HomeUS Coins1864 Liberty Seated Dollar : A Collector's Guide

1864 Liberty Seated Dollar : A Collector’s Guide

1864 Liberty Seated Dollar. Image: Stack's Bowers / CoinWeek.
1864 Liberty Seated Dollar. Image: Stack’s Bowers / CoinWeek.

By Charles Morgan and Hubert Walker for CoinWeek Notes …..
 

The entirety of the 1864 Liberty Seated Dollar business strike production took place on four dates: January 13, April 30, May 17, and July 29. The May and July strikings account for the majority of mintage.

For ordinary Americans living through the Civil War, silver coins like the Liberty Seated Dollar represented a significant amount of money and did not commonly circulate. Instead, high denomination coins were used by banks to back their paper money and by businesses for domestic and overseas transactions.

As specie money did not freely flow during the conflict, much of the Philadelphia Mint’s output was struck for the purposes of paying for foreign goods. The export of nearly the entire mintage of 1864 Liberty Seated Dollars explains the coin’s scarcity in Mint State. A sufficient number of lightly circulated examples survive for this date and these coins are attractively priced at the time of writing in June 2024.

Production of 1864 Liberty Seated Dollars

January 13, 1864 5,700 struck April 30, 1864 2,000 struck
May 17, 1864 8,500 struck July 29, 1864 14,500 struck
Uncertain Date 470 struck (Proofs)
Total Mintage: 30,700 coins

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Market Data and Noteworthy Specimens

Third-party population data as of June 2024 indicates a total Gem population of 17 coins at the Gem level. The finest known is a single coin graded PCGS MS66. Reviewing images from online auctions at GreatCollections, Heritage Auctions, Legend Rare Coin Auctions, and Stack’s Bowers, we have not discovered instances of crossovers or upgrades at this level.

Top Population: PCGS MS66 (1, 6/2024), NGC MS65 (7, 6/2024), and CAC MS66 (1:0 stickered:graded, 6/2024).

  • PCGS MS66 #21328536: Champagne hue throughout. Aqua toning on the rim. Tick on the fold of Liberty’s right arm. Small tick on the upper portion of that arm. Small tick on cheek and neck. Copper spot on the drapery covering the front of Liberty’s left arm. On the reverse, there is a small cluster of dark spots around second S of STATES. Thin cluster of light scratches in the upper right field. Imaged on PCGS CoinFacts.
  • PCGS MS65+ CAC CMQ #06629622: Legend Rare Coin Auctions, June-July 2020, Lot 69 – Passed; GreatCollections, October 16, 2022, Lot 1233883 – View; Stack’s Bowers, March 26, 2024, Lot 4169 – $78,000. Brilliant with light toning at the rim. Carbon spot above forehead. Small diagonal tick on right knee. Spot in the left field, to the left of the hand. Reverse eagle is clean, but there are tiny ticks scattered around the field.
  • PCGS MS65+ CAC #25596546: Stack’s Bowers, August 13, 2011, Lot 7419 – $80,500; “The Jim O’Neal Collection of U.S. Type, Part IV,” Heritage Auctions, April 2015, Lot 5143 – $56,400; Heritage Auctions, December 3, 2015, Lot 3233 – $47,000; “The Mesquite Collection,” Heritage Auctions, April 27, 2017, Lot 4112 – $64,625. Scratches on right knee. Horizontal scratch across arm and blouse. Diagonal mark in right obverse field running parallel to the leg. On the reverse, there is a cluter of scratches above and to the left of the eagle’s beak.
  • PCGS MS65+ CAC #82945271: “The Blue Moon Collection, Part I,” Stack’s Bowers, March 30, 2017, Lot 2582 – $76,375. Both sides are toned, the obverse is toned more darkly than the reverse in steel grey and apricot. Deep hit on Liberty’s neck, vertical hit to the left of star 12. Tick on Liberty’s left hand. Reverse is cleaner, more golden in appearance, and exhibits several tiny copper spots on the right side.
  • PCGS MS65 #4769046: “The Palakika Collection,” Heritage Auctions, May 10, 2007, Lot 2161 – $66,125; Legend Numismatics to Eugene H. Gardner, January 2008; “The Eugene H. Gardner Collection, Part III,” May 12, 2015, Lot 98568 – $47,000. Creamy. Spot on blouse below chest. Spot in the right obverse field, to the right of Liberty’s ankle. On the reverse, there is a rim hit above to the right of the eagle’s neck. Thin vertical scratches in the upper right obverse field. Thin vertical scratch below AT of STATES.
  • PCGS MS65: Stack’s Bowers, March 21, 2012, Lot 4128 – $40,365. Brilliant. Vertical hit on knee. On the reverse, diagonal hit above left wing. Scattered disruption on the field between arrow tip and A.
  • PCGS MS65 CAC #1600817: “The James Mossman Collection,” January 8, 2009, Lot 3957 – $51,750. Creamy. Rim hit at the fold of Liberty’s right elbow. Multiple rim hits in right obverse field. Spot in right obverse field to the right of Liberty’s wrist. On the reverse, there are a few small ticks in the field below the right wing.
  • NGC MS65 #367229-010: “Richard J. Chouinard Collection of United States Coins, Part One,” Heritage Auctions, January 12, 2005, Lot 30279 – $21,850; “The Madison Collection,” Heritage Auctions, January 10, 2008, Lot 2945 – $29,900; Heritage Auctions, May 28, 2009, Lot 958 – $18,400; Heritage Auctions, January 7, 2010, Lot 2601 – $21,850. Champagne toning. Thin curved line in the right field to the left of stars 10 and 11. Tiny ticks on right forearm. Diagonal mark on the stem of 4. On the reverse, diagonal mark from end of the branch to the top of E.

Design

Obverse:

The obverse of the 1864 Liberty Seated Dollar depicts Lady Liberty seated on a rock in classical flowing robes, head turned toward her right (viewer’s left). Her left arm is bent, her raised hand holding a liberty pole with a cap. The right arm is extended downward at her side with the hand balancing a shield, across which the word LIBERTY is displayed in a curving banner. Thirteen six-pointed stars surround the seated figure inside a denticulated rim with seven on the left side, one between Liberty’s head and the cap, and the remaining five along the right. The date 1864 is centered at the bottom between the base of the rock and the rim.

Reverse:

An eagle is prominently displayed inside a denticulated rim. The eagle’s wings are partially spread but folded downward at the joint as if the majestic bird had just landed or perhaps instead is preparing to fly off. An olive branch is in the dexter claw (viewer’s left) while the sinister claw clutches three arrows. The legend UNITED STATES OF AMERICA encircles the top two-thirds of the coin inside the rim, with the ONE DOL. denomination centered at the bottom. Most were minted at Philadelphia; branch New Orleans (O) and San Francisco (S) mintmarks are located below the eagle, above the denomination.

Edge:

The edge of the 1864 Liberty Seated Dollar is reeded.

Coin Specifications

Country: United States of America
Year of Issue: 1864
Denomination: One Dollar (USD)
Mintmark: None (Philadelphia)
Mintage: 30,700
Alloy: 90% Silver, 10% Copper
Weight: 26.73 g
Diameter: 38.10 mm
Edge: Reeded
OBV Designer: Christian Gobrecht, from sketches by Titian Peale/Thomas Sully
REV Designer: Christian Gobrecht
Quality: Business Strike

 

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References

Julian, R.W. “The Silver Dollar, 1853-1873.” Numismatic Scrapbook Magazine. August 1964. 2124-2128. Data compiled and analyzed from the National Archives.

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CoinWeek Notes
CoinWeek Notes
CoinWeek Notes presents expert analysis and insights from Charles Morgan and Hubert Walker, the award-winning editors of CoinWeek.com.

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