The First Silver Dollars
The Coinage Act of 1792 officially created the dollar as the unit of currency for the United States of America. It was passed on April 2, 1792 and provided that the dollar or unit would have 371 and 4/16 grains of standard silver. This yielded 416 grains of pure silver. Ultimately, the initial composition would be slightly changed, but the silver dollar remained an important unit within currency for many decades to come.
The first design featured Liberty with Flowing Hair, as designed by Robert Scot. There were also fifteen stars on the obverse, which represented the number of states in the Union. Eventually, this idea of stars for states was abandoned as the country rapidly expanded. Instead, there were 13 stars used for the original states.
Mintages at the early mint were quite low. There were just 1,758 acceptable pieces minted and released for the 1794 silver dollar. In the second year, there would be 160,295 pieces.
Especially for the first year, examples are highly prized by collectors and fetch steep prices when they are available for sale.
The next designs for the dollar would feature Liberty with a Draped Bust, Seated Liberty, and eventually the better known Morgan and Peace Silver Dollars.