user_8029's Blog

01 May 2016

Christian Gobrecht

Young Numismatists Exchange | user_8029

Christian Gobrecht was the Chief Engraver of the United States Mint from 1840-1844. In those four years, he created four designs and inspired two others. He is not the most well-known mint engraver, but definitely deserves respect for his designs.

                His first, and most famous, designs were the Seated Liberty coins. They were minted from 1839-1891 and were coined in the denominations of dime, quarter, and half-dollar. They were made of silver and very greatly in price, from about $5 through many thousands of dollars In Very Fine 20. His other design is the Gobrecht dollar of 1836-1839. They sell for a lot of money when they do go on to market and sell at prices from $12,500 to $70,000. They have four die orientations, one with the eagle flying upward, the other flying straight. The other two concern with the location of the letters and Liberty’s head. His third coins are the Liberty head No Motto Above Eagle gold coins.  They are in the denominations of Eagle, Double Eagle, Half Eagle and Quarter Eagle. They were made from 1838-1866. He also designed The Braided Hair Large and Half Cents, which were made from 1839-1857.

                His designs inspired two other designs, the first of the small cents, the Flying Eagle cent, and the unsuccessful Trade Dollar. The dollar bearing his name inspired the Flying Eagle cent’s reverse, both of which depict an eagle flying. The Trade Dollar was based upon the Seated Liberty dollar, however, the Trade Dollar did not have nearly as much popularity, or tolerance, as the Seated Liberty coins did. He did not design, but was involved with, the Twenty-Cent coin.

                Christian Gobrecht was born in Pennsylvania in 1785. He was raised to the trade of clock working. He was actually offered a position of an engraver by the director of the Mint. He declined, but, later that year he applied for Chief Engraver, but lost the position to Kneass. He was hired to a temporary position at the mint in 1823 and became Kneass’ second in 1835. He did most of the Chief Engraver’s work, due to the current Chief Engraver’s unstable health. When the Chief Engraver died in 1840, he became the official Chief Engraver.  As well as an engraver, he was also an inventor, creating a device for creating high relief on coins.  

                In conclusion, Christian Gobrecht designed many coins and inspired even more. His coinage, the Liberty Head No Motto Above Eagle, the Braided Hair coins, The Seated Liberty coins and, finally, the Gobrecht dollars carry his legacy even after his death. It is interesting and inspirational about how much he did in his short four years in service of the United States Mint as their Chief Engraver.



Level 5

Thanks for sharing this Numismatic history. It is a very interesting article! I love the Flying Eagle designs.

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