In this blog post, we will take a look at some of the history behind the inspiration for the Draped Bust Half Cent. Keep in mind that many of the portraits, paintings, photographs, and sculptures used when designing coins are not 100% what the coin looks like. So, take a few to explore this history behind the coins!
Draped Bust Half Cent Coins | Anne Willing Bingham
Anne Willing Bingham was a Philadelphia socialist who was regarded by many as the most beautiful woman of her time. Among her numerous titles, she was the daughter of the President of the First Bank of the United States, mother of Alexander Baring the first Baron of Ashburton, wife of the very wealthy William Bingham, and worked with Thomas Jefferson. Her work with Jefferson led to the construction of the Bill of Rights. Her correspondence with Jefferson, through letters, urged him to consider the rights of the people and how those rights would be taken away if the government continued to overstep. It is no doubt why Robert Scot chose Mrs. Bingham to represent Lady Liberty on the coin. Gilbert Stuart painted several portraits of Anne throughout the years. Those portraits were used to create this rather busty bust of Anne Willing Bingham for the coin. Mrs. Bingham hardly ever got to see the coin, though, because she passed away aboard a ship headed to Bermuda and was subsequently buried there. While the portrait on the coin isn’t an exact representation of her, there are major similarities in the face and hair. The Draped Bust Half Cent coin design was also used on all other denominations of coinage, as was the standard in the day. The Mint used this method of one design to reduce the costs associated with developing a new design every few years.