David Akers (1975/88)
Description: Obverse. Head of Liberty facing right wearing a Liberty cap. There are eight closely spaced stars near the border behind the head and five in front of the face. The date, 1804, is below bust and LIBERTY runs from directly above the head to in front of the face. This is similar to the regular die except that the 4 in the date is plain and the border is beaded. Reverse. Large eagle with outstretched wings and a large shield on its breast. In its left claw is an olive branch and in its right a bundle of arrows. A ribbon inscribed E PLURIBUS UNUM runs across the right wing and neck. Above the eagle's head are 13 stars and clouds. Similar to the regular issue except for the beaded border.
Comments: This piece is not really a pattern, but is actually a restrike, that is, a piece struck later than its date. The story behind it is analogous to that for the so-called "original" 1804 silver dollar since the 1804 eagle with plain 4 in the date was struck for the same purpose, that is for inclusion in diplomatic presentation sets which were to contain examples of all U.S. coins then in circulation. The sets were actually struck in 1834 and 1835 and since the eagle had been discontinued in 1804, as had been the dollar, new dies had to be prepared with the date of the year in which it was last issued, 1804. The workmanship and quality of the pieces struck for the presentation sets reflected the improved technology of 1834 and 1835 and so J-33 is easily distinguishable from the regular issue 1804 eagle, not only by the plain 4 in the date and the beaded border, but the overall quality as well. For the complete story on the 1804 eagle and dollar, I recommend the fascinating book by Eric P. Newman and Kenneth E. Bressett, The Fantastic 1804 Dollar. There are eight known specimens of the "original" or Class 1 1804 dollars, but only four known examples of J-33. Undoubtedly these are the four pieces struck for the King of Siam, the Imam of Muscat, and the Emperors of Cochin-China and Japan. This piece has been offered for sale at auction only twice, in 1911 when Thomas Elder sold the Woodin specimen, and in 1955 at the Baldenhofer sale.