1873 Liberty Seated dollars are the last of the series and are fairly difficult to locate as compared to other Liberty Seated dollars from the 1870s. Liberty Seated dollars as a whole are considered scarce, though some of the most common coins among these are the Philadelphia-minted dollars from the early 1870s, which are most often collected as type coins.
As is the case with the 1870, 1871, and 1872 dollars, the majority of 1873 silver dollars were struck at the Philadelphia Mint. A minuscule percentage of 1873’s total were struck at the Carson City and San Francisco Mints, with the latter producing only 700 pieces, of which none are known today. Here’s a look at the mintages and values of 1873 Liberty Seated dollars:
1873, 293,000 minted; $400 to $2,200
1873-CC, 2,300; $7,000 to $115,000
1873-S, 700; unknown in any coin collection
1873 proof, 600; $4,000
*Price ranges are from a low grade of Very Good-8 through Mint State-60 unless otherwise stated.
Uncleaned and undamaged Liberty Seated dollars are quite difficult to locate, and therefore wholly original specimens that look especially nice usually sell for terrific premiums above average book prices. 1873 Liberty Seated silver dollars were designed by United States Mint Chief Engraver Christian Gobrecht. He also designed several other coins bearing the Liberty Seated motif. These coins include the half dime, dime, quarter, and half dollar, all of which were made during the late 1830s through early 1890s. It should be known that William Barber – not Christian Gobrecht – designed the Liberty Seated 20 Cent piece of the 1870s.
1873 Liberty Seated dollars boast a composition consisting of 90 percent silver and 10 percent copper. Each Liberty Seated silver dollar contains 0.77344 ounces, or nearly a full ounce, of pure silver. These coins measure 38.1 millimeters in diameter and weigh 26.73 grams, so they have the same physical specifications as the popularly collected Morgan and Peace silver dollars.
The Liberty Seated dollar was phased out in 1873 as the coin saw increasing use in foreign exchange channels rather than domestic circulation. This situation arose during the late 1850s and early 1860s, when silver bullion prices started climbing. As large silver coins were especially popular in Asian markets, where many Seated Liberty dollars wound up, the United States replaced the coin with the Trade dollar in 1873. Trade dollars contain slightly more silver than most standard United States silver dollars and they became the primary means of monetary exchange between the United States and Asian nations such as China.