1859 LIBERTY SEATED 10C, DRAPERY PR67
GEM PROOF. GREAT COLOR. TIED FOR HIGHEST AT PCGS. CAC.
NGC Graded Higher:
Three short years after the arrows that prompted consumers of a lessened silver weight in coins were taken off, mint officials believed the ten-cent coin needed another change. The desire for change was partially due to strike difficulties from the previous designs intricacy and detail especially on the wreath. The ten-cent coin had already received three minor but noticeable changes classified as: no stars, no drapery, drapery, and date arrows. This 1859 dime was nearly right in the middle of change which included the drapery that was added in 1840 just under the left arm and the stars on the obverse. The full design change, though drawn up this year, would not take effect until 1860 but there was an additional series of this coin struck which is now called “the coin without a country.” This design, minted at the Philadelphia mint featured the new cereal wreath reverse and the star obverse but no mention of the country. Though the star obverse would come to be the staple of the seated liberty design, this 1859 coin would be the final year these stars graced the front of the coin. Regardless of the frequent evolution, dimes remained a key player in mid-nineteenth century economics which was clearly reflected in its mint numbers. Often minted in the high hundred thousands to the millions which compiled to a total of fifty-six million by the end of the series, the ten-cent coin was certainly a frequent go to. High demand meant high usage, which makes these coins relatively common in good to extremely fine condition, almost uncirculated to uncirculated coins are harder to come by, but proofs are the scarcest condition to come by.
1859 may have been the end for the star obverse Seated Liberty design on the dime, but it was just the beginning of conflict and true industry. Some could argue that 1859 was the true start of the Civil War conflict that would officially start in 1861, especially if abolitionist John Brown’s plans had gone as intended. As an abolitionist, John Brown believed that the only way to truly abdicate slavery was through armed and violent insurrection rather than the pacifist approach the anti-slavery party maintained. Fed up and tired of the slow process, John Brown decided it was his time for action on October 16, 1859. With an army of twenty-one men behind him, Brown stormed the United States’ Armory in Harper’s Ferry, Virginia (in today’s West Virginia) which he hoped would create a ripple effect of uprising in surrounding areas. Unfortunately, this was not the case and after two days of revolt federal troops led by the then Colonel Robert E. Lee killed several of Brown’s men, took Brown hostage, and took the armory back. While Brown’s intentions may have been pure hearted, the method he chose to handle it was high treasonous and was therefore hanged on December 2nd.
On the brighter side of 1859, the newly established Seneca Oil Company out of Philadelphia heard news of potential oil deposits outside of Titusville, PA. Without a way to drill for oil yet, the company hired a retire railway conductor to investigate the area. Edwin L. Drake would become the first to successfully drill oil later that year with an old steam engine which catalyzed the commercial oil market that has evolved into what we know today.