In 2024, the United States Mint will release a 1 oz. 24-karat gold coin in high relief and a 1 oz. silver medal to mark the 230th anniversary of the 1794 Flowing Hair dollar. Proposed designs for both already underwent a review process by the Commission of Fine Arts (CFA) and the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC).
The review panels had differing final recommendations. The CFA favored alternatives that fixed alignment concerns of the original 1794 designs, whereas the CCAC endorsed the originals.
In context, it’s important to highlight that the last design evaluations marked the second iteration for all parties involved in the process.
In the initial round, the U.S. Mint unveiled renderings of the 1794 Flowing Hair dollar with the intention of incorporating them into their American Liberty gold coin and silver medal program.
The CFA reviewed these designs first and, for comparison purposes, requested the development of alternatives that focused on addressing some of the minor irregularities of the original designs, such as the alignment of the date on the obverse and the spacing of the reverse’s inscription "United States of America."
Regarding the CCAC, they opted not to engage in any specific discussion about the original design renders, pointing out that they diverged from the typical approach of the American Liberty program, which showcases modern interpretations of American Liberty. Instead, the committee voiced support for a new series using designs recreated from the Mint’s portfolio of historic coins and pattern pieces from the 18th and 19th Centuries, like those of the 1794 Flowing Hair dollar.
In the second round of design discussions, the U.S. Mint presented the alternatives recommended by the CFA and also addressed the CCAC’s concerns by clarifying that the anniversary 2024 Flowing Hair gold coin and silver medal would not be issued as a part of the American Liberty program. At this point, the committees made their diverging recommendations: the CCAC favored the original designs, while the CFA preferred the revised designs.
However, there were some mixed feelings among several CCAC members. John Saunders, a member of the committee, commented during the Nov. 28 meeting:
"But the main question is, do we want this new revised thing that has perfect detail, it shows it off in a way that technically they couldn’t do in 1794. And in some ways I like it, in other ways I hate it."
To some extent, panel members were constrained by the lack of clear guidance from Mint officials regarding whether the recreated 1794 designs constituted a standalone project or marked the start of a new series dedicated to honoring historical coins and patterns.
Mike Moran, another CCAC member, expressed his views, saying:
"I think if you continue this program to other designs that are in your library, your portfolio, so to speak, if you start to make modifications for aesthetic purposes, I think you quickly will run into too many issues. It’s a lot easier to just stay with the original and let the original imperfections flow through. They’re part of the essence of the design to begin with."
Like the 1794 silver dollar, the 2024 Flowing Hair Gold Coin will feature the denomination incused on the edge of the coin.
The Flowing Hair dollar, originally designed by Chief Engraver Robert Scott, holds historical significance as the first dollar coin struck by the United States, with the first minting taking place on Oct. 15, 1794.