Enabling legislation: Act of January 18, 1837 (weight and fineness); Act of March 3, 1865 (motto)
Designer of obverse: Robert Ball Hughes (after Gobrecht)
Designer of reverse: J.B. Longacre (after Hughes and Reich)
Weight and composition: 412.5 grains; .900 silver, . 100 copper
Melt-down (silver value) in year minted: $1.024 Dies prepared: Obverse: Unknown; Reverse: Unknown
Business strike mintage: 423,700; Delivery figures by day: February 6: 4,500; February 18: 11,000; March 2: 12,000; March 5: 10,000; March 10: 14,900; March 26: 16,700; May 6: 14,800;June 24: 8,800; July 6: 12,000; July 13: 14,700; July 15: 10,400; August 27: 16,000; August 28: 9,000; September 1: 14,800; September 6: 4,300; September 22: 15,700; September 28: 7,300; October 14: 10,000; October 15: 12,000; October 18: 16,000; October 19: 11,000; October 29: 29,000; November 11: 11,000; November 13: 10,000; November 15: 10,000; November 19: 13,000; November 22: 9,000; November 29: 12,500; December 10: 4,000; December 15: 11,000; December 20: 14,900; December 28: 15,000; December 29: 15,000; December 30: 12,000; December 31: 11,400.
Estimated quantity melted: Unknown
Approximate population MS-65 or better: 4 to 8 (URS-3)
Approximate population MS-64: 8 to 12 (URS-4)
Approximate population MS-63: 12 to 20 (URS-5)
Approximate population MS-60 to 62: 15 to 25 (URS-5)
Approximate population VF-20 to AU-58: 260 to 400 (URS-10)
Characteristics of striking: Varies; obverse often sharp; reverse often with slight weakness at top of shield and top of eagle's dexter wing.
Known hoards of Mint State coins: None (except for unsubstantiated boast of one Mint bag)
Dies prepared: Obverse: 3; Reverse: 2.
Proof mintage: 600; delivery dates: February 1: 100 delivered; February 18: 200; March 10: 50; March 26: 50; May 12: 50; July 12: 50; October 8: 100.
Approximate population Proof-65 or better: 42+/- (URS-7)
Approximate population Proof-64: 100+/- (URS-8)
Approximate population Proof-63: 87+/- (URS-8)
Approximate population Proof-60 to 62: 170+/- (URS-9)
1869 silver dollars are rare today despite their relatively high mintage. This date is especially elusive in Mint State.
Director Pollock Comments (The Mint directorships of Pollock and Linderman were intertwined during this era. Terms were as follows:James Pollock, May 1861 to September 1866; William Millward, October 1866 to April 1867 (he was not confirmed by Congress); Dr. Henry Richard Linderman, April 1867 to April 1869; Pollock again, May 1869 to March 1873; Linderman again, April 1873 to December 1878.) In the Annual Report of the Director of the Mint, 1869, Director Pollock noted that specie payments were still under suspension, and that gold and silver both traded at a premium in relation to paper notes. He then proposed the following:
"Now if we reduce the weight of our silver coins so that their intrinsic value shall be below the market rate of silver bullion, make the legal tender of small extent, and guard by express Act of Congress against an over issue, we shall have a silver currency substituted for the flimsy paper of the denominations less than one dollar."
Toward this end, he had pattern silver coins prepared in the denominations of 10-cents, 25-cents, and 50-cents, of lower weight, called Standard Silver issues, (These lightweight coins had the inscription STANDARD SILVER on the coins and are not to be confused with the generic term "standard silver" often used for regular silver dollars of the era.) but nothing became of the proposal, nor was it his intention to extend it to the dollar denomination. Pattern dollars of 1869 having STANDARD 1 DOLLAR (or STANDARD SILVER 1 DOLLAR) as the reverse denomination, listed by Adams-Woodin as their No. 863, incompletely described following R. Coulton Davis' listing, have never turned up.
"1869-S" Dollars Contemplated
Four pairs of obverse dies were shipped to San Francisco but no 1869-8 coins resulted.
The Year 1869 in History
On May 10, 1869 at Promontory Point, Utah, railroad tracks from the East met those from the West, and the Union Pacific and Central Pacific railroads joined to complete the transcontinental rail link, thus rendering obsolete the passage from New York to California by way of Panama. The trip from New York City to San Francisco could thereafter be made in only eight days. A cog railway up Mt. Washington in New Hampshire was completed and would operate continuously from that time on, taking tourists to the top of the most prominent peak in its area. The HJ. Heinz Company and the Campbell Soup Company were founded.
Susan B. Anthony started the Woman's Suffrage Association and campaigned for the right for women to vote, The year before, she had founded the Revolution, a newspaper with the motto "Men, their rights and nothing more; women, their rights and nothing-less." The Wyoming Territory, newly formed, gave women the right to vote and hold public office.
The first of several notable "black days" in financial history occurred on Wall Street on "Black Friday," September 24, 1869, which saw many speculators ruined. Jay Gould, James Fisk, and others, one of whom was President U.S. Grant's brother-in-law, attempted to corner the' market on gold. They drove the price up to $162 per ounce, at which point Secretary of the Treasury George Boutwell began to sell government gold holdings to drive down the price.
The Cincinnati Red Stockings, the first professional baseball team, had an undefeated season by winning 56 games and tying one. The first intercollegiate football game, with 25 men per team, was held on November 6th between Rutgers and Princeton, with Rutgers the winner.
A huge petrified figure said to be of a prehistoric human, the so-called Cardiff Giant, was "found" at Cardiff, New York. Various authorities pronounced it to be genuine, and thousands paid to see it, before it was exposed as a modern hoax. Gypsy moths were imported into the United States by a well-meaning entrepreneur who hoped they would be the nucleus for a native silk industry. As with many importations of foreign species, the results were disastrous.
The director of the Mint was Henry Richard Linderman of Pennsylvania, who took office in April 1867 and continued through April 1869. From May 1869 through March 1873 James Pollock, who earlier served May 1861 through September 1866, was in office. James B. Longacre, chief engraver since 1844, died on New: Year's Day and was succeeded in the post by William Barber, who would serve until 1879. At the Mint many sets of Standard Silver patterns were made in the dime, quarter, and half dollar denominations, each in silver, copper, and aluminum, with plain and reeded edges, either for Pollock or Linderman or both.