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Legendary 1851 Original Seated Dollar, MS63

1851 $1 MS63 NGC. The 1851 and 1852 Original Seated Liberty dollars have tiny mintage figures, recorded as 1,300 and 1,100 pieces, respectively. Proof Restrikes are known of both dates. It appears that their legendary rarity was recognized early on, both inside and outside the Mint. Typical of the chicanery of the mid-19th century, the Mint (or some employees therein) was not at all averse to striking a few pieces later on, in order to pad public or private pockets. Bowers' Silver Dollar Encyclopedia notes that the melt value of the silver dollar by 1851 had reached $1.03, and silver dollars did not circulate. It is unknown if the 1851 Originals were struck for government or depositor accounts, but it appears that they were dispersed in the next year or two after their production. Bowers offers this:

"I believe that sharp-eyed bank tellers, Treasury employees, hotel clerks, and others, perhaps equipped with a coin buying guide issued by Cook, Morey, von Bergen, or some other nineteenth century precursor of B. Max Mehl snapped up all the examples they could find. Such coin premium books were distributed in large quantities beginning with Cook's efforts in the mid-1870s and, for all I know, even earlier by others. Even so, very few were ever found."

This Select Mint State coin has bright, semiprooflike fields, with a sharp strike and light, even golden-steel toning. The date is high in the exergue, characteristic of the Originals, and numerous die breaks on the reverse signal the reuse of that die from business strikes of 1850. Clashing from the reverse appears in the field near Liberty's right (facing) arm. Census: 9 in 63, 3 finer (8/09).(Registry values: N7079) (NGC ID# 24YP, PCGS# 6939)

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Auction Dates
September, 2009
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 8
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