Gold Dollars were first coined in 1849 as a result of the coinage bill of March 3 in that year, which also authorized the minting of $20 Double Eagles. The first type, usually referred to as simply "Type 1", is a small sized Coronet design by James Barton Longacre.
At the direction of the new Mint Director, Col. James Ross Snowden, Longacre redesigned the Gold $1 on a broader flan, with a narrow "Indian Princess" head obverse. Minted for less than three years, this is the scarcest of the three Gold $1 types, Poor strikes and accelerated wear from the high relief design contribute to this issue's relative scarcity and higher prices in the upper grades.
In order to remedy the problems of inadequate striking and accelerated wear of the Type 2 issue, in 1855 Snowden again directed Longacre to redesign the Gold $1. Largely an adaptation of his $3 design, special care was now taken to avoid opposing areas of high relief. While mintage for this type are small, fortunately, many still exist is high grade.