Seated Liberty Silver Dollars (1840-1873)
Liberty Seated dollars were struck from 1840 through 1873 and were the first regularly circulating United States silver dollars struck to the physical standards of most modern large-size U.S. dollar coins. The Liberty Seated dollar is a scarce 19th-century silver coin that enjoys widespread popularity among type coin collectors who enjoy classic United States coinage.
While Liberty Seated dollars contain nearly one full ounce of silver, they are far more significant as numismatic collectibles than bullion coins. The collectible premium of these coins is generally hundreds of dollars above spot value, which speaks to the overall difficulty in finding these coins today. Thus, they are not ideal coins for the average miserly silver stacker who enjoys investing in bullion.
United States Mint Chief Engraver originally designed these coins in the late 1830s, a period during which his Liberty Seated motif debuted on several other U.S. silver coins, including the half dime, dime, quarter, and half dollar. The Liberty Seated dollar is generally collected as a type coin, and the series itself saw two different reverse designs. The first, in production from 1840 through 1865, does not have the motto IN GOD WE TRUST. That motto was added to the reverse of the dollar in 1866 and lasted for the remainder of the series through 1873.
Every issue in the Liberty Seated silver dollar series is considerably scarce, and original, problem-free examples are extremely difficult to find. Rare dates include all dollars from 1851, 1852, 1854, 1855, and 1858; 1866 No Motto dollar; 1870-S dollar; and all of the Carson City issues from the 1870s, including the 1871-CC, 1872-CC, and 1873-CC dollars. Values for the most common dates, including the 1871 and 1872 dollars from the Philadelphia Mint, sell for $300 to $500 in moderately to heavily circulated grades.
Liberty Seated dollars weigh 26.73 grams and measure 38.1 millimeters in diameter. They consist of a composition made from 90 percent silver and 10 percent copper, which means Liberty Seated dollar coins contain 0.77344 ounces of silver. These physical specifications are the same as for the Morgan and Peace silver dollars from the latter 19th and early 20th centuries, as well as commemorative United States Mint silver dollars struck today.