Including this here because, although it is not a coin but a medal, it is in effect a pattern for the design of so many Liberty Cap design coins. I feel fortunate to have acquired this example. It was produced while the American Revolutionary War was being fought and is earlier than the Nova Constellatio pattern coinage produced in Philadelphia by Robert Morris and Benjamin Dudley. To top it off, this design was adopted into our official circulating coinage.Smithsonian:
Comitia Americana Medals - Libertas Americana
The Libertas Americana medal was created under the direction of Benjamin Franklin. While stationed in France during the American Revolutionary War, Franklin received a detailed account of the Yorktown victory and was soon tasked to create a monument in its honor. Franklin responded with a proposal for a medal, rather than a monument, in which the United States would be depicted as the infant Hercules in cradle, strangling the two serpents sent by Hera; above him France personified as Athena (Minerva) would act as his nurse and mentor. The design became the medal's reverse and was further developed by both painter Esprit-Antoine Gibelin and engraver Augustin Dupré, each of whom furthered the design of France to also be seen as the protector of the infant as she fights the lioness Britannia who pounces at the child. The obverse iconography depicts Liberty with flowing hair. The obverse image would become the typical image of early American coinage.Stacks:
"The United States of America are represented by an Infant Hercules, cradled in a Buckler to shew that they are nursed in War. A Leopard, representing England, comes with two serpents to destroy the Infant. France represented by a Minerva, comes armed to his succour, and under her protection he strangles the two serpents, while she guards him from the Leopard, by her shield marked with Fleurs-de-Lis. The reverse Legend is a line of Horace, importing that the Infant was not without divine assistance. The Dates below are those of the two Capitulations of Saratoga & York-Town, whereby two entire English Armies that had enter'd and ravaged the United States with fire & sword, were extinguished." In Franklin's symbolism, this depiction recalls Hera, the stepmother of Hercules, releasing two snakes to kill Hercules in his cradle; those two snakes were the armies of Burgoyne (defeated at Saratoga) and Cornwallis (defeated at Yorktown). PCGS Description:
The unanimous choice for the Number 1 spot in the 100 Greatest American Medals and Tokens, the original 1780's Libertas Americana Medals have been famous for the entirety of their 200+ year history. Conceived, commissioned, and funded by Benjamin Franklin himself, the Medals were presented to the King and Queen of France, French dignitaries, members of the Continental Congress and the governors of each state. Ultimately, it became the inspiration for the flowing hair Liberty coinage of the First U.S. Mint, and an enduring emblem of the principles of Freedom and Liberty.
If you would like to dig deep into the most recent scholarship on this medal, see this Stacks Auction Catalog for the John W. Adams Collection of Comitia Americana and related Medals. Really worth saving and including in your numismatic library: https://media.stacksbowers.com/Virt..._Catalog.pdf
Finally the subject of this discussion. It is not the greatest in terms of grade, there are many finer examples, but it does happen to be better than the example that resides in the National Collection at the Smithsonian (see further below) and it is beautiful to me. Note the obverse die rim marker below the 4 in the date marking the birth of our Nation. A perfect match.
This is the Smithsonian Specimen which unfortunately is not on display but can be seen on its website here: https://www.si.edu/object/libertas-...nmah_1097427