US Coins

Complete Seated Liberty dollar set in Legend auction

An MS-64 1850-O Seated Liberty dollar (left) and an 1870-S Seated Liberty dollar from the M&S Petty Seated Liberty Dollar Collection will be offered at Legend’s Regency 53 auction in Las Vegas.

All images courtesy of Legend Rare Coin Auctions.

Legend will offer a complete set of Seated Liberty silver dollars at its July 28 Regency 53 auction in Las Vegas.

The M&S Petty Collection began as a lightly circulated, Extremely Fine to About Uncirculated set of the series. It eventually turned in a complete set with many high-grade examples carrying famed pedigrees and some with Certified Acceptance Corp. approval.

The collection was put together by Ohio collector Stephen Petty who honors his son, Mark, in the collection’s name. Legend wrote, “It is very bittersweet to see this collection cross the block, but it is a lasting legacy for the Petty family in accomplishing something few collectors have: a complete set of Seated Liberty dollars.”

The most famed coin in the set is one of nine confirmed examples of the 1870-S Seated Liberty dollar, graded Genuine by Professional Coin Grading Service. It first appeared at auction in 1926 with the initials F.H.I. engraved in the field, and spent time in the F.C.C. Boyd Collection where it was offered at Numismatic Gallery’s sale of the World’s Greatest Collection in 1945, with the fields repaired and smoothed.

It most recently sold at a November 2009 Bowers and Merena auction, where it was purchased by this consignor.

It previously was offered at Stack’s 73rd Anniversary Sale, Oct. 22, 2008, where it sold for $120,750, then graded Very Fine 30 Details by ANACS, who noted “Repaired. Re-engraved.”

The 2008 cataloger wrote, “Close-in examination of the obverse shows obvious metal displacement between Liberty’s cap and foot on the viewer’s right and between the upper edge of the rock and star 7 on the viewer’s left side of the coin, with some porosity around Liberty’s head,” but summarized that overall, the coin “is above average in quality for a VF Liberty Seated dollar of any date; indeed, the overall reverse sharpness is easily of EF quality in this cataloguer’s eyes.”

They called it a “utilitarian example of one of the great rarities in any denomination or metal struck by the U.S. Mint, a date with no listed mintage figure and probably only produced to the tune of a dozen or slightly more pieces.”

The issue is joined with the 1870-S Seated Liberty half dime and the 1870-S Indian Head $3 coins as extremely rare issues with no contemporary Mint records to support their production.

The “affordable dollar” carries an estimate of $170,000 to $200,000, with Legend acknowledging, “While the problems are easily evident, the eye appeal is actually quite pleasing, considering the flaws. Indeed, these flaws add to the history of this LEGENDARY RARITY!”

Considering that the next-finest is graded Very Fine 25 by PCGS and sold for $705,698 in 2008, Legend warns bidders, “This example is likely the only ’70-S dollar that could be had for under that $500,000 level.” 

Top-quality 1850-O dollar

In contrast with the damaged 1870-S dollar in the Petty consignment, the collection’s 1850-O Seated Liberty dollar is perhaps the finest-known of the popular New Orleans Mint issue. Graded Mint State 64 by PCGS with a green CAC sticker, it is from a low mintage of 40,000 pieces, and most survivors, of which there might be as many as 1,500, are in low grades.

Legend cites Paramount’s 1979 catalog description of the offered dollar in an era before third-party grading where it was graded “Gem Uncirculated 65.” That cataloger praised a bold strike and “beautiful iridescent greenish gold, grey, violet and blue toning.”

It was last offered at an August 2013 Stack’s Bowers Galleries auction in the same PCGS holder, where it sold for $105,750. The color, then largely unchanged from the 1979 offering, was described as: “Rich teal, lemon, and russet toning graces the entire obverse and reverse, toning that takes many years to form, and accents the luster beneath and enhances the devices.”

At Legend it carries an estimate of $120,000 to $140,000 and is one of two certified in this grade at PCGS with none finer.

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