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1857 Seated Liberty Dollar, MS65 Prooflike
Rare Date, Most Examples Exported
Only Two Coins Certified Finer

1857 $1 MS65 Prooflike NGC. While the Mint's official 1857 Annual Report and the Guide Book both list the mintage of the 1857 Seated Liberty dollar as 94,000 pieces, research by R.W. Julian indicates a delivery of 490 pieces on May 29, 1857 was mistakenly omitted from the total. Q. David Bowers speculates the small delivery may have been a special striking for unknown purposes. Because the silver dollar contained a $1.046 melt-down value in silver, the coins rarely circulated domestically. Most examples were used in the China trade, and ultimately melted in the Orient, with the result that the issue is much rarer than generally supposed today. Bowers estimates a few hundred coins may still exist in circulated grades, with Mint State examples "quite rare." At the MS65 level, PCGS has certified two specimens, with none finer; while NGC has seen no coins in this grade, but has graded two examples finer (11/09).
Most early auction appearances of the 1857 dollar were as part of silver proof sets, which seems to be the way most collectors obtained an example of the date. One early offering of a business-strike 1857 was in a fixed price list issued by Augustus B. Sage in June 1859. Sage was asking $1.50 for a very fine example, quite a markup for a circulated coin that was only two years old at the time.
The present coin is a magnificent example, perhaps finer than the coin in Jack Lee's fabled collection. All silver dollars of 1857 were produced with prooflike surfaces. Even coins in circulated grades as low as XF show this feature. The fields of the coin offered here are nicely mirrored, with modestly contrasted devices. The surfaces are mostly brilliant, but there is a slight overlay of pale reddish patina on both sides. Pedigree markers include two tiny marks in the right obverse field and a mark below E in UNITED.(Registry values: N7079) (NGC ID# 24YW, PCGS# 6945)

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Auction Dates
January, 2010
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 5
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