1864 Liberty Seated dollars are enjoyed by collectors of 19th-century type silver coins and are generally regarded as historic numismatic relics. While these coins do contain nearly an ounce of silver, they really shouldn’t be collected strictly as silver bullion, for doing such mitigates their importance as rare U.S. coins. Besides, collecting Liberty Seated silver dollars as bullion coins would be quite costly for silver stackers, who want as much silver for as little money as possible. The numismatic premium for a typical Liberty Seated dollar is hundreds of dollars over spot!
1864 Liberty Seated dollars are considerably scarce, as only 30,700 specimens were made, including 470 in proof condition. Business strikes are worth $425 in Very Good-8 up to $3,600 in Mint State-60. Proofs range in value from $4,500 up to $10,000 or more, depending on individual condition.
Mintage of 1864 dollars was done at only the Philadelphia Mint, yet Liberty Seated dollars were struck at several different United States Mint branch facilities over the course of their production from 1840 through 1873. These branch mints include the Carson City, New Orleans, and San Francisco Mints. Liberty Seated dollars were designed by Christian Gobrecht, who is also the designer behind most of the other Liberty Seated coins of the 19th century, including the half dime, dime, quarter, and half dollar. It should be noted that William Barber designed the 20 Cent piece of the 1870s, which looks similar in design to the Gobrecht Liberty Seated motif.
Liberty Seated silver dollars circulated primarily during the 1840s and 1850s. By the 1860s, Liberty Seated dollars circulated mainly in the foreign trade channels – a common fate for many U.S. silver dollars made during the 19th century. This was due to the silver content of these coins. As silver prices rose during the 1860s and at other points during the 19th century, use of silver dollars in foreign trade would further rise.
Liberty Seated dollars consist of a 90 percent silver and 10 percent copper composition; they weigh 26.73 grams and contain 0.77344 ounces of pure silver. Their diameter measures 38.1 millimeters, which is the same width as the popular Morgan and Peace silver dollars that were struck by the United States Mint during the latter 19th and early 20th centuries.