A few shared design elements on US coins that you may not have noticed

Through Mike Sherman for PCGS ……

From its beginnings in 1793 until the end of the 19th century, most American coins shared a common design theme.

the Draped bust design introduced on the silver dollars in 1795 ends up being employed on the half cent, the hundred, the half penny, the dime, the trimester, and the half a dollar until 1807-08. the Capped bust the design was consistent across all of our silver coins for almost 30 years in the early 19th century. Of course the Sitting freedom design dominated the mid to late 19th century, and the Hairdresser the series has taken us to First World War.

It was not until 1916 that our main silver denominations acquired their own personality.

Many of our gold coins also shared a common design theme in the early 20th century. From Draped bust right late 18th century design through the familiar “libs” that took us from around 1839 to 1907-08, the higher denominations were simply larger versions of their smaller cousins.

However, if you look closely you will notice that a few design elements have appeared on more than one US coin – but were not intended for a larger version.

Our first penny, the flying eagle drawing, “borrows” his eagle from the back of the Gobrecht dollar, made from 1836-39. Apart from a slight lengthening of the eagle’s head and neck, they are identical.

the flying eagle on the cent had its origin some 20 years earlier on the reverse of the Gobrecht dollar.

Another example of recycling can be found on the back of the ephemera twenty cent coin of 1875, which used an eagle very similar to that found on the reverse of the Trade dollar two years earlier.

It seems to me that these two eagles are damn close. Fraternal twins perhaps?

Poor people $1 gold piece has undergone two redesigns in seven years. The first design (Type a 1849-1854) was too small, while the second model (Type Two 1854-1856) had serious striking problems. When the third type was published in 1856, they borrowed Liberty’s head from the three gold dollars piece, from two years earlier.

The $1 gold coin (left) finally got its winning design from the $3 gold coin (right).  Images courtesy PCGS

the $1 gold piece (left) finally got its winning design from the $3 gold room (right).

Take a tour through the red book sometimes, and see if you can find more!

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