Coin Specifications

Category: Seated Liberty Dollars (1840-1873)
Mint: San Francisco
Mintage: 20,000
Catalog: KM-71
Obverse Designer: Christian Gobrecht
Reverse Designer: Christian Gobrecht
Composition: Silver
Fineness: 0.9000
Weight: 26.7300g
ASW: 0.7734oz
Melt Value: $11.01 (11/25/2015)
Diameter: 38.1mm
Edge: Reeded
Numismatic specification data provided by Krause Publications NumisMaster.
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1859 S S$1 MS obverse 1859 S S$1 MS reverse

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Description & Analysis

The 1859-S has long enjoyed a place of honor in the annals of Silver Dollar coinage. The first issue of this denomination produced at the San Francisco Mint, the '59-S is also a low mintage date that is scarce, if not rare, in all grades. The reason for Seated Dollar coinage at San Francisco is not known with certainty. Bowers suggests that the proximity of California to the Orient made the San Francisco Mint an attractive facility to bullion depositors and merchants on the West Coast. Indeed, virtually the entire mintage of 1859-S Seated Dollars is believed to have been exported at the time of issue, melting overseas claiming most of these coins. However, the San Francisco Mint did not produce any more Seated Dollars until 1870, when an unknown, but presumably limited number of coins emerged from the presses. A further 9,000 S-mint coins were delivered in 1872, followed by a mere 700 examples in 1873. It seems likely that Chinese merchants no longer accepted U.S. Silver Dollars on par with their Mexican counterparts, and, by the second year of the Civil War, the United States' export of silver had begun to move away from the Orient and toward Latin America. When the federal government authorized the heavier Trade Dollar in 1873, U.S. merchants could once again compete aggressively on the Oriental market, and the San Francisco Mint became the primary producer of that new denomination.

Few 1859-S Seated Dollars were set aside at the time of production, and those Mint State coins that did survive probably did so purely by chance.

Description and Analysis courtesy of Heritage Auctions and may not be republished without written permission.


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Price Guide

Last Updated: 9/22/2015

Click on a price to see historical prices, comparison charts and trends.

1859 S S$1 MS
Base $ 385 525 740 1375 2250 3650 4400 5250 8150 12000 15000 34000 - 140000 - - - - -
$ - - - 5750 8850 - - - 70000 - - - -

NGC Price and Value Guides Disclaimer



Total Graded: 141
Low Grade: PrAg
Average Grade: 50
High Grade: 65

Upcoming Auctions

Auction Prices Realized

A random selection of coins is shown below.

Auction House
Sale / Lot
1/6/1996 PCGS AU 50   Heritage Auctions 1996 F.U.N. Signature Sale #149, 149/Lot# 5636 $2,090.00
11/10/1997 PCGS XF 40   Teletrade Auction 0996, 996/Lot# 1791 $817.50
6/2/2010 PCGS Genuine Genuine   Heritage Auctions "2010 June Long Beach, CA Signature US Coin Auction Session(4)", 1140/Lot# 8166 $345.00
1/5/2011 PCGS G 6   Heritage Auctions 2011 January Tampa FUN Signature & Platinum Night US Coin Auction Session(7), 1151/Lot# 11468 $575.00
8/15/2011 NGC XF 40   Stack's Bowers The August 2011 Chicago ANA World's Fair of Money Auction, 115/Lot# 3059 $977.50
1/19/2012 NGC AU 50   David Lawrence Rare Coins Thursday - Internet Auction # 655, 662/Lot# 7047 $2,599.00
3/17/2013 PCGS XF 45   GreatCollections GreatCollections Coin Auctions 03/17/2013, 66/Lot# 104644 $1,899.70
9/25/2013 PCGS Genuine XF   Goldberg September 22-25, 2013 September Pre Long Beach, 75/Lot# 1627 $661.25

NGC Registry

NGC Registry Score 1859 S S$1 MS
Registry Image Gallery
Grade: MS 63
Points: 8338
Owner: mr cool
Grade: MS 61
Points: 5563
Owner: G & R coins
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