Many members of the House favored a representation of the president’s head on the obverse of each coin; others considered the idea a monarchical practice. Washington is believed to have expressed disapproval of the use of his portrait onAmerican coins.
The majority considered a figure emblematic of Liberty more appropriate, and the Senate finally concurred in this opinion. Robert Birch was an engraver employed to design proposed devices for American coins. He, perhaps together with others, engraved the dies for the disme and half disme. He also cut the dies for the large copper patterns known today as Birch cents.
Joseph Wright, an accomplished artist in the private sector, designed this pattern intended for the original U.S. coins. He was George Washington’s choice for the position of first chief engraver of the Mint, and designed the 1793 Liberty Cap cent in that capacity, but died before being confirmed by Congress. Unique uniface trials of the obverse and reverse also exist.