1851 Dollar Coin Value (Regular Strike,Proof & Error Coins)

Jenson Cambell

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The 1851 Seated Liberty Dollar is the rarest coin in the Seated Liberty Dollar (1840-1873) series. Only a few coins survived and most sell for a thousand dollars in auctions.

Aside from that, this 19th-century coin only has one variety, making it highly valuable among collectors. (Well, that is if we don’t consider the 1851-O Silver Dollar Coin). Now—to further gauge its worth today, we’ll tackle all the valuable price information for the 1851 Silver Dollar, including the error coins.

1851 Seated Liberty Dollar Price Chart Summary

Here’s a quick overview of the 1851 regular strike and proof coins silver dollars.

Grade 1851 Regular Strike Dollar 1851 Proof Dollar
Choice About Uncirculated (AU55) $34,000 /
Choice About Uncirculated (AU58) $36,500 /
Uncirculated (MS60) $39,000-$47,500 $22,000-$27,500
Choice Uncirculated (MS63) $52,500-$75,000 $39,000-$45,000
Gem Uncirculated (MS65) $150,000 $80,000

1851 Silver Dollar History

1851 Silver Dollar History

The Philadelphia, Carson City, New Orleans, and San Francisco Mints were all responsible for minting the Seated Liberty dollars. However, the Philadelphia Mint was the only one that produced these silver coins in 1851—striking roughly 1,375 pieces of regular strike and proof coins combined. But there’s a rational explanation for why this silver denomination reduced in number.

In 1851, silver rapidly rose to the point where it was worth several cents more than its face value. With such occurrence, experts believed that many 1840-1850-dated coins only saw destruction—exported or melted.

To prevent the 1851 silver dollar from having the same fate, they withdrew it from circulation and kept it in the Mint. Experts speculated the coins only left the facility after a year or two in exchange for bullion deposits.

1851 Silver Dollar Physical Characteristics

  • Category: Seated Liberty Dollar 1840-1873
  • Face Value: One Dollar
  • Metal Composition: 90% Silver, 10% Copper
  • Weight: 26.73 grams
  • Diameter: 31.10 millimeters
  • Edge: Reeded

1851 Silver Dollar obverse feature

The 1851 Silver Dollar was designed by Christian Gobrecht—the 3rd chief engraver of the U.S. Mint. On the obverse side, he showcased the Liberty sitting on a rock while holding a pole with a small Liberty Cap. On her left arm is a Union shield with the word LIBERTY inscribed. Additionally, 13 stars are on the top, with the mint year engraved at the bottom.

1851 Silver Dollar reverse feature

On the reverse side is the “sandwich board” bird with a shield on its breast and arrows on its claws. The word UNITED STATES OF AMERICA arcs on top with the coin denomination at the bottom. However, the 1851 Silver dollar does not have the typical motto engraved.

1851 Seated Liberty Dollar Valuation

Philadelphia minted 1,375 pieces of 1851 Seated Liberty dollars, making it the lowest among the 1840-1873 series. But despite the lower quantity, its quality is excellent because they only used one pair for this production. A few would sport fainty-prooflike fields, while many have frosty characteristics.

According to PCGS, the 1851 Philadelphia Mint silver dollar is the rarest in the Liberty series (1840-1873). Currently, there are only 275 examples, considering all grades. But to be more specific, there are 35 known examples from MS60 to MS64 and only one known specimen for MS65 and above.

Grade 1851 Regular Strike Dollar Value
Choice About Uncirculated (AU55) $34,000
Choice About Uncirculated (AU58) $36,500
Uncirculated (MS60) $39,000
Uncirculated (MS61) $40,000
Uncirculated (MS62) $47,500
Choice Uncirculated (MS63) $52,500-$65,000
Choice Uncirculated (MS64) $75,000
Gem Uncirculated (MS65) $150,000

The numismatic value of a circulated 1851 silver dollar is $34,000 to $36,500. However, it can reach a tremendous $150,000 for uncirculated conditions in the open market.

Now, it’s no question if it reaches an overwhelming high sales price during auctions. For example, an 1851 MS63 silver dollar was sold for a staggering $76,375 by Legend Rare Coin Auctions. An MS64 also closely follows with a sale price of $70,500 sold by Heritage Auctions.

1851 Proof Seated Liberty Dollar Valuation

1851 Proof Seated Liberty Dollar value
1851 Proof Silver Dollar

1851 proof silver dollar was not actually minted in its year of issue. It only appeared in the mid-late 1850s after coin collecting became popular in the U.S. There is no exact date when it was minted, but there are speculations that the Mint employees released a few 1851 proof dollars around 1858 until the late 1870s.

Osborn Cushing Numismatics estimated that there were 75 pieces of 1851 Proof Silver Dollar, with only 45 examples known to survive. Gem conditions are extremely rare, while most show a Cameo contrast. But to be exact, there are only three known PF60 conditions and above, according to PCGS.

Grade 1851 Proof Dollar 1851 Proof CA Dollar
PR-60 $22,000 /
PR-61 $23,500 /
PR-62 $27,500 $28,500
PR-63 $39,000 $40,000
PR-64 $45,000 $79,500
PR-65 $80,000 $115,000

An 1851 Proof Seated Liberty silver dollar is worth around $22,000 to $80,000. But those with cameo contrast can fetch up to $115,000.

The first appearance of this variety in an auction was in 1859, and the finest known specimen of this coin was graded PF65CA by PCGS. However, the highest recorded sale for this is an 1851 Restrike PR62 sold for an astonishing $161,000 by Goldberg Auctioneers. Another coin closely follows with a grade of PR66 Cameo, selling for $149,500 through Heritage Auctions.

1851-O Proof Silver Dollar

1851-O Proof Silver Dollar
1851 $1 Restrike Over O Mint (Proof)

With coins dated all the way back to the 19th century, it is hard to keep all the precise details for each coin denomination. An example of this is the lesser-known 1851-O Silver Dollar.

The U.S. Mint considered it authentic, and experts believed it could be a human error that resulted in a coin rarity. The “O” mintmark is not very detailed, as whoever made it attempted to remove it.

Another possibility discussed is that the coin came from the New Orleans Mint and was overstruck mistakenly as an 1851-O Proof Dollar. Although the said Mint did not produce 1851 silver dollars.

Based on PCGS, two notable 1851-O Restrike Silver Dollar were sold at a premium price. The highest is an 1851-O PR62, sold for an astounding $325,000. The other record was similarly a PR62,sold for $276,000 by Goldberg Auctioneers.

Are There 1851 Seated Liberty Error Coins?

Searching for an 1851 Seated Liberty error coin sold online is impossible today. But if you’re eying one from known collectors, better prepare folds as it sells for a high premium.

Most of these coins are of high-struck quality and kept in good condition. Although there are a few with minimal Mint error—sometimes collector’s error—that we found sold by different auction firms.

High Grade 1851 Seated Dollar—With Noticeable Clash marks Sold for $32,300

High Grade 1851 Seated Dollar With Noticeable Clash marks

Some coins from the original business strike 1851 production have noticeable clash mark errors. An example is this MS60 1851 Cleaned Seated Dollar with clash marks on the right arm of the Liberty. Additionally, this coin developed a softly tinted shine with a more muted hue—when away from the light source—because of previous cleaning.

But still, it has sharp features and has no dramatic contact marks. That’s why it sold for $32,300 during the New York Auction Sale by Heritage Auction.

1851 Silver Dollar AU58—With Die Crack Sold For $31,725

1851 Silver Dollar AU58 With Die Crack

Here we have an About Uncirculated 1851 Seated Liberty Dollar with several errors on each side. Starting with the obverse: the date has a noticeable misalignment, as the first number 1 has less space from Liberty’s rock.

Meanwhile, the second number 1 dips downhill, making it appear larger than the other. Lastly, there is a Florida-shaped clash mark near the right arm of Liberty. On the reverse side, there are faint die cracks on the top left of the word UNITED, and the other is below the word ONE.

This near-mint state coin was sold for $31,725 by Stack’Bowers in 2021.

Prooflike 1851 Silver Dollar MS62—Multiple Error Sold For $34,615

Prooflike 1851 Silver Dollar MS62 with Multiple Error

Here is an example of an 1851 silver dollar coin with doubling and die crack error. Look closely at the photo—you’ll notice a faint doubling above the numbers 5 and 1. On the reverse side, there are two subtle yet visible cracks. The first is from the base of the O in ONE, and the other is atop the ED in UNITED.

This MS62 has a few scuffs, preventing it from getting a higher grade. But still, it sold for a tremendous $34,615 by Heritage Auctions in 2009.

1851 Seated Dollar MS64 Rartiy—With Die Cracks Sold For $51,175

1851 Seated Dollar MS64 Rartiy With Die Cracks

This coin is minimally toned with several striations on the field (as a result of polishing after getting struck). Unlike the others, this only has two minimal die cracks on the reverse side. The first is on the lower rim through the O, and the other from the edge through the U.

This rarity sold for $51,175 by Heritage Auctions during the 2001 Atlanta, GA Signature Sale.

1851 Uncirculated Silver Dollar—Improperly Cleaned Sold for $29,375

1851 Uncirculated Silver Dollar with Improperly Cleaned

Here is a medium champagne-gray 1851 dollar that shows signs of previous cleaning—although not significantly so. The coin is part of the regular strike production as the inscribed year is close to the seated Liberty emblem.

But what makes this coin so valuable—aside from being rare—is the preserved Mint frost on the eagle’s feathers. It stands out in the aging field and makes it more appealing to anyone.

This coin was sold during the 2012 Baltimore Auction by Stack’s Bowers for $29,375.

1851 Dollar Coin Value chart

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