1859 Liberty Seated dollars are scarce silver coins that have appeal to those who enjoy collecting 19th-century type United States coins. Designed by United States Mint Chief Engraver Christian Gobrecht, these silver dollars bear an obverse portrait of a seated Miss Liberty figure; this same design was seen on many other silver coins designed by Gobrecht, including the half dime, dime, quarter, and half dollar, and all of these Seated Liberty coins, including the dollar, were produced during a period spanning the late 1830s through early 1890s. The Seated Liberty dollar, meanwhile, was struck from 1840 through 1873.
Seated Liberty dollars were produced at various mints during their 34-year span, including the Philadelphia, Denver, San Francisco, and Carson City Mints. In 1859, there were struck at the Philadelphia, New Orleans, and San Francisco Mints. Here is a look at the mintage figures for each issue:
1859, 255,700 minted; $300 to $2,500
1859-O, 360,000; $275 to $2,000
1859-S, 20,000; $400 to $13,000
1859 proof, 800; $4,500
*Price ranges are from a low grade of Very Good-8 through Mint State-60, unless otherwise noted.
The prices above are for coins that are in original condition. It should be noted, however, that finding Seated Liberty dollars that are uncleaned, unholed, or otherwise undamaged is extremely difficult; most of these coins have been altered or suffered notable damage in some way. Liberty Seated dollars circulated widely during the 1840s and 1850s, but as silver bullion prices climbed during the late 1850s, they saw use more often in foreign trade channels.
1859 Liberty Seated dollars are made from a composition of 90 percent silver and 10 percent copper; each silver dollar has 0.77344 ounces, or nearly a full ounce, of pure silver. They measure 38.1 millimeters in diameter and weigh 26.73 grams. Liberty Seated dollars are therefore the same size and weight as the more commonly encountered Morgan and Peace silver dollars.