Obverse. Photo © Heritage Auctions
  • 1 Dollar 1836-1839, KM# 59a, United States of America (USA)
  • 1 Dollar 1836-1839, KM# 59a, United States of America (USA)

The Gobrecht dollar, minted from 1836 to 1839, was the first silver dollar struck for circulation by the United States Mint since production of that denomination was officially halted in 1806. These coins were named for their designer, Christian Gobrecht, a German immigrant responsible for the designs of many of the gold and silver coins that circulated in the 19th century. These enigmatic issues are the first coins with the Liberty Seated motif, a design that would dominate the silver issues until 1892 and the debut of the Barber design. Gobrecht dollars were called patterns or experimental issues for many years; it would be the latter part of the twentieth century before researchers found Mint records indicating that a substantial number of these coins were actually placed into commerce. Thus, some Gobrecht dollars are now considered regular issues, albeit with a caveat, as most numismatists have considered them Proofs, a striking variant that is usually reserved for coins struck for collectors.

It is one of the most complicated and least understood of all United States coinage issues: circulation and original issues, patterns and restrikes; a coin turn orientation or a medal turn orientation; two basic die alignments etc.


Depicts the figure of Liberty seated on a rock, draped in a loose-fitting gown—suggesting statuary from Hellenistic Greece. She is looking over her right shoulder, her right arm supporting the Union shield with the inscription LIBERTY. Her left arm holds a long pole with a Liberty cap on top. The date is placed below the seated figure. C. GOBRECHT F. ("F" is an abbreviation for the Latin word fecit, or “made it”) on the base of the rock. 13 stars above seated Liberty.

The design was based on the concept of Britannia, who appeared on British coinage. Artist Thomas Sully made a number of sketches from which assistant engraver Christian Gobrecht executed the designs.



Depicts a bald eagle in flight, the bird rising “onward and upward”, a position intended to symbolize the unbounded optimism that Americans had for the nation’s future. The eagle flies amid a field of 26 large and small stars, representing the thirteen original states and the thirteen admitted to the Union since 1789 (anticipating Michigan’s entry).

According to a common story, the flying eagle seen on the Gobrecht dollar was modeled after Peter, the Mint's pet eagle, who was taxidermied after his death by becoming caught in a coining press and remains on display at the Mint to this day.

Designed by Christian Gobrecht based on a sketch by Titian Peale.



1 Dollar

Gobrecht Dollar
KM# 59a
Material Silver
Fineness 0.900
Weight 26.73 g
Diameter 39.5 mm
Thickness -
Shape round
Alignment Medal
Alt # KM# 59a.1, KM# 59a.2, KM# 59a.3, KM# 59a.4

Related coins

Gobrecht Dollar

Silver, 26.96 g, ⌀ 39.5 mm
Seated Liberty Dollar, Without Motto

Silver, 26.73 g, ⌀ 38.1 mm
Seated Liberty Dollar, With Motto

Silver, 26.73 g, ⌀ 38.1 mm