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: 26.73g
ASW: 0.7734oz
Melt Value: $15.79 (7/30/2016)
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 11000 12000 15000 34000 - 140000 - - - - -
$ - - - 5750 8850 - - - - 70000 - - - -

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Total Graded: 143
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
4/14/1999 NGC XF 45   Teletrade Auction 1154, 1154/Lot# 1979 $1,296.00
3/17/2011 NGC Details AU Details  Heritage Auctions 2011 March Sacramento Signature ANA US Coin Auction Session(3), 1153/Lot# 4509 $1,265.00
8/11/2011 NGC VF 30   Heritage Auctions 2011 August Chicago Signature US Coin & Platinum Night Auction Session(3), 1158/Lot# 4323 $1,035.00
1/19/2012 NGC AU 50   David Lawrence Rare Coins Thursday - Internet Auction # 655, 662/Lot# 7047 $2,599.00
9/2/2012 NGC Details XF Details  Goldberg September 2-5, 2012 The September 2-5, 2012, 70/Lot# 1420 $949.00
2/7/2013 PCGS VF 20   Heritage Auctions 2013 February 7 -8 & 10 US Coin Signature Auction - Long Beach Session(1), 1182/Lot# 3603 $1,645.00
7/21/2013 PCGS Genuine XF   GreatCollections GreatCollections Coin Auctions 07/21/2013, 84/Lot# 125905 $907.50
10/24/2014 PCGS Genuine AU   Stack's Bowers iAuction 3505, 6059/Lot# 23300 $1,057.50

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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