A local historian in Binghamton, NY has revived the story of Anne Bingham as the model for Miss liberty on early U.S. coinage.
Unfortunately, there are no notes or bibliography to indicate his sources. -Editor
As the new government moved to create a new federal identity on its money, the images that would appear on those coins became an item of
wanted a graceful, beautiful image of a classic figure upon the coins. President George Washington turned to the most prominent portraitist
of the day, Gilbert Stuart. He showed Washington a drawing of 31-year-old Anne Willing Bingham. Anne was the wife of William Bingham, on
whose land all of Binghamton and the surrounding area now stands. The Binghams were prominent members of society, with social connections
to the Washingtons, Jeffersons and Madisons. Anne's father, husband and father-in-law were all bankers in Philadelphia.
The Binghams were known throughout the new states, and Anne's beauty was acknowledged by many. Anne was also acknowledged for her
promotion of the arts and had commissioned Stuart to paint several portraits of Washington, including the model for the image that still
adorns the dollar bill.
Washington readily agreed that she would be the model for the newly designed coins of the United States. John Eckstein was paid $30 for
plaster models of Anne's image that would be used by Mint Chief Engraver Robert Scott to create the dies used for the coins. The image
of Anne Bingham became known as the Draped Bust Liberty. Although Stuart expressed his displeasure at how the image based on his drawing
was used, the coins quickly became popular.
The coins were introduced in the fall of 1795, and her image appeared on every non-gold coin until the design was changed in 1808. But
by then, more than 23 million of those coins had been introduced into the American society. This was at a time when the entire population
of the country stood at 5.3 million. It was likely that at one time or another in the first two decades of our history, everyone had a coin
with Anne Bingham's likeness with them.
To read the complete article, see:
featured famous Binghamton face
To read an earlier E-Sylum article, see:
QUERY: WAS GILBERT STUART SKETCH THE MODEL FOR DRAPED BUST COINAGE?
Wayne Homren, Editor
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