Of all the prototypes created at Gallery Mint, this is the one that is most important as far as historic significance.
My previous Liberty Head design had gained a lot of interest in Washington but Representative Michael Castle (the head of Monetary Policy at the time) decided a Statue of Liberty design would be more recognizable and be more effective in getting other members of Congress to vote for the new coin. I had three days to engrave and heat treat the dies, strike the patterns in brass an get them sent next day to D.C. for a Senate hearing on the new coin.
The reverse die was already done but the obverse was designed from a description of a James Ferrel (a US Mint engraver) design that was described to me over the phone. The die was hand cut and hardened. There was no time to ponder the details or do refinements in a positive hub.
The piece was distributed to Congressional members and changed some minds because it was clear that this coin struck in yellow metal would not be confused with a quarter dollar coin. An issue that caused two previous bills to fail.
Later, I made a hub from the die and refined some details. While I was at it, I removed the eleven sun rays so I could make the new variety with 13 rays. A more significant number in American iconography. 2000 pieces were struck from the 13 ray die as double thick Piedforts and sold to collectors. This “Senate Strike” was same thickness as the actual coin it became. Selection of the design theme for the new “Golden Mini Dollar” came at a later date and is a story unto itself.
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