1849 Liberty Seated Dime, PCGS Coin of the Month

1849 Liberty Seated Dime, PCGS PR66 obverse

The 1849 Liberty Seated Dime, PCGS PR66 is the Professional Grading Service’s (PCGS) Coin of the Month.

While several coins that debuted in the 20th century, including the Lincoln cent, Jefferson nickel, and Washington quarter have been in production for longer than the modern average human lifespan, the Liberty Seated dime remains one of the most enduring of all United States coins, having as one of the longest-running U.S. Mint coins, reigning for a respectable 55 years from 1837 through 1891. It also maintains a healthy collector base today – a remarkable feat given that relatively few U.S. coin series that were struck fully within the 19th century are collected by date and mintmark today, as the Liberty Seated dime is. Collectors also seek proof examples, and the 1849 Liberty Seated dime proofs keep even the most avid numismatists on their toes.

1849 Liberty Seated Dime, PCGS PR66 reverse

1849 Liberty Seated Dime Examples

Only four examples of this coin have been numismatically confirmed, and they each enjoy tremendous response in the marketplace on the rare occasion that they are offered for sale. The 1849-proof Liberty Seated dimes are not widely known outside the realm of series enthusiasts and U.S. coin historians who focus on this area of the hobby. Yet, demand is so great among the admirers of this sector of the numismatic canon that these specimens are never a challenging sale.

Droves of diehard Liberty Seated collectors drum up big numbers for pieces like these when they come across the auction floor, and that’s what happened here with this gorgeous coin graded by Professional Coin Grading Service in stunning Proof-66. It was offered by Stack’s Bowers Galleries on June 14, 2022, where it garnered a number of strong bids before going out the door for an incredible $69,000.

Coin Grading 

Grade refers to a coin’s level of preservation: how many nicks or scratches or other imperfections it has. Coins are graded on a scale of one to 70, with higher numbers signifying higher grades.  One represents a coin that is so well worn that it’s barely identifiable as to its type. 70 represents a perfect coin: a coin that when viewed under a five-power magnifying glass has no visible imperfections.

60 through 70 represent the Mint State (MS) grades. A coin graded MS-60 can have so many nicks and scratches and flaws that it might look as if Godzilla used it as a teething ring. MS-65 is the industry standard for “Gem.” MS-66 through MS-69 are near-flawless super-grade or wonder coin assignations. With each grade level above MS-66, the value might double or triple.

Grade names are used in addition to numerical grades. In ascending order, these word grades are About or Almost Good; Good; Very Good; Fine; Very Fine; Extra or Extremely Fine; About or Almost Uncirculated; and Mint State.

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