Liberty Head $5
No Motto (1839-1866)
Although photography was invented in 1839, the art world at that time was still very much in the grips of Neoclassicism. To the Neoclassical sculptor or die engraver, modern clothing fashions changed too often, and to portray historically important figures in contemporary clothes could open up such art works to criticism. Instead, they froze their subjects in Classical Greek clothing and copied the stylized busts of known works by ancient sculptors and their later Roman imitators. Neoclassicism liked cold profiles, and the exacting art of die engraving is especially well suited to such a stylistic influence.
In the United States, Mint engraver Christian Gobrecht was strongly influenced by Neoclassicism, which was especially apparent in his use of the classically stylized head of Liberty on the Coronet half.... (Expand Text)