Description and Analysis

Seated Liberty Dollars
1856 $1 MS

Description & Analysis

Though this date had the highest mintage since 1847, 1856 silver dollars are by no means common. The attrition rate must have been very high, as just a few hundred survivors are known across all grades. Most are lightly to moderately worn, with examples at the lower and higher ends of the grading scale being unknown. Choice Mint State pieces are extremely rare, with gems unknown. On the plus side, 1856 dollars tend to be well struck overall, with just weakness found on the eagle's leg feathers for some examples. A few are semi-prooflike, but frosty luster is more typical of the date.

Just a single pair of dies was used for this issue. The obverse die features a previous punching of numeral 6 tilted about 45 degrees from normal, and this has been inaccurately attributed as an overdate in the past. The repunched date is not clearly seen in later die states, and some collectors may pay a premium for coins that have this feature sharp. The reverse die is likewise unique to this year. In rare instances it may be found intact, but most examples display a number of die cracks.