The second type of silver dollar produced by the United States Mint was known as the Draped Bust Dollar. The first year of issue was 1795, which was the final year of issue for the previous series. Regular production would take place for each year until 1803. Three decades later, the final and most famous issue of the series dated 1804 would be produced under unique circumstances.
The obverse design of the coin carries a portrait of the bust of Liberty. She is partially draped as the name implies, her hair is lightly bound and swept back. The inscription “Liberty” appears above, with the date below, and a varying number of stars appearing to the sides. Initially the stars were meant to represent the number of states in the Union, but this eventually reverted to thirteen stars for the original states.
For the first four years of the series, a small eagle appeared on the reverse, as used in the prior series. In 1798 a new design was adopted featuring a heraldic eagle with a scroll in its beak containing the words ‘E Pluribus Unum”. The eagle holds an olive branch and arrows in its talons with a union shield at its chest. An array of clouds and stars appears above the eagle. An inscription around the periphery reads “United States of America”. The denomination is identified on the edge of the coin, which reads “Hundred Cents One Dollar or Unit”.
Regular production of the series would cease in 1804, although all of these final coins were dated 1803. Thirty years later in 1834, a rarity was created when the U.S. Department of State ordered special sets to be presented as numismatic gifts. The mint created new dies carrying the 1804 date to strike the coins. Existing 1804 silver dollars are all considered rarities and can be divided into three classes depending when they were struck.
Composition: 89.24% silver, 10.76% copper
Diameter: 39.5 mm
Weight: 26.96 grams
More Information: Draped Bust Dollar mintages