One Dollar Coins

Dollar coins have been minted in the United States in gold, silver, and base metal versions. Silver dollars, the first dollar coin issue, were minted beginning in 1794.

The term silver dollar is often used for any large white metal coin issued by the United States with a face value of one dollar; although purists insist that a dollar is not silver unless it contains some of that metal. Gold and gold-colored dollars have also been produced by the United States. The Sacagawea and Presidential dollars are usually referred to as "golden", despite not containing any gold.

Dollar coins have found little popular acceptance in modern circulation in the United States, despite several attempts since 1971 to phase in a coin in place of the one dollar bill. This contrasts with currencies of many other developed countries, where denomination of similar value is only in coin, such as the Canadian loonie and toonie, British 50 pence coin (as well as the 1 pound and 2 pound British coins), the 1 and 2 Australian Dollar coins, the 50 New Taiwan dollar coin, 100 Japanese yen coin, 1 euro coin and 2 euro coin.

List of designs

  • Silver dollar coins
    • Flowing Hair 1794–1795
    • Draped Bust 1795–1803
      • Draped Bust, Small Eagle 1795–1798
      • Draped Bust, Heraldic Eagle 1798–1803, 1804 (not a regular issue)
    • Gobrecht Dollar 1836–1839
    • Seated Liberty 1840–1873
      • Seated Liberty, No Motto 1840–1865
      • Seated Liberty, With Motto 1866–1873
    • Trade Dollar 1873–1878 (Business & Proofs struck), 1879–1885 (Proof Only)
    • Morgan Dollar 1878–1904, 1921
    • Peace Dollar 1921–1935
      • Peace Dollar (High Relief) 1921
      • Peace Dollar (Low Relief) 1922–1928, 1934–1935

  • Gold dollar coins
    • Liberty Head (Small Size) 1849–1854
    • Indian Head (Large Size) 1854–1889
      • Small Indian Head 1854–1856
      • Large Indian Head 1856–1889

  • Copper-nickel clad dollar coins
    • Eisenhower Dollar 1971–1974, 1977–1978
    • Eisenhower Bicentennial 1975–1976 (all dated 1976)
    • Susan B. Anthony dollar 1979–1981, 1999

  • Manganese-Brass dollar coins
    • Sacagawea Dollar 2000–present
    • Presidential Dollar Coin Program 2007–present

Observe: Bust of Lady Liberty
Reverse: A Bald Eagle surrounded by a wreath

The Flowing Hair Dollar is a silver dollar coin issued by the United States government, equal to 100 cents. Flowing Hair Dollars were only minted in 1794 and 1795. The coin is named for the incarnation of Liberty on the obverse with free flowing hair. The coin's obverse and reverse were designed by Robert Scot.

Observe: Lady Liberty
Reverse: A Bald Eagle holding arrows and olive branch

The 1804 silver dollar is one of the rarest and most famous coins in the world. Its creation was the result of a simple bookkeeping error, but its status as the King of coins has been established for nearly a century and a half. The silver dollars reported by the mint as being struck in 1804 were actually dated 1803. No dollars bearing the date 1804 were ever struck in 1804, though this was unknown to mint officials at the time the 1804 dollar came to be.

Observe: Lady Liberty seated holding the Union Shield
Reverse: A Bald Eagle

The Gobrecht dollar was struck in small quantities in the late 1830s. The Gobrecht Dollar was an American dollar coin that was minted in small quantities from 1836 to 1839. It is named for its designer, U.S. Mint engraver Christian Gobrecht.

Observe: Lady Liberty seated holding the Union Shield
Reverse: A Bald Eagle holding arrows and olive branch

The Seated Liberty Dollar is a silver dollar coin issued by the United States government from 1840 to 1873. The coin is named for the obverse design which was uniform and matched the Half dime, Dime, Twenty-cent piece, Quarter, and Half dollar. Its obverse and reverse were both designed by Christian Gobrecht.

Observe: Liberty Head circled by thirteen stars
Reverse: A wreath encircling the date and value

The gold dollar was a United States dollar coin produced from 1849 to 1889. Composed of 90% pure gold, it was the smallest denomination of gold currency ever produced in the United States. When the US system of coinage was originally designed there had been no plans for a gold dollar coin, but in the late 1840s, two gold rushes later, Congress was looking to expand the use of gold in the country’s currency.

Observe: Lady Liberty seated
Reverse: Eagle holding arrows and olive branch

The Trade Dollar was a silver dollar coin issued by the United States solely for trade in the orient with China, Korea, and Japan. It is 420 grains in weight, composed of 90% silver and 10% copper, as opposed to the 412 grains of a standard US silver dollar of the time period.

Observe: Lady Liberty
Reverse: Eagle holding arrows and olive branch

Morgan silver dollars were minted between 1878 and 1921, with a notable break between 1905 and 1920. The 1921-dated coins are the most common, but there exists a substantial collector market for pristine, uncirculated specimens of the rarer dates and mint marks. Morgan dollars are second only to Lincoln Cents in collector popularity. The large size, design and inexpensive nature of most dates of the Morgan dollar makes them highly popular. The coin is named after George T. Morgan, its designer. Some people collect Morgan dollars by "VAM" designation. The top 100 VAM varieties are highly collectible

Observe: Lady Liberty
Reverse: A perched Bald Eagle

Introduced in December of 1921, the Peace dollar, designed by medalist Anthony de Francisci, was promulgated to commemorate the signing of formal peace treaties between the United States on the one hand, and Germany and Austria on the other, thus officially ending America's World War I hostilities with these two countries. In 1922 the Mint made silver dollar production its top priority, causing other denominations to be produced sparingly if at all that year. Production ceased temporarily after 1928; original plans apparently called for only a one year suspension, but this was extended by the Great Depression. Mintage resumed in 1934, but for only two years.

Observe: General/President Dwight D. Eisenhower
Reverse: The Apollo 11 Mission Insignia

From 1971 to 1978, the U.S. Mint issued dollar coins with the obverse depicting Dwight D. Eisenhower and the reverse the insignia of the Apollo 11 moon landing, both designed by Chief Engraver Frank Gasparro. The 1976 Bicentennial commemorative design, produced in 1975 and 1976, featured the Liberty Bell and the Moon on the reverse (designed by Dennis R. Williams), while retaining the Eisenhower obverse. The Eisenhower dollars contained no silver or gold, but were instead composed of the same copper-nickel clad composition used for the dime, quarter, and half dollar. This made the coins extremely resistant to wear and, like the smaller denominations, they still retain a good deal of shine even when subject to mass usage.

Observe: Susan B. Anthony
Reverse: Eagle over surface of Moon

The Anthony clad dollar. For the short duration of 1979 to 1981, the Mint produced Anthony Dollars, depicting Susan B. Anthony, the first non-fictitious woman portrayed on circulating U.S. coinage. (Many earlier circulating coins featured images of women, but the women depicted were all non-specific representations of Liberty. Spain's Queen Isabella was portrayed along with Christopher Columbus on the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition commemorative half dollar, but it was not a circulating coin.) The Anthony dollars, like the Eisenhower dollars, were made from a copper-nickel clad. The 1981 coins were issued for collectors only, but occasionally still show up in circulation.

Observe: Liberty walking
Reverse: Heraldic Eagle with Shield

The American Silver Eagle (q.v.), a silver bullion coin, has a nominal value of one dollar, and is technically legal tender for that value; but it is not intended for circulation, as the cash value of the silver content considerably exceeds one dollar.

Observe: Sacagawea with child
Reverse: Eagle in flight

The Sacagawea dollar, along with the Presidential Dollar series, is one of the two current United States dollar coins. This coin was first minted in 2000 and depicts the Shoshone woman Sacagawea, a member of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, carrying her son Jean Baptiste Charbonneau. Artist Glenna Goodacre used a 22-year-old Shoshone woman named Randy'L He-dow Teton as the model for the young Sacagawea. The reverse side was designed by Thomas D. Rogers.

The Sacagawea dollar reverse for 2009 (left) representing agriculture and the reverse for 2010 (right) representing government

The Sacagawea dollar reverse for 2011 depics two opposing hands clasping a peace pipe (left) and the reverse for 2012 (right) representing the historical spread of the horse.

The first Native American series coin was released in January 2009 and had a reverse that depicted a Native American woman sowing seeds of the Three Sisters, symbolizing the Indian tribes' contributions to agriculture.

In January 2010, the second reverse design in the series was released which has the theme of "Government" and the "Great Tree of Peace".

The reverse of the 2011 dollar depicts the hands of the Supreme Sachem Ousamequin and Plymouth Colony Governor John Carver holding a peace pipe. The design subject is treaties with tribal nations.

The theme for the reverse of the 2012 dollar is "Trade Routes of the 17th Century" and the design depicts the profile of a Native American and a horse with more horses running in the background.

Observe: President George Washington
Reverse: Statue of Liberty

In December 2005, Congress decided to create a new series of $1 coins which will honor the former U.S. presidents. Beginning in 2007, four new coins will be produced per year, honoring the Presidents in order of service.