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SERIES: Liberty Seated Dollars 1836-1873
LEVEL: Minor Variety or Die Variety

1851 $1 Restrike Over O Mint (Proof)


Image courtesy of Ira & Larry Golberg Coins & Collectibles

CLOSEUP OF MINTMARK
Image courtesy of Ira & Larry Golberg Coins & Collectibles
PCGS #:
6979
Diameter:
38.10 millimeters
Designer:
Christian Gobrecht
Weight:
26.73 grams
Edge:
Reeded
Mintage:
1
Metal Content:
90% Silver, 10% Copper
Auction Record:
$325,000 • PCGS PR0 • 6-1-2008 • Stack's
Rarity and Survival Estimates (Explain)
Grades Survival
Estimate 
Numismatic
Rarity 
Relative Rarity
By Type 
Relative Rarity
By Series 
All Grades 1 R-10.0 1 / 27 1 / 38
60 or Better 1 R-10.0 1 / 27 1 / 38
65 or Better 0 R-10.1 1 / 27 1 / 38
Condition Census (Explain)
Pos Grade Thumbnail Pedigree and History
1 PR62 PCGS grade  

Heritage 8/1998:8200, where it failed to meet the reserve of $250,000 - Goldbergs 2/2000:1408, $161,000 - Goldbergs 9/2003:535, $276,000 - Stack's 6/2008:2025, $373,750

Condition Census (Explain) Show fewer rows
Pos Grade Thumbnail Pedigree and History
1 PR62 PCGS grade  

Heritage 8/1998:8200, where it failed to meet the reserve of $250,000 - Goldbergs 2/2000:1408, $161,000 - Goldbergs 9/2003:535, $276,000 - Stack's 6/2008:2025, $373,750

Ron Guth: The 1851-O Silver Dollar is one of the most mysterious and little known American coins.  The date does not appear in the GUIDEBOOK or in Walter Breen's "Encyclopedia", nor does it show up in Mint Reports for the period.  Nevertheless, this is an authentic coin that was struck at the U.S. Mint, albeit under suspicious circumstances.

Breen believed that this coin was struck surreptitiously at the Philadelphia Mint sometime in the 1860's to 1870's by employees utilizing an 1851 Obverse and an "O"-mintmarked Reverse.  He believed that whoever made this piece attempted to remove the mintmark upon discovering that they had inadvertently created a previously unknown rarity.

On October 18, 2002, I examined the coin in the offices of Ira & Larry Goldberg Coins & Collectibles, Inc.  I viewed the coin with the following possibilities in mind:

Possibility #1: that this was indeed a muling of an 1851 Obverse with an "O"-mintmarked Reverse.  Finding: the mintmark is clearly visible but completely flat.  While there are some very fine, almost microscopic scratches in the area of the mintmark, I believe that this was an attempt to efface the already flattened mintmark, not to remove a raised mintmark.  

Possibility #2: that a Silver Dollar previously struck at the New Orleans Mint was mistakenly overstruck in the process of creating an 1851 Restrike Silver Dollar.  Since no Silver Dollars were struck at the New Orleans Mint in 1851, the only possibilities for the host coin were the 1846-O, 1850-O, 1859-O, and 1860-O dates.