1851 Liberty Seated dollars are classic silver coins that are popular with those who build type sets of 19th-century United States coins as well as anybody who enjoys rare coinage in general. Seated Liberty dollars were minted from 1840 through 1873, but they primarily circulated during the 1840s and 1850s. By the end of the 1850s, silver bullion prices had spiked and the coins were relegated to foreign trade.
While the Philadelphia, New Orleans, Carson City, and San Francisco Mints were all involved in striking Liberty Seated silver dollars, these coins were struck at only the Philadelphia Mint in 1851. Liberty Seated silver dollars are especially rare, as only 1,300 original pieces were made and far fewer exist today. Values range from about $7,500 in a grade of Very Good-8 to $35,000 in uncirculated. Restrikes were made. The differences between an original 1851 silver dollar and a restrike concern the location of the date on the coin’s obverse. Pieces on which the date is placed higher than usual are “original” strikes, whereas 1851 dollars with a centered date are indicative of restrikes. In proof, 1851 silver dollar restrikes sell for about $25,000 and up.
1851 Liberty Seated silver dollars were designed by United States Mint Chief Engraver Christian Gobrecht. He also designed the other U.S. silver coins with the Liberty Seated motif. Liberty Seated dollars are made from a 90 percent silver and 10 percent copper composition, and each coin contains 0.77344 ounces, or nearly an ounce, of pure silver. These dollar coins measure 38.1 millimeters in diameter and weigh 26.73 grams, so Liberty Seated dollars are therefore the same size as Morgan and Peace silver dollars.