1857 Seated Liberty Dollar, Astounding MS66
1857 $1 MS66 NGC. It is our profound pleasure and privilege
to bring the Akers' specimen of the 1857 silver dollar to this
sale, a standout coin in a collection filled with so many wonderful
rarities. The date, while more available than many of the 1850s
rarities in the Seated Liberty series, remains elusive in near-Gem,
very rare in Gem, and, until now, virtually unobtainable as a
Renowned Business Strike Rarity
The Philadelphia Mint produced 94,490 silver dollars dated 1857, most of which were exported to China as payment for imported goods such as silk and tea. Today, only a few hundred examples exist in all grades. The balance were allegedly melted primarily in China, with perhaps some melted by the Mint in 1861 for bullion.
The year 1857 was a calamitous year for the financial markets. The Panic of 1857 was precipitated by one financial crisis after another, including the September 12, 1857 sinking of the S.S. Central America with the loss of its large cargo of gold coins and bullion. Ultimately, many banks failed and on October 13th, all but one New York City bank halted operations. Many banks nationwide halted specie payments that weren't resumed until December of that year. It is no surprise collectors were hesitant or unable to put away many of the year's dollars.
Surviving 1857 silver dollars share interesting striking characteristics. Virtually all have some degree of prooflike surfaces and many are fully prooflike. While about 50 to 100 proofs were struck, the count has been somewhat confused over the years since many prooflike business strikes were described as proofs by early collectors.
Another telling characteristic of the 1857 is weakness of strike at Liberty's head and the surrounding top stars. Hardly any specimens stand out as being well-struck with frosty surfaces. These coins are highly valued by business strike collectors. John W. Dannreuther, who wrote the chapter on Liberty Seated dollars in John Highfill's U.S. Silver Dollar Encyclopedia, mentions an "an amazing non-PL 1857" as one of his two favorite Seated dollars he had ever personally handled (the other was a Gem 1848 dollar).
David Bowers describes two such 1857 Seated dollars in his Encyclopedia. James C. Gray is quoted from a 1992 letter, "The specimen in my collection is frosty Uncirculated without even a hint of prooflike surface. It is fully struck on the head, the obverse stars, and the eagle's legs and talons..."
Bowers further states, "Another remarkable exception is a specimen David W. Akers owned in 1993, which exhibited sharply struck stars and lustrous frosty surfaces." That, of course, is the outstanding silver dollar offered here.
This Premium Gem is essentially brilliant white with a whisper of golden-orange toning around a few stars and at the rims. The visual impression of the coin is frosted, highly lustrous perfection. Only the smallest abrasions are visible anywhere on the coin. The vibrant luster rolls off the coin in billowing waves of light.
A coin of this quality and well-deserved reputation seldom appears and transcends population reports and grading points. For the record, PCGS has graded two examples in MS65 and NGC reports two pieces, with none finer in MS66 and none finer.(11/13).
From The David & Sharron Akers Collection.(Registry values: N10218) (NGC ID# 24YW, PCGS# 6945)
View all of [The David & Sharron Akers Collection ]
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