1868 Liberty Seated dollars are pursued by collectors of 19th-century type silver coins and are generally regarded as historic numismatic collectibles. These coins do contain nearly one ounce of silver, but they are not necessarily collected for their silver bullion content, because the numismatic premium for a typical Liberty Seated dollar is hundreds of dollars over their intrinsic spot value.
1868 Liberty Seated dollars are scarce, but they are among the most common in the series. 162,100 pieces were struck, including 600 proof specimens. Business strikes are worth $300 in Very Good-8 to $2,400 or more in a grade of Mint State-60. Proofs range in value from $4,000 to $7,500 or more, depending on individual condition.
Production of 1868 dollars was handled at only the Philadelphia Mint, though Liberty Seated dollars were struck at several different United States Mint branch facilities during their overall production period spanning 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 also designed the most other Liberty Seated. As a side note, William Barber designed the 20 Cent piece of the 1870s, which looks much like the Gobrecht Liberty Seated motif.
Liberty Seated silver dollars circulated mainly during the 1840s and 1850s. By the 1860s, Liberty Seated dollars circulated primarily within foreign trade channels, a fate common for many U.S. silver dollars made during the 19th century. 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, particularly in Asian nations.
1868 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. They also measure 38.1 millimeters in diameter, 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.