Draped Bust, Small Eagle (1795-1798)
A precocious country during its formative years, the United States grew quickly in size and stature throughout its first half century as an independent nation. It didn’t reach maturity nearly as fast, however, as the likeness of Miss Liberty on U. S. silver coinage.
When Liberty first appeared on the nation’s silver coins in 1794 she was youthful and vivacious, with her hair flowing freely behind her. Focusing on that feature, collectors refer to these coins as the Flowing Hair type. But it didn’t take long for this innocent- looking maiden to reach the full flower of womanhood: The very next year a new portrait showed her, in the words of coinage critic Cornelius Vermeule, as “a buxom Roman matron” having long, elegant tresses neatly tied back with a ribbon and a bow and ample cleavage visible above a fold of drapery.
This full-figured portrait has come to be known as the Draped Bust design, .... (Expand Text)