During the early 1800's, America witnessed two of the biggest gold discoveries in their history. The Carolina Gold Rush in 1799 along with the Georgia Gold Rush in 1828 both had a huge impact on U.S. coinage and boosted the production of gold coins by the government. The first issue of gold dollar coins came in 1836, and when a further huge discovery came in 1849 at Sutter's Mill in California, Congress were prompted once again to increase the use of metal in their coinage. This meant that they required a new design to mint and on March 3 of the same year they passed legislation which would see the authorization of gold dollars and $20 double eagles.
The task to design both of these coins fell to the Chief Engraver of the Mint, who at the time was James B. Longacre. During Longacre's first year as Chief Engraver, Robert M. Patterson was the Director of the Mint, and Chief Coiner was Franklin Peale. Conflict between the three men arose after the legislation passed by Congress in 1849, with Patterson and Peale aiming to get Longacre fired. Peale deemed Longacre a threat to his medal business and opposed the new coins that would require his engraving skills; but Longacre continued to prepare the dies for the gold dollar, at some cost to his health. Upon completion of the double eagle dies, Peale rejected them, stating that the design was engraved too deeply to impress the coin fully, and the pieces would not stack properly. In the years that followed, there were many attempts to oust Longacre from his position at the mint, but this ended in July 1851 when Patterson was replaced, and Peale's medal business suffered a setback.
Both coins designed by Longacre featured similar designs on the obverse, a left-facing portrait of Lady Liberty surrounded by 13 stars that represented the original colonies. The small size of the coin meant that the reverse design was kept simple, a wreath which surrounds the inscriptions 1 DOLLAR and the date of the coin's issue. However, this design was altered after an Act passed on February 21, 1853, authorized the production of a gold $3 coin. For this not to be confused with other coins, the $3 was made thinner and wider, and Longacre placed on the obverse a distinctive inscription of an Indian princess. This design was then used for the dollar coin, along with an agricultural wreath on the obverse, and it came to be known as the Type 2 Gold Princess.
The Type 2 dollar was struck by the Philadelphia Mint only in the years 1854 and 1855, at the San Francisco Mint in 1856 and at the three Southern branches in 1855. Some problems had been noted regarding the striking of the coins, so to overcome this Longacre enlarged the head of Liberty and moved the lettering of UNITED STATES OF AMERICA on the obverse closer to the rim. Both the Type 2 and Type 3 gold dollars depict Liberty as a Native American princess wearing a feathered headdress and on the reverse of the coin Longacre has designed an agricultural wreath which mixes produce from North and South - cotton, corn, tobacco and wheat.
This coin is a common date meaning it is from a year with a high production rate. It comes in a mint state of 62 which means that it is an uncirculated coin with noticeable deficiencies. Features of the Common Date $1 Gold Princess Type 2 MS62: • Minted in the United States • Denomination: $1 • Certification: MS62 (An uncirculated coin with noticeable deficiencies) • Reverse: An agricultural wreath encircling the denomination and the year of issue • Obverse: Left-facing portrait of an Indian Princess • Purity: .900 • Diameter: 14.3mm • Edge: Reeded