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Obverse of 1870-S Silver Dollar     Reverse of 1870-S Silver Dollar


PCGS No: 6965


Circulation strikes: none recorded, approximately 10 known
Proofs: 0

Designer: Christian Gobrecht

Diameter: 38.1 millimeters

Metal Content:
Silver - 90%
Copper - 10%

Weight: 26.73 grams

Edge: Reeded

Mintmark: "S" (for San Francisco) below the eagle on the reverse 

Unlisted in any Mint reports, the 1870-S Silver Dollar is one of the greatest American numismatic rarities.  Today, only a dozen or so examples are known, most of which are in circulated condition.  The 1870-S Silver Dollar was created under circumstances almost identical to those of the unique 1870-S Three Dollar gold piece dies for the two denominations were sent to the San Francisco Mint without mintmarks (the Philadelphia Mint made all of the dies for various mints, adding mintmarks before the dies were shipped).  As an emergency measure, the coiner of the San Francisco mint, J.B. Harmstead, added mintmarks to the reverse dies for the Silver Dollar and Three Dollar gold piece and struck off several of the former and perhaps one or two of the latter.  Only one Mint State example is known, a PCGS MS-62 from the James A. Stack collection.

PCGS has certified 3 1870-S Silver Dollars (1 AU-50, 1 AU-58, and 1 MS-62)

NGC has certified 4 1870-S Silver Dollars (VF, AU-50, AU-58, and MS-62)

Images courtesy of Stack's

Known examples:

1. The James A. Stack, Sr. Specimen (illustrated above)
Sold privately by Stack's in 1944 - Stack's " James A. Stack, Sr." 03/1995:212, $462,000.00 - Stack's "L.K. Rudolph" 05/2003:2136, $1,092,500.00 - The Legend Collection of Seated Liberty Dollars.  This coin was displayed, along with the unique 1870-S Half Dime and the unique 1870-S Three Dollar gold piece at the July 2005 ANA convention in San Francisco, CA.

2. The Norweb Family Specimen (NGC AU-58)
Bought by Ambassador R. Henry and Mrs. Emery May Norweb from Stack's sale of the Anderson-Dupont Collection, September 1954 - Bowers & Merena "Norweb" 11/1988:3825 - Jim Jessen

3. The Louis Eliasberg Specimen (NGC AU-50)
Stack's " George H. Hall" 05/1945 - B. Max Mehl "Will Neil" 06/1947:202 - Louis Eliasberg - Stack's and Bowers & Merena's "Eliasberg" 04/1997:2243, $264,000

4. The Ostheimer Family Specimen (PCGS EF-40, illustrated below)
Compton collection - M.H. Bolender -
Lester Merkin's " Ostheimer Collection" 09/1968:372 - Superior "Gilhousen Collection" 10/1973:1339, $62,500.00 - Superior "1975 ANA Convention"  08/1975:1125, $42,500.00 - various intermediaries - Bowers & Ruddy "1978 ANA Convention" 08/1978:1160, $39,600.00 - Kagin's "1983 ANA Convention" 08/1983:2707, $69,300.00 - advertised for sale by Phoenix Rare Coin Galleries in 07/1992 - Richmond collection - David Lawrence "Richmond II" 11/2004:1497 as NGC XF-40, unsold (despite a bid of $360,000)
PCGS Certificate 50246160

5. The David Queller Family Specimen
Numismatic Gallery "Menjou Collection" 06/1950:2181 - Abe Kosoff Fixed Price List 1955 - Stack's "Fairbanks Collection" 12/1960 - Stack's "Samuel Wolfson" 05/1963:1431 - Stack's "R.L. Miles, Jr. Collection 04/1969:1612, $19,500.00 - Stack's "Autumn Sale" 09/1978:345, $39,000.00.  The cataloguer of the Eliasberg collection added an earlier pedigree of Matthew Stickney - Col. E.H.R. Green (unconfirmed) - James Kelly - Jack Roe - James Kelly - Clint Hester or Charles M. Williams

6. The Amon Carter, Jr. Specimen (Very Fine)
B. Max Mehl's " Jerome Kern Collection" 05/1950:941 - Stack's "Amon Carter Collection" 01/1984:285, $46,750.00 - Stack's " L.R. French, Jr. Family Collection" 01/1989:56 - Stack's sale 11/1989:546.  The cataloguer of the Eliasberg collection added an earlier pedigree of Waldo Newcomer - B. Max Mehl - Col. E.H.R. Green - Burdette Johnson

7. The King Farouk Specimen
King Farouk of Egypt -
Sotheby's "Palace Collection" 02/1954:1676 - Conn & Whiteneck's "1960 ANA Sale" 1960:1168 - Kreisberg & Schulman's sale 04/1967:1253 - Stack's sale 03/1987:1203.  The cataloguer of the Eliasberg collection added an earlier pedigree of Norman Shultz sale 12/1935:1302 - B. Max Mehl

8. The F.C.C. Boyd Specimen (VF, tooled fields)
William Hesslein sale 12/1926:900, initials "F.H.I." in obverse fields - F.C.C. Boyd - Numismatic Gallery "F.C.C. Boyd Collection" 01/1945:271, initials now tooled off - Hollinbeck's "Southern Sale" 02/1951:1248 - New Netherlands' 39th Sale 11/1952:162 - Stack's "Empire Collection" 11/1957:1759 - Hollinbeck's sale 03/1964:519 - Hollinbeck's 274th Sale 11/1967:1152 - Stack's sale 06/1996:1940

9. The Eureka Specimen (Fine-Very Fine, scratched)
Found in Eureka, California prior to 1922 by a teenage boy - Steve
Ivy "Donovan II" 07/1978:1128, $32,000.00 - Paramount's session of Auction '85 07/1985:1270, $35,750.00.

10. The San Francisco Specimen
The cataloguer of the Eliasberg sale noted that this coin was seen in 1991 San Francisco area dealer Sam Frudakis, but that the coin was not authenticated at the time and it has not reappeared since.

11.  The San Francisco Cornerstone Specimen
Another example is believed to be in the cornerstone of the San Francisco Mint building.

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

"The PCGS Population Report, July 2005" by The Professional Coin Grading Service

"The NGC Census Report, April 2003" by the Numismatic Guaranty Corporation of America

1870-S Silver Dollar - Ostheimer Family