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Image of Copper Pattern Dollar, 1794
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Copper Pattern Dollar, 1794


Coins historically depicted ruling monarchs. But George Washington, America’s first president, insisted on a symbol of Liberty rather than his own image. Classical Rome had depicted Liberty as the female goddess Libertas, and Americans followed their tradition. This particular portrayal, with flowing hair and eyes gazing upwards, conveyed a sense of youth and freedom that matched the spirit of the new nation.


The surface of this coin is pitted. The circumstances that caused the pitting are unknown but the damage to the coin is clear. It probably occurred when the blank, or planchet, was being manufactured.


This coin is lightly struck along the left edge, although the portrait of Liberty is sharply defined.


Legendary Firsts The following objects are in this section.
Massachusetts Pine Tree Shilling, "1652" (struck 1667-1674)First United States Silver Dollar, 1794Great Britain, Sovereign, 1838
Massachusetts, "twenty shillings," 1690Brasher Doubloon, 1787United States, 5 Dollars, 1838
Pewter Continental Dollar, 1776United States, 20 Dollars, 1854United States, 10 Dollars, 1838
Copper Pattern Dollar, 1794Portrait Medal of James Smithson, 1817 
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