duckor collection Gold Dollars Liberty Head Gold San Francisco Mint Simpson Collection SS Central America Steve Duckor

The Liberty Head Gold Coins of San Francisco: The Gold Dollar

By Doug Winter – ……

CoinWeek Content Associate ……

Only seven gold dollars have been made on the San Francisco Mint, however a minimum of three design varieties are represented; this consists of two one-year varieties. The three varieties are as follows:

  • Sort One: 1854 only
  • Sort Two: 1856 only
  • Sort Three: 1857 by means of 1860 and 1870

This can be a well-liked set with collectors given the fact that it is brief and completable. Decrease finances units might be assembled with the cash within the EF-AU, vary while collectors with larger budgets can concentrate on Uncirculated units with the cash grading MS62 to MS65.

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  • Complete Minted: 14,632
  • Estimated Survivors: 250-350+
  • Rarity Ranking: 6th of 7

The 1854-S gold dollar is doubly fashionable as the first gold greenback made on the newly opened San Francisco Mint and as a one-year sort.

1854-S $1.00 PCGS MS64 CAC. Image courtesy Doug Winter Numismatics

1854-S $1.00 PCGS MS64 CAC. Photographs courtesy Douglas Winter Numismatics (DWN)

This can be a very well-made problem that sometimes is seen with a superb strike, good luster, and selection planchets. The natural colour is a rich orange-gold with rose undertones while the luster could be very frosty.

It is doubtless that 1854-S gold dollars have been saved as souvenirs and this date is extra plentiful in Uncirculated than one may anticipate. There are at the very least 4 to 5 dozen in Uncirculated with most of these within the MS60 to MS63 range. I consider that there are round six or seven correctly graded MS64s, and I’m aware of only one Gem, a PCGS/CAC MS65+ that was last bought as part of the Duckor Assortment within the 2015 Heritage ANA public sale at a record-setting $56,400 USD.

Lower price range sets should concentrate on a nice AU, which ought to be out there for lower than $2,00Zero. Greater price range sets may concentrate on an MS64, which ought to value within the $12,500-15,00Zero vary; these are uncommon but are usually provided on the market round once yearly or so.


  • Complete Minted: 24,600
  • Estimated Survivors: 300-400+
  • Rarity Ranking: seventh of 7

The 1856-S gold dollar is another numismatically vital gold greenback from San Francisco as it is the only Sort Two situation from this facility.

1856-S $1.00 PCGS AU55+ CAC. Image courtesy Doug Winter Numismatics

1856-S $1.00 PCGS AU55+ CAC

This problem shouldn’t be quite as well-struck because the 1854-S, however it’s better produced than the Southern Sort Two gold dollars (particularly the 1855-C and the 1855-D) which might be sometimes characterized by very unfavourable eye attraction. The natural shade is a deep green-gold but higher-grade pieces are more likely to show wealthy rose-gold and orange hues. The luster is slightly grainy in texture.

There have been at the very least 18 Uncirculated 1856-S gold dollars discovered within the second salvage of the SS Central America, together with a small number of Gems. Prior to this, the finest recognized was a PCGS/CAC MS64 from the Duckor Assortment, which bought for $44,650.

Collectors shouldn’t pay a premium for the 1856-S/S variety that’s truly extra widespread than the traditional mintmark. It has a low population but this is because of its new acceptance by PCGS as a spread.

Lower-budget units ought to give attention to a pleasant AU which is accessible for $3,000 or so. Larger-budget sets may concentrate on an MS62, which can value around $15,000-17,500. High-grade SSCA 1856-S gold dollars have trickled into the market and a PCGS/CAC MS64+ simply introduced a robust $88,125 as Legend 5/19: 482.


  • Complete Minted: 10,00Zero
  • Estimated Survivors: 150-175
  • Rarity Rating: 2nd of 7

The 1857-S introduces the 5 Sort Three gold dollars from San Francisco. It is the second rarest in general rarity (after the 1870-S) however it is the rarest in Uncirculated. This can be a legitimately uncommon challenge in excessive grades with fewer than 10 recognized in Mint State, and almost all in the decrease range of this grade. The best graded is a single PCGS MS64 and one of the best I have ever seen is the Bass 2: 121 coin, graded MS63, that introduced $16,100 in October 1999.

1857-S $1.00 PCGS AU58 CAC. Image courtesy Doug Winter Numismatics

1857-S $1.00 PCGS AU58 CAC

The strike within reason sharp although many pieces show some weak spot on the 85 within the date while others are weak on the ICA in AMERICA. Only a few exist with unique shade and such cash command vital premiums.

This date is far undervalued in nice AU grades with examples out there for lower than $2,00Zero. Larger-grade sets will find the 1857-S to be difficult, and I haven’t seen a nice PCGS-graded Uncirculated piece in a quantity of years.


  • Complete Minted: 10,000
  • Estimated Survivors: 175-200
  • Rarity Ranking: 3rd of 7

The 1858-S gold dollar has the exact same mintage figure as the 1857-S but it’s slightly more out there in terms of general rarity. Additionally it is a very uncommon situation in Uncirculated with fewer than 10 presently recognized. There is a single Gem recognized (graded MS65 by PCGS/CAC) which is in the Simpson Collection and the Duckor coin, graded MS64 by PCGS/CAC is the second best.

1858-S $1.00 PCGS AU58 CAC. Images courtesy Doug Winter Numismatics

1858-S $1.00 PCGS AU58 CAC

The 1858-S dollar sometimes has some weak spot in the hair however the general strike is above average. Larger-grade pieces are very frosty with rich yellow-gold and orange colour. This date just isn’t typically seen with unique shade and choice surfaces but it’s slightly simpler to find selection than the 1857-S.

As with the 1857-S, the 1858-S gold greenback is very undervalued in good AU grades and a really presentable example can still be situated for $2,000 or much less. Larger-grade examples are provided at a price of perhaps one or two per yr, and a PCGS MS61 will value around $5,00Zero. An MS62 will run around $8,000-9,00Zero.


  • Complete Minted: 10,00Zero
  • Estimated Survivors: 200-250
  • Rarity Rating: 4th of 7

This is the third consecutive San Francisco gold greenback with a mintage of 10,00Zero. The 1859-S is slightly extra out there than the 1857-S and the 1858-S but it’s also rare in Uncirculated. Fewer than a dozen Mint State pieces are presently recognized, with most within the MS60 to MS62 range. I have personally handled only one in MS63, and the best I’m conscious of is a PCGS MS64, which brought $17,00Zero in the March 2005 ANR sale.

1859-S $1.00 NGC AU55 CAC. Images courtesy Doug Winter Numismatics

1859-S $1.00 NGC AU55 CAC

The strike tends to be a bit of weaker than on the previous two points and there’s typically blurriness on the OLL in DOLLAR. The tops of some of the letters in AMERICA might present weak spot as nicely. The pure colour is a rich orange-gold hue and only a small quantity of 1859-S dollars haven’t been scrubbed or altered. The luster is frosty with a barely totally different texture than that seen on the 1857-S or the 1858-S.

A pleasant AU can still be situated for beneath $2,000, which I really feel is superb worth given the shortage of this challenge. The greatest out there quality caps out at around MS62 and, if obtainable, such a coin should value around $7,500.


  • Complete Minted: 13,00Zero
  • Estimated Survivors: 225-275
  • Rarity Ranking: 5th of 7

The 1860-S is barely extra out there than the 1857-S, 1858-S, and 1859-S gold dollars. In Uncirculated it is extremely scarce however as many as 15-20 exist, making it more obtainable than the previous three issues. It’s also extra out there in MS63 and MS64 than these three points, which are primarily non-existent. The best recognized is a single PCGS/CAC MS65, which I bought privately to Steve Duckor in late 2013, and which later bought for $31,725 as Heritage 2015 ANA: 4260

1860-S $1.00 PCGS MS64. Images courtesy Doug Winter Numismatics

1860-S $1.00 PCGS MS64

This difficulty tends to be well-struck although some present weak spot on the highest of the eight within the date and the O in DOLLAR. The luster could be very frosty and is extra just like that seen on the 1859-S than on the 1857-S and the 1858-S. Unique high-grade items (of which not many are recognized) present wealthy orange-gold, rose, and green-gold hues.

Nice AU 1860-S gold dollars are extremely reasonably priced with examples still buying and selling for less than $1,500. An MS62 may be obtained for less than $four,000 and even an MS63 still sells for around $5,00Zero. I regard these as all being exceptional values, even when compared to the other Sort Three San Francisco gold dollars.


  • Complete Minted: three,000
  • Estimated Survivors: 125-150
  • Rarity Rating: 1st of 7

The grade distribution of this date is totally totally different than for the opposite Sort Three San Francisco gold dollars. The 1870-S noticed little circulation and very few examples exist under AU55. The grade vary seen most often is MS61 to MS63 with MS64 examples being rare, and Gems being extremely uncommon. PCGS has graded a single coin MS66; it didn’t sell in a 2002 auction and it hasn’t been seen since.

Two Gems have bought in recent times: the Duckor coin–graded MS65 by PCGS/CAC–which brought $37,600 in 2015, and the Simpson coin–graded MS65+ by PCGS/CAC–which brought $42,300 later in 2015.

1870-S $1.00 PCGS MS63 CAC. Images courtesy Doug Winter Numismatics

1870-S $1.00 PCGS MS63 CAC

The 1870-S is a well-struck problem that is absolutely outlined on the centers and the borders. The colour tends to be reddish-gold or orange-gold, however many cash are shiny and lack character from having been dipped. The luster is somewhat reflective with a a lot totally different texture than these seen on the opposite Sort Three points from this mint. Many 1870-S gold dollars show die striations on the reverse which are mint-made.

Reasonably priced examples are actually arduous to locate on account of the fact that this date is the rarest San Francisco gold greenback and, as I discussed, it is virtually by no means seen under AU55. A pleasant slider ought to value round $three,000, whereas a higher-grade collection would doubtless concentrate on an MS63 at around $7,000 or an MS64 at around $12,000.

The short-lived San Francisco gold greenback set could be very completable and it’s fascinating on account of its inclusion of three distinct varieties. It makes for a great introduction to San Francisco gold coinage.

Half Two in this function on San Francisco gold coinage will cover the fascinating quarter eagles, constructed from 1854 by way of 1879.

Doug Winter Numismatics, specialists in U.S. gold coins

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About Doug Winter

Doug_Winter2Doug has spent a lot of his life within the area of numismatics; beginning accumulating cash at the age of seven, and by the time he was 10 years previous, buying and selling coins at conventions within the New York City area.

In 1989, he founded Douglas Winter Numismatics, and his firm focuses on shopping for and selling selection and uncommon US Gold coins, especially US gold coins and all branch mint materials.

Recognized as one of the leading specialized numismatic companies, Doug is an award-winning writer of over a dozen numismatic books and the recognized professional on US Gold. His information and an exceptional eye for correctly graded and unique coins has made him one of probably the most respected figures in the numismatic group and a sought after vendor by collectors and buyers in search of professional personalised service, a select inventory of impeccable quality and truthful and trustworthy pricing. Doug can also be a serious purchaser of all US coins and is all the time trying to buy collections both giant and small. He might be reached at (214) 675-9897.

Doug has been a contributor to the Guidebook of United States Coins (also referred to as the “Redbook”) since 1983, Walter Breen’s Encyclopedia of United States and Colonial Coins, Q. David Bowers’ Encyclopedia of United States Silver Dollars and Andrew Pollock’s United States Sample and Associated Issues

In addition, he has authored 13 books on US Gold coins including:
  • Gold Coins of the New Orleans Mint: 1839-1909
  • Gold Coins of the Carson City Mint: 1870 – 1893
  • Gold Coins of the Charlotte Mint: 1838-1861
  • Gold Coins of the Dahlonega Mint 1838-1861
  • The United States $three Gold Pieces 1854-1889
  • Carson City Gold Coinage 1870-1893: A Rarity and Situation Census Replace
  • An Insider’s Information to Accumulating Sort One Double Eagles
  • The Connoisseur’s Information to United States Gold Coins
  • A Collector’s Guide To Indian Head Quarter Eagles
  • The Acadiana Assortment of New Orleans Coinage
  • Sort Three Double Eagles, 1877-1907: A Numismatic Historical past and Analysis
  • Gold Coins of the Dahlonega Mint, 1838-1861: A Numismatic Historical past and Evaluation
  • Sort Two Double Eagles, 1866-1876: A Numismatic Historical past and Analysis

Lastly, Doug is a member of nearly every main numismatic organization, professional commerce group and major coin affiliation within the US.