In 1864, President Lincoln received a telegram from General Sherman. The message read, “"I beg to present to you, as a Christmas gift, the city of Savannah with 150 guns and plenty of ammunition." This 1864 silver dollar recalls the completion of General Sherman’s famous March to the Sea.
Beginning in 1840, the United States Mint struck Silver Dollars for commercial use in large quantities for the fist time since the early 19th century. That year also marks the beginning of the Seated Dollar series, a type whose basic design closely resembles that of the 1836-1839 Gobrecht Dollar series. The Seated Dollar, however, displays several minor differences in the obverse portrait, these being attributed to the Philadelphia artist Robert Ball Hughes. The reverse of the Seated Dollar is markedly different than that of the Gobrecht Dollar, the former coin adopting the traditional spread-wing eagle with shield in conformity with the Seated Quarter and Seated Half Dollar. From 1840 through 1865, the Seated Dollar did not include the motto IN GOD WE TRUST as part of the reverse design.
Through 1849 (and perhaps as late as 1852) Seated Dollars were struck at the request of bullion depositors who wanted their silver struck into coins of this denomination. From 1853 through the series' end in 1873, Silver Dollars were struck on government account.
The years 1850-1853 form a convenient dividing point in the No Motto Seated Dollar series as far as distribution and rarity analysis are concerned. Issues delivered prior to 1850 circulated widely within the borders of the United States, and numismatists will find that worn examples are quite easy to obtain in today's market. Mint State coins from the 1840s, however, are rare as few were deliberately set aside at the time of striking.
Beginning in 1850, rising silver prices had a profound effect on the Silver Dollar. At first, the Mint limited mintages in the face of widespread hoarding and mass destruction at the hands of bullion dealers. No Motto Seated Dollar issues from 1853-1865 posted more-or-less greater mintage figures, but these coins probably saw very little domestic circulation. Indeed, numismatic scholars believe that the federal government used these coins in export trade, where they served as a sort of precursor to the Trade Dollar. Primarily for these reasons, buyers will find that business strike Silver Dollars dated 1850-1865 are scarce-to-rare in both circulated and Mint State grades. This is particularly true for the 1850-O, 1859-S and all of the P-mint deliveries from that era. The 1859-O and 1860-O are notable exceptions in that they are fairly easy to obtain at most levels of preservation. We believe that many examples of these New Orleans Mint issues entered domestic circulation after 1873. Additionally, the Treasury Department's Silver Dollar releases of 1962-1964 included several 1,000-coin bags of Uncirculated 1859-O and 1860-O Seated Dollars.