1857 Liberty Seated dollars are popular 19th-century type coins that collectors who enjoy rare U.S. coins commonly pursue for type sets. Seated Liberty silver dollars bear the Liberty Seated obverse shared with other silver U.S. denominations of the mid- through late-19th century. Liberty Seated silver dollars were designed by Christian Gobrecht, who served as the Chief Engraver of the United States Mint. He also designed the other Liberty Seated silver coins struck during that era, including the half dime, dime, quarter, and half dollar.
Liberty Seated silver dollars were struck from 1840 through 1873 and were produced at four of the then-operating mints, including those in Philadelphia, Denver, San Francisco, and Carson City, Nevada. Liberty Seated silver dollars circulated widely during the 1840s and 1850s, but they were relegated to foreign trade when silver bullion prices edged upward as the 1860s rolled in.
1857 Liberty Seated dollars were made only at the Philadelphia Mint, which struck 94,000 pieces. Only a small portion of the original mintage is still in existence today, and most survivors are in relatively poor condition. The plurality of Seated Liberty silver dollars have been cleaned, have holes, or exhibit other types of damage. The value of an 1857 Liberty Seated dollar ranges from $425 in a grade of Very Good-8 to $3,500 and up in uncirculated grades. Proof specimens are worth $7,000 or more.
1857 Liberty Seated dollars are made from a composition of 90 percent silver and 10 percent copper, and each coin contains 0.77344 ounces, or nearly an ounce, of pure silver. They measure 38.1 millimeters in diameter and weigh 26.73 grams, which means Liberty Seated dollars are the same size as the widely collected Morgan and Peace silver dollars.