1851 Seated Dollar Rarity, MS64 PCGS1851 $1 MS64 PCGS. The discovery of gold in 1848, while an important social and political event in U.S. history that led to, among other things, the admission of California as a state in 1850, had a deleterious effect on circulating silver coinage through early 1853. By 1851, many Americans had figured out that silver coins were worth more as bullion than in face value, and such pieces were being exported and/or melted faster than the Mint could strike replacements. Rather than continue to feed the bullion brokers, Mint officials limited Silver Dollar production in both 1851 and 1852. Only 1,300 business strikes were produced in the former year, and the rarity of this date was recognized so quickly that by 1858 proof restrikes were already being made available to collectors. Most surviving business strikes are Mint State, and the few known circulated examples are apt to grade XF-AU. It seems likely, therefore, that this issue was not released into general circulation. Rather, those examples that escaped the melting pot were probably preserved by either Mint officials or collectors.
We do not know how the present example survived the economic turmoil of the early 1850s, but the hobby owes a debt of gratitude to whoever preserved this coin for today's Seated Dollar specialists. This is a powerfully impressed, minimally toned example with typically abrasion-free surfaces for the grade. There are numerous striations (as produced) in the fields, and the dies were obviously polished shortly before this coin was struck. There are two small die cracks (also as produced) on the reverse, one from the lower rim through the O in ONE, and the other from the rim through the U in UNITED. Per Bowers (1993), these are the same diagnostics displayed by the specimen in the ANS Museum.
From the Richard Genaitis Collection. (NGC ID# 24YP, PCGS# 6939)
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