1794 DRAPE BUST DOLLAR
PCGS AG03The First U.S. Silver Dollar Struck at the U.S. Mint... Historically Significant Coin from the Young Republic of the United States. These silver dollars were intended to replace the Spanish, English, Dutch and French coins that dominated local commerce and ''pocket change'' of the post-Colonial era.
The First U. S. Mint Engraver, Robert Scot, created the Flowing Hair Silver Dollar, which were only produced for two years, from 1794 to 1795. On a single day, October 15, 1794, a mere 2,000 Flowing Hair silver dollar were struck at the Philadelphia Mint from a single pair of dies on a hand-turned screw press, from ingots deposited by Director Rittenhouse himself. 242 of these very first coins were found to be underweight and were eventually reused as planchets the following year. The remaining 1,758 pieces that were delivered by the Chief Coiner for circulation.
Chief Coiner Voight, stored many of these first dollars in the Mint's vaults, before giving them to Mint Director Rittenhouse the following May 1795. Rittenhouse presented a few of these dollars to VIPs as souvenirs, but also made a point of exchanging some them for Spanish dollars, in order to get the new coins into public circulation. Rittenhouse never distributed all the coins, because he had to resign due to failing health in June of 1795.
The new Flowing Hair Silver Dollars were not well received by the Early Americans, as the older, heavier Spanish and Mexican pieces continued to circulate as the preferred medium of exchange. Production of the silver dollar coins was suspended after the 1794 minting due to problems in achieving adequate strikes with the old equipment because the presses were too small to fully strike the large dollars. A new larger coin press capable of imparting fuller, stronger strikes was constructed specifically for the minting of the 1795 dollars.