Draped Bust Half Dollar was made only two years after
the Flowing Hair type. The second Mint Director, Henry William
DeSaussure wanted to improve the country’s coinage,
and he ordered the change in design. However, he resigned
after five months as Director. His successor, Elias Boudinot
was appointed when the new half dollars were minted. The Draped
Bust motif was first used on the silver dollar in 1795 and
then on the other silver coinage in 1796. John Eckstein used
a Gilbert Stuart portrait for his model of Liberty, and Robert
Scot made the dies from Eckstein’s impression. Stuart
apparently did not like the result and disassociated himself
from the work. The 1796 and 1797 half dollars are the rarest
circulation strike coins made by the United States Mint. Not
many were made, and only a few were saved. Most found today
are in circulated condition.
Draped Bust motif, last used in 1797 for the half dollar,
reappeared after a three-year gap. It was used until 1807
with 13 stars, seven on the left and six on the right. In
1801 the Heraldic or Large Eagle reverse was introduced. The
design was adapted from The Great Seal of the United States.
In an accident of design or statement of militancy, the traditional
location of arrows and olive branch were switched, perhaps
as a warning to France andother European countries concerning
the sovereignty of the U.S.
6 Over 5; 6 Over Inverted 6; Knob 6, Lg. Stars; Knob
6, Sm. Stars; Knob 6, Stem Not Through Claw; Pointed
6, Stem Through Claw; Pointed 6, Stem Through Claw with
E over A in STATES; Pointed 6, Stem Not Through Claw.