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Scarce Gem 1853 Seated Liberty Dollar Offered by GreatCollections

Scarce Gem 1853 Seated Liberty Dollar Offered by GreatCollections
Image: PCGS/CoinWeek

GreatCollections is offering an 1853 Seated Liberty dollar certified MS-65 with a Gold Shield by PCGS, one of two examples reported in that grade by the service. With an opening bid of $65,000, the sale closes November 28 alongside two other Seated Liberty dollars.

The Coinage Act of February 21, 1853, which lowered the weight of all silver subsidiary coinage, did not affect the silver dollar. The denomination’s higher silver content, therefore, resulted in a coin that did not circulate widely within the borders of the United States. Some were sent overseas as bullion, and of those that remained stateside, some were hoarded by banks or sold back to the Mint to be recoined into smaller-denomination (fractional) silver coinage. A relatively large number of Uncirculated pieces exist, a product of their limited circulation.

The Philadelphia Mint struck 46,110 Seated Liberty dollars with one pair of dies in 1853, the first 39,000 of which were delivered on April 21 of that year. Another 7,110 coins were delivered on December 29. A sizable population, roughly 1,700 strong according to PCGS CoinFacts, survives from this relatively large mintage.

Seated Liberty dollars of the era are scarce in grades higher than MS-64. PCGS reports two grading events of 1853 Seated Liberty dollars in MS-65, with two finer: one in MS-66, and the other in MS-66+. In contrast, NGC has reported only a single example in MS-65 and only one finer in MS-66.

Gem MS-65 1853 Seated Liberty dollars do not come up for auction very often. According to their respective websites, coins certified MS-65 by both PCGS and NGC have come up for auction only a handful of times in the last 30 years, bringing in sums ranging from a few thousand dollars to more than $100,000 USD. An 1853 Seated Liberty dollar certified MS-65 by PCGS sold in February 2014 for $111,625.

At the time of writing, no bids have been recorded for the specimen currently being offered. The sale has a minimum bid of $65,000 and closes on November 28 at 5:45 PM Pacific Time, 8:45 PM Eastern. Sixteen GreatCollections.com members were tracking the auction at the time of writing, and the page had been viewed 17 times.

Additional Seated Liberty Dollars

Two other GC sales of Seated Liberty dollars, one for an 1869 in MS-64 and the other for an 1870-CC in AU-55, also close on the 28th. The former has an opening bid of $8,000; the latter, $8,400. Neither had attracted bids at the time of writing.

1869 marked the beginning of an uptick in silver dollar production; 1869 Seated Liberty dollars outnumber those from 1853 10 to 1. PCGS graded the coin MS-64, one of five in that grade reported by the service. Auction results indicate that this coin could sell for any one of a wide range of prices; within two months in 2018 alone, one crossed the block for $9,000, while another went for $5,520.

A Seated Liberty dollar was the first coin struck at the Carson City Mint when that facility began coinage operations in 1870; 11,758 were struck there that year, though the Mint reported 12,462 in the mid-1880s. Multiple experts claim that the Mint’s figure is “unsubstantiated”. The coin offered in this GC sale is one of 29 examples of the date graded AU-55 by PCGS. If auction results from the last 10 years are reasonable indicators, 1870-CC dollars in AU-55 usually sell for between $6,000 and $8,000.

Given the six-figure prices such coins have attracted in the recent past, it will be interesting to see what bids the 1853 Seated Liberty dollar offered by GreatCollections attracts. To search through GreatCollection’s archive of over 600,000 certified coins the company has sold over the past seven years, please visit the GreatCollections Auction Archives.

GreatCollections, the official auction house of the American Numismatic Association (ANA), specializes in auctioning certified coins and banknotes, handling transactions from start to finish. Since its founding in 2010, GreatCollections has successfully auctioned over one million certified coins, making it one of the leading certified coin companies in the United States, with annual sales in 2021 exceeding $235 million. Ian Russell, owner/president of GreatCollections, is a member of the Professional Numismatists Guild (PNG) and a member of the National Auctioneers Association.

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