US Silver Dollars 1836-1885

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This page describes US silver dollars, Gobrecht, Seated Liberty and Trade dollars, minted from 1836 through 1885, and includes their specifics, mintage records, key dates, average coin values (in VG-8 and EF-40 conditions) and images of a few types (not all) that were recovered at various locations in the North-East USA.

GOBRECHT DOLLARS 1836 - 1839

Gobrecht Dollar

Suspension of silver dollar coinage was lifted in 1831 but the coinage was resumed only in 1835. Engraver Christian Gobrecht prepared a pair of dies from designs by Thomas Sully and Titian Peale. The first obverse die bore the seated figure of Liberty. On the reverse was a large eagle flying left surrounded by 26 stars and the legend UNITED STATES OF AMERICA ONE DOLLAR.

In early 1837 the weight was lowered to 412.5 grains and pieces were struck on the new standard, using the dies of 1836. To distinguish the 1837 coinage from that of 1836, the reverse die was oriented in "medal" fashion. Total of 1,900 coins were minted. Restrikes were produced between 1855 and 1870 and are not official coins.

• Average coin values of other dates: VF-20 (Very Fine) - $4,200, EF-40 - $6,000, Proof-60 - $14,000
• 1855-1870 restrikes: Proof-60 - $25,000

LIBERTY SEATED TYPE, Heraldic Eagle 1840-1873

Dollar Seated Liberty Heraldic Eagle

Starting in 1840 silver dollars were issued for general circulation. The seated figure of Liberty device was adopted for the obverse, but the flying eagle design was rejected in favor of the more familiar form with olive branch and arrows used for the other silver denominations. The motto "In God We Trust" was added to the reverse in 1866.

Specifics:

Diameter: 38.1 mm
Weight: 26.73 grams
Edge: Reeded
Composition: .900 silver, .100 copper
Quantity minted: 6,499,217
Mints: Philadelphia, New Orleans, Carson City, San Francisco
Designer: Christian Gobrecht

Key-Dates and Coin Values:

• 1840; VG-8 (Very Good): $170.00, EF-40: $425.00
• 1844; VG-8: $225.00, EF-40: $550.00
• 1845; VG-8: $225.00, EF-40: $560.00
• 1846o; VG-8: $225.00, EF-40: $525.00
• 1848; VG-8: $350.00, EF-40: $780.00
• 1850; VG-8: $425.00, EF-40: $1,300
• 1850o; VG-8: $250.00, EF-40: $1,300
• 1851 Original, high date; VG-8: $4,100, EF-40: $12,200
• 1851 Restrike, date centered; Proof-60: $14,500
• 1852 Original; VG-8: $3,200, EF-40: $11,000
• 1852 Restrike; Proof-60: $12,300
• 1854; VG-8: $1,000, EF-40: $3,200
• 1855; VG-8: $850.00, EF-40: $2,650
• 1856; VG-8: $275.00, EF-40: $1,000
• 1857; VG-8: $275.00, EF-40: $1,000
• 1858 (Est. 300+); VG-8: $2,600, EF-40: $5,600
• 1859; VG-8: $250.00, EF-40: $600.00
• 1859S; VG-8: $325.00, EF-40: $1,300
• 1860; VG-8: $275.00, EF-40: $550.00
• 1861; VG-8: $450.00, EF-40: $1,200
• 1862; VG-8: $400.00, EF-40: $1,000
• 1863; VG-8: $285.00, EF-40: $625.00
• 1870CC; VG-8: $350.00, EF-40: $1,250
• 1871CC; VG-8: $2,300, EF-40: $8,700
• 1872CC; VG-8: $1,100, EF-40: $4,200
• 1872S; VG-8: $280.00, EF-40: $1,000
• 1873CC; VG-8: $3,600, EF-40: $15,200
• 1873S (Est. 700) Unknown in any collection.
Average coin values of other dates: VG-8 - $120.00, EF-40 - $450.00

TRADE DOLLARS 1873-1885

Trade Dollar

This coin was issued for circulation in the Orient to compete with dollar-size coins of other countries. It weighed 27.22 grams compared to 26.73 grams, the weight of the regular silver dollar. With the decline in price of silver bullion, Congress repealed the legal tender (to the extent of $5.00) provision in 1876 and authorized the Treasury to limit coinage of Trade dollars to export demand.

After 1878, strikings were specimen proofs only. In 1887 a law was passed authorizing the Treasury to redeem, for six months, all Trade dollars that were not mutilated.

Specifics:

Diameter: 38.1mm
Weight: 27.22 grams
Edge: Reeded
Composition: .900 silver, .100 copper
Quantity minted: 35,958,460
Mints: Philadelphia, Carson City, San Francisco
Designer: William Barber

Key-Dates and Coin Values:

• 1873CC; VG-8: $140.00, EF-40: $500.00
• 1874CC; VG-8: $100.00, EF-40: $225.00
• 1875; VG-8: $165.00, EF-40: $600.00
• 1875S, S over CC; VG-8: $225.00, EF-40: $725.00
• 1877CC; VG-8: $145.00, EF-40: $350.00
• 1878CC*; VG-8: $425.00, EF-40: $1,650
• 1879-1883; EF-40: $950.00
• 1884 and 1885**: Proof-63 - $100,000-$250,000
Average coin values of other dates: VG-8 - $80.00, EF-40 - $180.00
*44,148 Trade dollars were melted on July 19, 1878, many of these may have been 1878CC.
**Numismatists believe that 1884 and 1885 Trade dollars are not a part of the regular mint issue.


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(Sources: Encyclopedia Of U.S. Coins by Mort Reed and The Official Red Book of United States Coins by R.S. Yeoman.)