1854 Liberty Head gold dollar coins marked the last year for this design type, which was the brainchild of James B. Longacre, who designed the Indian Head cent and two-cent piece. The smallest coin that the United States Mint has ever produced, the Liberty Head $1 coin measures a tiny 13 millimeters and weighs only 1.672 grams – miniscule in virtually every sense of the word. In fact, these coins are so tiny, they often fell through pocket holes and got lost in cracks and crevices – quite a loss indeed at a time when one dollar often equaled a full day’s wage.
Here’s a look at the 1854 $1 gold coin’s mintages and values:
1854, 855,502 – $250
1854-D, 2,935 – $2,000
1854-S, 14,632 – $425
*Values are for coins in a grade of Very Fine, unless otherwise noted.
Note the inclusion of the San Francisco mint among the coins listed above. The San Francisco mint indeed opened for business in 1854 and got to work right away on producing gold coinage, which is not a surprise given the Gold Rush of 1849 put California in the spotlight. The 1854-S dollar, as the mintage evidences above, is by no means common, but the output is substantial enough that a little searching should allow you to find a suitable piece for your collection. The D (Dahlonega) mint issue, on the other hand, is much scarcer and may require arduous effort to find.