The 1804 dollar or Bowed Liberty Dollar was a dollar coin struck by the Mint of the United States, of which fifteen specimens are currently known to exist. Though dated 1804, none were struck in that year, all were minted in the 1830s or later and they were first created for use in special proof coin sets used as diplomatic gifts during Edmund Roberts trips to Siam and Muscat. Some silver dollars were struck in 1804, though all were dated 1803, in 1806, production was suspended by order of James Madison, then Secretary of State, and the denomination was not struck again until the 1804-dated pieces were minted. Edmund Roberts distributed the coins in 1834 and 1835, two additional sets were ordered for government officials in Japan and Cochinchina, but Roberts died in Macau before they could be delivered. Besides those 1804 dollars produced for inclusion in the diplomatic sets, numismatists first became aware of the 1804 dollar in 1842, when an illustration of one example appeared in a publication authored by two Mint employees. A collector subsequently acquired one example from the Mint in 1843, in response to numismatic demand, several examples were surreptitiously produced by Mint officials. Unlike the original coins, these later restrikes lacked the correct edge lettering, from their discovery by numismatists,1804 dollars have commanded high prices. Auction prices reached $1,000 by 1885, and in the mid-twentieth century, in 1999, a Class I example sold for $4.14 million, then the highest price paid for any coin. Their high value has caused 1804 dollars to be a frequent target of counterfeiting, the Coinage Act of 1792, the legislation which provided for the establishment of the Mint of the United States, authorized coinage of multiple denominations of gold, silver and copper coins. The act went on to state that the coin would be struck in an alloy consisting of 89.2 percent silver and 10.8 percent copper, the purity and weight standards outlined in the Act were based on the mean of several assays conducted on Spanish milled dollars. At that time, silver bullion was supplied to the Mint exclusively by private depositors, the first dollar coins, known as Flowing Hair dollars, were issued by the Mint beginning in 1794. By 1800, a majority of depositors requested their bullion be struck as silver dollars and this contributed to a shortage of small change in circulation, and as a result, the public became increasingly critical of the Mint. Mint Director Elias Boudinot began encouraging depositors to accept coins. Dollar coin production ceased in March 1804, although those pieces bore the date of 1803, in 1832, commercial shipper Edmund Roberts began acting as an envoy to Asia on behalf of the United States government, with the intent of negotiating trade deals in the region. During his mission, he reached deals both with Said bin Sultan, the Sultan of Muscat and Oman, and the Phra Khlang of Siam, an important financial minister of that nation. Roberts was given items which were to be presented as gifts to the officials with whom he was negotiating, but described them as being of very mean quality, and of inconsiderable value. After the treaties were ratified in the United States, Roberts had to return to Siam, in a letter to the Department of State dated October 8,1834, Roberts decried the gifts of his previous journey as inadequate and insulting to his hosts in the Orient. S. Neatly arranged in a morocco case & then to have an outward covering would be proper to send not only to the sultan, but to other Asiatics
Image: 1804 dollar type I obverse
The Spanish milled dollar was declared legal tender in the United States in 1793.
Rama III, the King of Siam, received the second set of coins distributed by Roberts.
Said bin Sultan was the recipient of a coin set containing an 1804 dollar.