Coin Specifications

Category: Seated Liberty Dollars (1840-1873)
Mint: San Francisco
Mintage: 20,000
Obverse Designer: Christian Gobrecht
Reverse Designer: Christian Gobrecht
Composition: Silver
Fineness: 0.9000
Weight: 26.7300g
ASW: 0.7734oz
Melt Value: $13.25 (11/23/2017)
Diameter: 38.1mm
Edge: Reeded
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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: 10/20/2016

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

1859 S S$1 MS
Base $ 550 675 1000 1650 1975 3950 4400 5350 7500 10000 11000 13750 26000 - 140000 - - - - -
$ - - - - - - - - 39500 70000 - - - -

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Total Graded: 145
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
12/7/1998 PCGS VF 30   Teletrade Auction 1112, 1112/Lot# 1755 $599.50
11/7/2011 NGC MS 61   Heritage Auctions 2011 November 7-9 US Coins Signature Auction - Beverly Hills Session(1), 1161/Lot# 3491 $8,050.00
1/19/2012 NGC AU 50   David Lawrence Rare Coins Thursday - Internet Auction # 655, 662/Lot# 7047 $2,599.00
2/22/2013 NGC VF 30   Stack's Bowers The March 2013 Baltimore Auction, 181/Lot# 3062 $1,292.50
9/25/2013 PCGS Genuine XF   Goldberg September 22-25, 2013 September Pre Long Beach, 75/Lot# 1627 $661.25
7/6/2014 PCGS VF 20   GreatCollections GreatCollections Coin Auctions 07/06/2014, 188/Lot# 175385 $1,550.00
10/3/2016 PCGS MS 62   Heritage Auctions 2016 October 3 - 5 US Coins Signature Auction - Dallas Session(1), 1240/Lot# 3198 $8,812.50

NGC Registry

NGC Registry Score 1859 S$1 MS S
Registry Image Gallery
Grade: MS 63
Points: 8338
Owner: mr cool
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