Seated Liberty Dollars

Posted by on February 13, 2012

Coin Weight (g) Composition Silver Melt Value Full Melt Value
Seated (1840-1873) 26.73 90% silver, 10% copper
BS 1869seateddollar 300x150 Seated Liberty Dollars

1869 Seated Liberty Dollar

The Seated Liberty Dollars silver coins were minted from 1840 to 1873, primarily out of Philadelphia with no mint mark; however there are some minted in New Orleans and San Francisco, with mint marks “O” and “S” respectively.  Then small numbers were struck regularly from the Carson City Mint also when it was opened in 1870 with the mint mark “CC”.

The Seated Liberty Dollars are 38.1 millimeters in diameter and weigh 26.73 grams composed of 90% silver and 10% copper with a reeded edge.  The 1836 experiment of the Gobrecht Dollar to bring the silver dollar back to the American people seemed satisfactory.  In 1840 the Seated Liberty Dollar was struck against a back drop of economic Hard Times and President Martin Van Buren wanted to bring back Andrew Jackson’s concept of hard currency to combat the economic depression.

The obverse was based on the Gobrecht Dollar first designed in 1836 by Christian Gobrecht base a painting by Thomas Sully.  Liberty is seated on a rock and holding a pole with a cap in her right hand and her left hand is on a shield at her side which has “LIBERTY” written across it. In 1838 13 stars were added encircling the upper portion of the Seated Liberty with the date under her.

The reverse has a heraldic bald eagle with the shield on it breast.  Its right talon clutches an olive branch and its left three arrows.  If there is a mint mark it is under the eagle and above the “ONE DOL.” which encircles the bottom of the coin and the legend “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” encircles the rest of the coin.

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There are two variations of the Seated Liberty Dollars.  Type I is as described above.  On March 3, 1865 the motto “In God we trust” was official adopted by the US Congress to be put on all US currency.  Type II differs only on the reverse when in 1866 the Motto; “IN GOD WE TRUST” was added on a ribbon scrolled above the eagle and below the legend, until 1873 when the Mint Act of February 12, 1873 discontinued the production of all US silver dollars.

In 1861 the threat of Civil War in the United States was pervasive and the Secretary of the Treasury, Salmon P. Chase, received a suggestion from a Pennsylvania minister that the Mint should have some sort of reference upon its coins of the deity.  Chase wrote the Director of the Mint, James Pollock, asking Pollock to prepare some samples of the United States recognition of the trust its people in God.

After a number of variations had been tried “IN GOOD WE TRUST” was selected on.  This Motto became demonstrated as part of the United States identity.  Years later in 1907 when the Motto was left off the double eagle and eagle gold coins public controversy was stirred up immediately and Congress ordered the Motto restored in 1908.

The 1873 Mint Act, also known as the "Crime of '73", ended the United States use of the silver standard 'de facto' and was the last years the Seated Liberty Dollars were struck.

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