According to Walter Breen (per Bowers, 1993), "… many earlier silver dollars had accumulated in the New York Sub-Treasury and were shipped to the Philadelphia Mint for melting and conversion into subsidiary coinage. This explains both the undue rarity of many dated 1848-1859 and a bullion source of much Philadelphia coinage from 1862-1865." The weight of LSD's was unaffected by The Coinage Act of 1853. However; the Act did reduce the silver weight of subsidiary half dime through half dollar coins by 6.9%. The new half dollar weighed 192 grains and contained 90% pure silver. This meant that two half dollars contained 345.6 grains or 0.72 troy ounces of pure silver. Since a LSD contained 0.77344 troy ounces of pure silver, businesses could make easy profits by melting down the dollar coins, and exporting the resulting bullion abroad. The result was a large number of silver dollars minted in the 1840’s and early 1850’s being melted and lost to commerce and eventually, collectors. Fortunately, the specimens in this collection have beaten the overwhelming odds against them and survived with their natural surfaces making them rare numismatic treasures.
There is disagreement among some of the most knowledgeable and esteemed numismatists regarding what happened to many of the original mintage of this series. Q. David Bowers believes that most Seated Liberty dollars produced after 1853 were shipped to China to pay for luxury goods, including tea and silk. R. W. Julian argued to the contrary, that continued production of the dollar had little to do with trade with the Orient (where goods were paid for in silver), suggesting instead that the coins were sent to the West for use there. Regardless of which theory you believe there is unanimous agreement that many coins have been melted, and this series contains many rare dates with very low survival rates, especially in higher grades.
The bill that became the Act of April 22, 1864 authorized the bronze cent and two-cent coins, the latter bearing the new motto. It did not reach the silver (25¢ to $1) and gold denominations ($5 to $20) until 1866, conforming to the Act of March 3, 1865. The motto was added on the ribbon or scroll above the eagle on the reverse of all LSD's beginning in 1866, with the exception of two proof examples dated 1866 with no motto.
Nearly all of the coins in this collection grade choice about uncirculated or uncirculated. The only exceptions are the 1871-CC and 1873-CC graded EF-45. Regardless of grade every specimen was methodically selected for its natural premium quality surfaces, and eye appeal. After nearly 30 years of collecting this series the challenge of acquiring new coins and improving each example continues to delight. Many examples have been upgraded multiple times. Forging friendships with fellow collectors and helping them build their collections has proven to be enjoyable and rewarding.