1870-S SILVER DOLLAR
PCGS No: 6965
Circulation strikes: none recorded, approximately 10 known
Designer: Christian Gobrecht
Diameter: 38.1 millimeters
Silver - 90%
Copper - 10%
Weight: 26.73 grams
(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
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,
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
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"
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Another example is believed
to be in the cornerstone of the San Francisco Mint building.
Sources and/or recommended
"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