits from its wide appeal as a type coin: That series was made for only two years, and the 1794 is a major rarity, so the 1795 is the only realistic option for most buyers.

The Draped Bust/Small Eagle dollar didn't last much longer. It remained in production for only four years, from 1795 to 1798, before the small eagle was replaced by a large, heraldic eagle. The Draped Bust portrait retained its spot on the obverse until production of dollars was suspended in 1804 because of heavy melting. When dollar coinage resumed in 1836, the obverse bore a new Seated Liberty portrait.

Although the series is short, Draped Bust/Small Eagle dollars come in more than a dozen major varieties. Some of these distinctions are based on the size of the date and the inscriptions. Most of the varieties, however, are tied to the number of stars on the obverse and the way they are arranged. There were 15 stars in the first two years, representing the number of states in the Union at the time. With Tennessee's admission, the number rose to 16 in 1797. Then, in 1798, it dropped back to 15 (apparently because old dies were being used) before ending up at 13 for the 13 original colonies.

Only about 450,000 Draped Bust/Small Eagle dollars were issued in the four years combined, nearly three-fourths of them in 1798. Noted scholar Walter Breen estimated that just 3 percent survive. The low point came in 1797, when a mere 7,776 were produced. The rarest variety is the 1797 dollar with 9 stars to Liberty's left, 7 to her right and small letters. The low production figures are understandable, given the fact that during the 1790s a dollar represented a full day's pay for some Americans and a living wage, at that.

Proofs weren't struck officially for this series, but a few presentation pieces are prooflike. These dollars are scarce and highly collectible even in lower circulated grades and are rare in mint condition. Points to check for wear are the hair above Liberty's forehead and the crest of the eagle's breast. Although the series is short, it is generally collected by type because each component is so scarce.

SPECIFICATIONS:

Diameter: 39-40 millimeters
Weight: 26.96 grams
Composition: .8924 silver, .1076 copper
Edge: Lettered
Net Weight: .77344 ounce pure silver

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

Bowers, Q. David, Silver Dollars & Trade Dollars of the United States, A Complete Encyclopedia, Bowers & Merena, Wolfeboro, NH, 1993.

Breen, Walter, Walter Breen's Complete Encyclopedia of U.S. and Colonial Coins, F.C.I. Press/Doubleday, New York, 1988.

Taxay, Don, The U.S. Mint and Coinage, Arco Publishing Co. Inc., New York, 1966.

Yeoman, R.S., A Guide Book of United States Coins, 47th Edition, Western Publishing Co., Racine, WI, 1993.

 

IMPORTANT NOTICE
FACTORS YOU MUST CONSIDER IN PURCHASING COINS AND BULLION ITEMS

 

RISK: The purchase of coins or bullion items are highly speculative and involves substantial risk. As in other markets, coin or bullion prices can be extremely volatile and will rise and fall depending upon market conditions. Therefore, before purchasing coins or bullion, you should first have adequate cash reserves and other assets to absorb a potentially significant loss. Sorry, but we do not make recommendations, we think you should buy what you want.

 

HOLDING PERIOD: Historically, few coins or bullion items  have appreciated dramatically in the short term. Therefore, purchasers should recognize that it may well be necessary for them to hold coins for a 3 - 5 year period, or even a 5 - 10 year period, to have any chance of realizing a significant   gain.

 

The Tulving Company (Since 1990)

P.O. Box 6200, Newport Beach, CA 92658
800-995-1708, FAX 714-545-3031
If You Are in Alaska or Hawaii, call 714-545-3030

E-Mail hannes@tulving.com

 

Return to The Tulving Company Homepage

 

Gold, Platinum, Palladium & Silver Coins

 

2008 Gold Silver Platinum Eagle Rolls Bags Boxes PCGS Coins Site Map

2008 Gold Silver Platinum American Eagles

2008 $50 American Eagle 1 Oz

2008 American Silver Eagles Dollar Coin Mint Box

2008 American Eagle 1 Oz Silver $1 Coins

PCGS First Strike US Silver Eagles 2008 American Eagles Coin Rolls

 

2008 1 Oz Gold Coins

2008 Buffalo $50 Gold 1 Oz Coins

2008 Canadian Maple Leaf $50

2008 Chinese Panda 1 Oz Coin

2008 Australian Gold Lunar Mouse Rat

2008 Austrian Philharmonic 1 Oz Gold

 

Silver Bars Coins Bags Rolls Box

American Eagle 1 Oz Silver Dollar

90% Junk Silver Coin Bag

American Silver Eagles Dollar Coin Box

A-Mark 1 Oz Silver Rounds Rolls

Engelhard Silver Bars JM 100 Oz Johnson Matthey

American Silver Eagle Box of $1 Rolls

A-Mark Silver 10 Oz Bars

100 Oz Silver Bars .999 Bar

1 Oz Silver .999 Rounds

1 Oz American Silver Eagle Dollars

 

American 1/10, 1/4, 1/2, 1 Oz Gold Silver Platinum Eagles

Platinum 1 Oz American Eagle

American Eagle $50 Gold 1 Oz Coin

Eagle Gold $25 Dollar American 1/2 Oz Coins

Proof 1 Oz American Eagle 50 Dollar

1/10 American Eagles $5 Gold Rolls

American Eagle Gold 10 Dollar 1/4 Oz Coins

1 Oz American Eagle Gold 50 Dollar Coin

Silver Eagle Proof Dollar Coins

Silver Platinum American Eagles Mintages

 

PCGS PR69DCAM MS70 MS69 PR70DCAM $1 $5 $10 $25 $50 Coins

PCGS MS70 1/10 Gold American Eagles

Proof Sacagawea PCGS PR69DCAM $1

Silver Eagle Dollar PCGS PR70DCAM

$100 American Platinum 1 Oz Eagle Proof Coins

Buffalo PCGS PR70DCAM $50

PCGS MS70 EAGLES $5 $10 $25 $50

Platinum American Eagle $50 PCGS PR69DCAM

Proof Silver Eagle PCGS PR69DCAM American $1

PCGS Certified Presidential Rolls

 

Gold Bullion 1 Oz Coins And Bars

Australian Gold Kangaroo 1 Oz Nugget

Austrian Philharmonic .9999 Bullion 1 Oz Coins

2007 Canadian Maple Leaf .99999

American Buffalo .9999 24 K

Chinese Panda 1 Oz Gold Coins

South African Gold Krugerrand 1 Oz

Credit Suisse 1 Oz Gold .9999 Bar

Pamp Suisse Gold 24 Karat Bars

South African Gold Krugerrand 1 Oz Coins

Johnson Matthey Gold Bars JM Bullion Bar

 

Canadian Maple Leaf Gold Platinum Palladium 1 Oz Coins

Canadian Maple Leaf .9999 1 Oz

1 Oz .999 Gold Canadian Maple Leaf

Canadian Platinum Maple Leaf  Coin

Canadian Maple Leaf Bag Marked Coins

Canadian Palladium Maple Leaf 1 oz

 

Australian Lunar Series 1 Oz Gold Coins

Perth Mint Australian Lunar 1 Oz  Rat 1996 Mouse

Gold Lunar Coins From Australia 1997 Year Of Ox

Australia Gold 1 Oz Chinese Lunar 1998 Tiger Coins

Chinese Lunar Coin From Australia 1999 Rabbit

Australian Lunar Dragon 2000 1 Oz Coins

Perth Mint Gold Australian Snake 2001 Serpent

Australian Lunar Series One 2002 Horse Coins

1 Oz Australian Gold 2003 Chinese Lunar Goat

Chinese Lunar 2006 Rooster From Australia

Australian Lunar Series One 2006 Dog

Australian Lunar Calendar Pig 2007 Boar

Buy Gold Silver Platinum Palladium Coins Buying Bullion Bars

Buy Australian Gold Lunar Coins

Buy Gold Coins 1 Oz Canadian Maple Leaf $50

Buying Selling Silver Bullion 10 Oz Bars

PCGS Gold American Eagle MS69 Buy Sell

Buying Gold Silver Platinum Bullion Coins

We Sell Gold Palladium Platinum Silver Bullion Bars Coins For Less

Buy Sell Gold Silver Selling Buying Gold Bars Bags Boxes

Certified Coin Dealer Buys And Sells Gold Coins

Buy Sell Gold Silver Platinum Bullion Bars Coins

Buying Platinum Coins

Buying Gold Coins

Buying Silver Eagles American Eagle Coins

 

Pre 1933 U S Gold Coins

$20 Saint Gaudens Double Eagles Pre 1933

$20 Liberty Pre 1933 U S  Double Eagles

PCGS MS62 US $20 Gold Liberty Double Eagle Coins

US $20 Gold Liberty Double Eagle PCGS MS63 Coins

PCGS US Gold $20 Liberty Double Eagle MS65 Coins

PCGS US Gold $20 Saint Gaudens Double Eagle MS64 Coins

US $20 Gold Saint Gaudens Double Eagle PCGS MS62 Coins

 

Pre 1933 Foreign Gold Coins

Swiss Helvetia 20 Franc Pre 1933 European Coins

British Sovereign ( King )

French Rooster World Coins

British Sovereign Queen Victoria Coins

World Gold French Angel 20 Franc

Italian Umberto 20 Lira

Belgium Leopold 20 Franc

Netherlands 10 Gulden Kings

Russian 15 Rubles

World Gold French Napoleon 50 Francs

European Pre 1933 Gold Danish 20 Kroner

Swedish 20 Kroner

German 20 Mark

 

Tulving Company Information

Important Information And Services

Company Day Night And Weekend Phone Hours

Free Overnight Shipping

Bullion Specials

References And Bank Wiring Instructions

PCGS Certified Coin Financing

Family Members Working For The Tulving Company

PCGS Coins Only EBay Store

Gold Platinum In Your IRA

24 K American Buffalo Coin Praise

 

Free Historical U S Coin Information

Carson City Mint

Dahlonega Mint

Charlotte Mint

Liberty Type 1 Double Eagles

Double Eagle Liberty Type 2

Type 3 Double Eagles

U S Silver Trade Dollars

Bust Small Eagle Silver Dollars

90% Silver Washington 25

Flowing Hair Liberty 1/2 Dollar

Draped Bust Liberty Heraldic Eagle 1/4 Dollar

American Buffalo Nickel

1/4 Eagle Liberty Capped Bust

$5 Indian Head 1/2 Eagle

Indian Head Quarter Eagles

90% Silver 1/4 Dollar

90% Silver 50 Franklin 1/2 Dollars

90% Silver Kennedy 1/2 Dollar

Seated Liberty No Motto Silver Dollar

$1 Eisenhower Silver Dollars

$1 Liberty Head Peace Silver Dollar

$1 Liberty Head Morgan Dollars

Pattern American Silver Dollars

Draped Bust Silver Eagle Dollar

 

New Pages

Foreign Gold Coins

Mexican 50 Peso

100 Austrian Corona Hungarian Korona

Austrian 4 Ducats

20 Franc Post 1933 Swiss Helvetia

50 Peso Mexican Coins