Draped Bust Coins


Half dollar




Her face is distinguished yet kind, her hair feminine yet controlled, her figure ample yet proportioned. In my unopinionate opinion, the Draped Bust Liberty is the most beautiful woman to ever grace the surface of a coin.

Interestingly, as you'll see by looking at the coins on these pages, her relative attractiveness can vary from denomination to denomination, from year to year within the same denomination, from die variety to die variety within the same year of the same denomination ... and from the unpredictable and wondrous ways that time can wear detail down and build toning up on a coin's surfaces.

On most dollars her expression is soft and serene, dignified and sensual, yet on some she can look hard and stern. On most cents and half cents she looks a little pudgy, with a face that's almost childish. She can even look a little oafish on some dimes and half dimes. Wear on coins of any denomination can make her look old and haggardly, though it typically doesn't change her appearance greatly. Toning can make her look like she has bad skin or some horrid disease, though it usually accentuates her appearance.

The model used for the Draped Bust Liberty, according to most
reports, was Anne Willing Bingham. Anne's lovely countenance appeared on every nongold U.S. coin from midway through the decade of the 1790s until midway through the decade of the 1800s.









More than 23 million of these Draped Bust coins were minted in all, large cents making up more than two-thirds of this total.

This isn't a lot of coins by today's standards. But the U.S. population was only 5.3 million in 1800.

Foreign coins were also popular at the time, and still legal tender. The young U.S. Mint, whose problems included an unreliable supply of raw materials, inadequate machinery, a dearth of qualified employees, a lack of funds, and even frequent yellow fever epidemics, couldn't produce enough coins to meet the demands of the growing country.

Still, it's fair to say that in late 18th and early 19th century, all of America had Anne Bingham in their pockets and purses.




Half dime





Draped Bust coins are among the most prized by collectors today. They represent the finest of the qualities collectors most value in coins--beauty, history, and rarity.

Coin collecting has been called the hobby of kings, and not only for the prices sometimes involved. What else besides coins combines the mundane and the transcendent so well?

Coins are the most ordinary of objects, mass-produced metal plugs used as a medium of exchange. Yet gazing into the face of a beautiful, historical coin, you're taken to a faraway place and time lush with differences from your own, urging you to learn more about it.





Half cent




Draped Bust coins were all produced before coin collecting became popular in the 1850s. Many were melted down, holed and turned into jewelry, used in mechanical devices, or otherwise lost to history.

Various estimates indicate that with Draped Bust dollars, for instance, of the 1.44 million minted, no more than about 5 percent, or 72,000, remain.

Those Draped Bust coins that have survived are cherished.

Anne Bingham is fascinating not only for the coins on which she appeared, but also for
who she was.



Draped Bust


Anne's Life

Anne's Death

1804 Dollar


Dollar Set






Other Images

More Info

Other glomworthy coins:

Oldest Coins

 Athenian Owls

Alexander the Great Coins

Medusa Coins

Thracian Tetradrachms

House of Constantine

Draped Bust Coins

Saint-Gaudens Double Eagles

Coin sites:
Coin Collecting: Consumer Protection Guide
Glomming: Coin Connoisseurship
Bogos: Counterfeit Coins

© 2014 Reid Goldsborough

Note: Any of the items illustrated on these pages that are in my possession are stored off site.