Suspension of silver dollar coinage was lifted in 1831, but it was not until 1835 that steps were taken to resume coinage. Late in that year the Mint director, R.M. Patterson, ordered engraver Christian Gobrecht to prepare a pair of dies based on designs by Thomas Sully and Titian Peale. The first obverse die, dated 1836, bore the seated figure of Liberty on the obverse with the inscription C. GOBRECHT F. (“F.” is an abbreviation for the Latin word Fecit, or “made it”) in the field above the date. On the reverse was a large eagle flying left, surrounded by 26 stars and the legend UNITED STATES OF AMERICA ? ONE DOLLAR ?. It is not known whether coins from these dies were struck at that time. A new obverse die with Gobrecht’s name on the base of Liberty was prepared, and in December 1836, 1,000 coins were struck for circulation. These coins weighed 416 grains, which was the standard enacted in 1792.
In January 1837 the standard weight for the dollar was lowered to 412-1/2 grains, and 600 pieces were struck in March 1837 using the dies of 1836. Dies were oriented in a “medal” fashion (top to top when rotated on a vertical axis) to distinguish them from those struck in December 1836. Dollars issued for circulation in 1836, 1837, and 1839 are found with different die alignments. The “original” issue of December 1836 has the normal “coin” orientation (reverse upright when coin is turned on a horizontal axis) with the eagle flying upward.
From the late 1850s to the 1870s, the Mint continued to strike Gobrecht dollars to satisfy collector demands. Mules, which had mismatched designs or edge devices, were made in that period and are very rare. Restrikes and mules are seldom seen in worn condition.
Gobrecht dollars, both original issues and restrikes, were made in either coin-turn orientation ↑ &darr (I and III) or medal-turn orientation ↑ &uarr (II and IV), and were struck in four basic die alignments.
? Die alignment I: ↑ ↓, head of Liberty opposite DO of DOLLAR, eagle flying upward.
? Die alignment II: ↑ ↑, head of Liberty opposite ES of STATES, eagle flying upward.
? Die alignment III: ↑ ↓, head of Liberty opposite N of ONE, eagle flying level.
? Die alignment IV: ↑ ↑, head of Liberty opposite F of OF, eagle flying level.
Rotated dies are common for original issue and restrike Gobrecht dollars. The 600 coins produced for circulation in March 1837 had dies that rotated from die alignment II to die alignment IV during the striking.
Restrikes were produced from the late 1850s to the 1870s, and are not official issues. They were all oriented in either die alignment III (coin turn) or die alignment IV (metal turn), with eagle flying level, and almost all were struck from a cracked reverse die.