Liberty Seated series silver dollars are impossible to complete in MS conditions due to the very small mintage and low survival rate. The collection started out as a slight variation of Christian Gobrecht’s original frontal design. The reverse of the original Gobrecht Soaring Eagle was replaced by John Reich’s improved Heralding Eagle design, which was first used on coins in 1807.
Robert Power Hughes modified Gobrecht’s original frontal creation “in the name of decency.” He chopped off some of her rock seats, made the free word on her shield clearer, and added more ruffles to her left sleeve. He also added 13 stars on the obverse instead of putting them on the reverse.
It was first cast in Philadelphia, then in New Orleans in 1846. The Liberty Seated was the last silver dollar minted before the 1873 Coinage Act. The Coinage Act of 1873 stopped the production of silver dollars for domestic use and began to use silver dollars for foreign trade transactions.
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The Mint Act also ended private citizens being able to mint their personal silver or gold into legal tender. The main source of silver before 1870 was ordinary citizens, and not much silver was usually minted.
By 1859, the Comstock Lode had a much better supply of silver, so production of free-seating dollars increased at the end of the 1871 and 1872 series. The trade dollar fills the gap between the Free Seated Silver Dollar and the Morgan Silver Dollar.
The total output of all free-seating dollar commercial strikes was 6,487,747. The Philadelphia Mint produced 5,465,463 of these coins. In fact, between 1871 and 1872, the Philadelphia Mint minted a total of 2,179,300 coins, making it the most “common” coin in the series.
In 1851 and 1852, the Philadelphia Mint produced only 2,400 coins in total. The branch mint only minted free-seated silver dollars for four years, with production in New Orleans in the early days and San Francisco and Carson City in the later period.
In total, the New Orleans Mint only minted $875,000 of these dollars. Thanks to the 1962-64 U.S. Treasury release, the New Orleans piece has by far the highest mint status survival rate in the entire series.
It is believed that 1 to 3 bags of 1,000 fresh $1859-O and 1860-O mint seal bags were found in Morgan and Peace silver dollar bags sold to the public in the 1960s.
1870-S Seated Dollar Mint unknown. Estimates range from 25-300 pieces. There are only a dozen or so specimens of the population identified today. In fact, the most famous specimen of 1870-S is the MS-62. The 1870-S is considered the king of the Liberty Seated series.
1866 was the first year that the words “IN GOD WE TRUST” were added to US coins. This date is actually more common in MS conditions than many previous dates.
The Carson City Mint produced only $18,584 in total during its four years of production. 1870-CC accounted for 63% of the total coinage and was the most “common” in the Carson City silver dollar series. A “few” MS examples have emerged.
1873-CC is the second rarest date after 1870-S, with a total mint of 2,300 pieces and an MS-64 found. Because this collection contains too many “plugs” and is significantly more expensive than the Morgan or Peace collections, the Free Seated collection unfortunately did not interest collectors.