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Who designed the Seated Liberty Coinage - Christian Gobrecht ???

1630Boston1630Boston Posts: 13,772 ✭✭✭✭✭
edited July 28, 2022 12:31PM in U.S. Coin Forum

From E-Sylum 2013 - Edward Carmody [NNPortal]
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Prior to the appointment of Robert Patterson as the 6th director of the U.S. Mint, No design work had been done on the new silver dollar and there were no designs or patterns involving a seated liberty figure. Once Patterson assumed his new position, he immediately gave instructions and directions to chief engraver Kneass to do a rough seated liberty sketch. He then hired two noted artists, Thomas Sully and Titian Peale, to do more detailed renderings based on this initial drawing.
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All three of these pieces were done before Christian Gobrecht was hired as an assistant engraver and the commonalities reflect Patterson's specific directions. In each case lady liberty is an attractive, feminine figure, in each case she is seated and in each case she is holding a shield in one hand and a liberty pole in the other. These core elements are so key to the final seated liberty design that it is clear that Patterson was the real author. It is a matter of conjecture as to the genesis of his vision, but the similarity to the figure of Britannia on the reverse of the British penny is undeniable.

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The symbolism of lady liberty holding a shield is clear. It represents liberty DEFENDING freedom, and this idea had never been represented before on U.S. Coinage. Defending against who or what ? The obvious answer is against the expanding global colonial aspirations of an increasingly dominant Great Britain. Only 21 years earlier, The British army had invaded the U.S. It seems likely that Patterson's seated liberty vision was in opposition to British power rather than in emulation of their design. In this regard , it is essential to point out that Patterson's vision was of an attractive, feminine, desirable lady liberty as opposed to the militaristic Warrior figure of Britannia. Liberty was an attractive ideal that would draw people to her, not a concept that had to be imposed by force of arms.
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much more info for discussion here https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/periodical/16705

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Comments

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    MidLifeCrisisMidLifeCrisis Posts: 10,519 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @1630Boston - Thanks for the post!

    Whoever the designer was...in my opinion, the final version of Liberty on Seated Liberty coins is just ugly. Britannia on the reverse of the British penny is more attractive. Also, consider the Myddelton Token, produced in 1796 with a more elegant design...although admittedly Britannia looks dejected and defeated.

    Also, I don't agree with this:
    "The obvious answer is against the expanding global colonial aspirations of an increasingly dominant Great Britain. Only 21 years earlier, The British army had invaded the U.S. It seems likely that Patterson's seated liberty vision was in opposition to British power rather than in emulation of their design."

    21 years is a long time...particularly in the 19th Century when we didn't have anything resembling consistent or reliable dissemination of news, much less the 24-hour short attention span news cycle we have now.

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    yosclimberyosclimber Posts: 4,595 ✭✭✭✭✭

    A team effort, initiated by Patterson.
    The other guys contributed as well.

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    CatbertCatbert Posts: 6,603 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Lady Britannia seems to be sitting in a wheelchair from a modern perspective.

    "Got a flaming heart, can't get my fill"
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    MidLifeCrisisMidLifeCrisis Posts: 10,519 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Catbert said:
    Lady Britannia seems to be sitting in a wheelchair from a modern perspective.

    Thanks. I can't unsee that now. :smiley:

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    CatbertCatbert Posts: 6,603 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited July 28, 2022 6:05PM

    @MidLifeCrisis said:

    @Catbert said:
    Lady Britannia seems to be sitting in a wheelchair from a modern perspective.

    Thanks. I can't unsee that now. :smiley:

    Your disillusionment is strong lately! 😉

    "Got a flaming heart, can't get my fill"
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    rickoricko Posts: 98,724 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I find these 'deep dives' into coin design history very interesting. And it seems there was - in those years - great interest and competition in coin design. Not like today. Cheers, RickO

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    ZoinsZoins Posts: 33,863 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited July 29, 2022 7:41AM

    It seems that for centuries it was customary to sign coins with the engravers initials/name and not the artists. Because of this, some coin designs may have been attributed to engravers instead of the artists.

    A while back I started campaigning for artist initials to be added to coins as well, which the US Mint has started doing. One result is that both artists and engravers/sculptors are recognized now which is good. Another result is that some people think there are too many initials on coins now, which is left to the beholder.

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    ZoinsZoins Posts: 33,863 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited July 29, 2022 7:56AM

    @ricko said:
    I find these 'deep dives' into coin design history very interesting. And it seems there was - in those years - great interest and competition in coin design. Not like today. Cheers, RickO

    The last time there was great interest and competition in coin design was back with the Statehood Quarters, but it has happened afterwards.

    I like how Dan @dcarr publishes his US Mint requested coin design submissions, as it gives us more of a glimpse into the US Mint's coin design request operations.

    Here's a more recent one of mine that Dan @dcarr made for an "Invited submission in the official US Mint design competition." I believe the competition was in 2017 for a coin issued in 2018.

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    dcarrdcarr Posts: 8,001 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Zoins said:

    @ricko said:
    I find these 'deep dives' into coin design history very interesting. And it seems there was - in those years - great interest and competition in coin design. Not like today. Cheers, RickO

    The last time there was great interest and competition in coin design was back with the Statehood Quarters, but it has happened afterwards.

    I like how Dan @dcarr publishes his US Mint requested coin design submissions, as it gives us more of a glimpse into the US Mint's coin design request operations.

    Here's a more recent one of mine that Dan @dcarr made for an "Invited submission in the official US Mint design competition." I believe the competition was in 2017 for a coin issued in 2018.

    Although privately minted, that should be considered a modern pattern associated with the US Mint.

    As to the main topic of this thread, new designs rarely (if ever) come out of a vacuum. They are almost always a derivative of something that came before. Another example:

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    1630Boston1630Boston Posts: 13,772 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Great point @dcarr :)

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