The First US Silver Dollar Ever Minted

An 1836 Gobrecht Dollar (J-60). This is an auc...

An 1836 Gobrecht Dollar (J-60). This is an auction scan from American Numismatic Rarities (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Gobrecht dollar, minted from 1836 to 1839, was the first silver dollar struck for circulation by the United States Mint after production of that denomination was officially halted in 1806. In 1835, Director of the United States Mint Robert M. Patterson began an attempt to redesign the nation’s coinage. Christian Gobrecht was hired as an engraver. On August 1, Patterson wrote a letter to Philadelphia artist Thomas Sully laying out his plans for the dollar coin. He also asked Titian Peale to create a design for the coin. Sully created an obverse design depicting a seated representation of Liberty and Peale a reverse depicting a soaring bald eagle. After the designs were created and trials struck, production of the working dies began in September 1836. After a small
quantity was struck for circulation, the Mint received complaints
regarding the prominent placement of Gobrecht’s name on the dollar, and
the design was modified to incorporate his name in a less conspicuous
position. In January 1837, the legal standard for the percentage of
precious metal in silver coins was changed from 89.2% to 90%, and the
Gobrecht dollars struck after that point reflect this change. In total,
1,900 Gobrecht dollars were struck during the official production run.

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