Description and Analysis
Seated Liberty Dimes
1863 S 10C MS
Description & Analysis
Since silver coins actively circulated in the West, where paper money of any kind was shunned, the mintage of dimes at the San Francisco Mint was fairly steady from 1861-67. Though these figures are not especially low, there were no coin collectors seeking such pieces in their own time, so nearly all survivors are heavily worn and/or damaged.
Mint State examples are very rare. When found they typically display weakness at Liberty's head and the wreath bow knot. With U. S. coin dies mounted in an inverted position to one another, these two design features are opposed, and this reduced the likelihood of both die cavities filling completely.
Seven obverse dies were shipped to the San Francisco Mint for 1863, but the existing supply of reverse dies on hand was deemed sufficient. As it turned out, just one die pair was actually used. It seems that the need for obverse dies was almost always overestimated, and this remained true until production at the SFM began to increase in 1868.