The four San Francisco “stars obverse” Liberty Seated Dimes dated 1856, 1858, 1859, and 1860 (Buy on eBay) all have low mintages and are considered rare. This is especially the case in higher grades due to the extensive circulation of these issues.
The San Francisco Mint had opened in 1854, after five years of private gold coin production by various mints in the gold rush area of California. In addition to striking gold coins, the new branch mint would also undertake limited production of silver coins to meet the needs for smaller circulating coins within the region.
The 1856-S Liberty Seated Dime had a mintage of 70,000, followed the 1858-S and 1859-S dimes with mintages of 60,000 each, and the 1860-S dime with a higher mintage at 140,000. These relatively low mintages went overlooked at the time and each of the issues circulated quite heavily. At the time there were few coin collectors active on the west coast, and east coast collectors paid little attention to mint marks. Given these circumstances, the survival rate for high grade examples of these issues is extremely low.
Each of these issues carries a premium across all grade levels. The premiums expand significantly for coins in high grades. The 1858-S and 1859-S dimes are scarcest and most valuable issues in mint state.
- Designer: Christian Gobrecht
- Composition: 90% Silver, 10% Copper
- Weight: 2.49 grams
- Diameter: 17.9 mm
- Edge: Reeded