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Obverse of 1839 Silver Dollar     Reverse of 1839 Silver Dollar


1839 SILVER DOLLAR

PCGS No: 11444

Mintage:
Circulation strikes: 0
Proofs: estimated 300+

Designer: Obverse by Thomas Sully, reverse by Titian Peale, both executed by Christian Gobrecht

Diameter: 39 millimeters

Metal Content:
90% Silver
10% Copper

Weight: 412.5 grains (26.7 grams)

Edge: Reeded or Plain

Mintmark: None (all examples of this date were struck in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)

Images courtesy of Superior Stamp & Coin

Varieties:
Originals
  
No Stars on Reverse
       
Silver - Reeded edge - Judd 104
         Die Alignment I

Restrikes
No Stars on Reverse
       
Silver - Reeded edge - Judd 104
         Die Alignment II - unknown   
         Die Alignment III
         Die Alignment IV
       Silver - Plain edge - Judd 105
       Copper - Reeded edge - Judd 106
       Copper - Plain edge- Judd 107
   Starry Reverse
       Silver - Reeded edge - unlisted in Judd
       Silver - Plain edge - Judd 108
         Die Alignment III
       Copper - Reeded Edge - unknown
       Copper - Plain Edge - Judd 109

Significant examples:
NGC Proof-65.  ex - Superior Stamp & Coin's "Pre-Long Beach" sale, June 5-7, 2000, Lot 1609, "Deep steel and old-silver toning with the devices incredible for their sharpness."

Notes:
1839 saw the third consecutive year of issuance of the so-called Gobrecht Dollar.  Alas, it was also to be the last year for this majestic coin, for in 1840, the "flying eagle" reverse would be replaced with a more conservative eagle adapted from the gold coins of earlier years.

Should the 1839 Silver Dollars be considered patterns or regular issues?  Unlike the 1836 Silver Dollars, none were struck for circulation.  Many of the known 1839 Dollars are restrikes from later years.  Certainly, the number of Proofs struck seems inordinately large for the period, but it may be that demand for the new Silver Dollars was unusually high since none had been struck since 1803 (notwithstanding the unusual emission of 1804 Dollars in 1834)!

Surprising, isn't it, that the two foundations of our nation's monetary system - the Silver Dollar and the Eagle ($10) - were absent from the numismatic scene for over three decades, neither to re-appear again until the late 1830s.

The finest Proof examples graded by PCGS are 2 PR-63's.

Sources and/or recommended reading:
"Walter Breen's Complete Encyclopedia of U.S. and Colonial Coins" by Walter Breen

"The PCGS Population Report, October 2003" by The Professional Coin Grading Service

"United States Patterns and Related Issues" by Andrew W. Pollock III