United States coin designs underwent rapid and sometimes radical change during the first few years of federal coinage. The fledgling U.S. Mint was keenly sensitive to criticism and seemed to be experimenting constantly in an effort to find just the right monetary image for the brand new nation.
The early silver coinage reflected this restlessness. Before the Mint was even ten years old, it had produced silver coins with three different designs. They weren’t entirely dissimilar; in fact, there was a great deal of overlap in their features as one type gave way to the next. Still, they have long been recognized by collectors as three distinct series, although admittedly short ones.