1795 $1 Off-Center Dr Bust MS (PCGS# 96858)

FUN09 PN

  • Auctioneer:
    Heritage Auctions
  • Lot Number:
    3935
  • Grade:
    MS64
  • Price:
    $161,000.00
Lot Description
1795 $1 Draped Bust, Off Center MS64 PCGS. B-14, BB-51, R.2. The Draped Bust silver dollars of 1795 represent an attempt to improve the artistic quality of U.S. silver coinage. This goal was expressed by Mint Director Henry William DeSaussure upon taking office in June 1795. To accomplish this goal, respected portrait artist Gilbert Stuart was commissioned to prepare a new design for the nation's coinage. Stuart is remembered today for his portrayal of George Washington, used on the dollar bill. A suitable model for Liberty was found in Mrs. William Bingham, nee' Anne Willing, a prominent Philadelphia socialite. Stuart produced an attractive portrait of Liberty as a young woman, with her long tresses tied back by a ribbon, or fillet. Early auction catalogers referred to the design as the Fillet Bust. The eagle on the reverse was also modified slightly, becoming smaller and more delicate, and standing on billowing clouds instead of a rock. After Stuart finished the drawings for the designs, the Mint secured the services of John Eckstein to translate the sketches into plaster models. Not much is known of Eckstein. He was an artist, and he resided in Providence, Rhode Island. Walter Breen regarded Eckstein as a hack, but his handling of this assignment shows skill and diligence. Records show Eckstein was paid $30 for "two models for dollars" on September 9, 1795. The models were probably for the Liberty bust and Small Eagle device punches. Eckstein's models were used to engrave the punches for the Draped Bust obverse and the Small Eagle reverse dies. It is uncertain if Eckstein did the actual engraving himself, or if Mint Engraver Robert Scott took over the design process at this point. Whoever was responsible, the end result was a masterpiece for the early Mint. The Draped Bust design was artistically far superior to anything appearing on U.S. coinage earlier. This basic design was eventually used on all silver denominations in the federal coinage series, and slightly
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