Liberty Seated Silver Dollars

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Question: Why were no Liberty Seated silver dollars minted for circulation in 1858? I understand that only Proofs were made, to the extent of several hundred pieces. In looking at other 1858 silver coins, from the three-cent piece to the half dollar, I find that there are no rarities. It seems unusual that dollars weren’t struck while the other denominations were. –P.T.

Answer: Liberty Seated silver dollars of this era were not made on speculation or for the account of the government, but in direct response to silver bullion deposits made by banks, silver refiners, and others, who specifically requested that payment be made in silver dollars. At the time, freshly minted Liberty Seated dollars contained over $1 worth of silver and thus traded at a premium. The dollar denomination was not included in the Act of February 21, 1853, which reduced the authorized weights of silver issues from the half dime through the half dollar. Probably, most people making silver deposits in 1858 requested smaller coins of the type that circulated readily, pieces of lighter weight made under the 1853 act. In any event, no one called for Liberty Seated dollars and that’s why no pieces were struck.

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