1860-O






General Comments


1860-O is one of the two most-available dates in the Liberty Seated Dollar series (the other is 1859-O), not because their mintages are the highest, but because of the release of coins from the treasury hoard in the early 1960’s. Dave Bowers cites many estimates of the coins released (reference 4). We can summarize the situation by saying that as many as 7,000 1860-O coins were released, and that the ratio of 1860-O dated coins to those of 1859-O is about 2:1. Additionally Dave relates several stories of releases of roll or bag quantities earlier in the 20th century, prior to the larger treasury release. As a result, mint state examples are extremely common. We estimate that approximately 10,000 examples exist today in all grades, and that as many as 7,000 of these came from treasury releases in the 20th century. However, since most of the coins had been kept in bags for nearly 100 years the average mint state grade is low. Very few coins from the treasury hoard reached even the MS63 level.

Very choice and gem coins are as rare as most other dates in the series. The finest known are three MS66 examples, all graded by NGC. Another 17 coins have received a MS65 grade, 9 at PCGS and 8 at NGC. Two of the PCGS coins received a MS65+ and are the finest graded by that service. Several of these coins are almost certainly re-submissions, trying to get one of the MS65 coins upgraded to join the “finest known” list. An additional 56 coins have received a MS64 grade, 27 at PCGS and 29 at NGC (statistics are as of January, 2017).







Mintage 515,000
Proof mintage None
Mintage ranking 45th
Finest known MS66
Known obverse dies 4
Known reverse dies 6
Known die marriages 10
Most common die marriage OC-2/ R1
Rarest die marriage OC-10/ R6-
Below MS64 the population explodes. Nearly 1200 coins have been graded in the MS60-MS63 range. As noted many of these are heavily bag-marked and therefore not particularly attractive. But if you want a NO MOTTO type coin at the lowest possible price 1859-O and 1860-O are the years to go after. You’ll have a wide range of choices at any large coin show.

1860-O examples are usually well struck. In fact, if strike is one of your strong interests, this and the 1859-O are among the best dates in the series for finding examples that are sharply struck. It seems to be the rule rather than the exception. We’ve seen a few examples that display softness on the right-side stars, including several MS64 and MS65 coins, but it’s almost tougher to find a coin that displays a weak strike than to find one that’s well-defined. Similarly, we’ve seen a few that show some flatness on the eagle’s left talon, but only a few. This is one of the few dates that almost never shows weakness on the upper left edge of the eagle’s wing. They may be common, but at least you can find them well struck!

1860-O surfaces are usually frosty. They can be found prooflike, but with a large mintage spread among the ten die pairs identified so far, the runs were long enough that most of the coins exhibit frosty surfaces.

1860-O Die Marriages


Four obverse dies were paired with six reverses to strike a total of ten die marriages. One is rare. The rest are common. The following table summarizes the known die marriages:

Click the links below to view the details of the die marriages.

Die Marriage
Rarity
Obverse Die
Reverse Die
Estimated Survivors
OC-1 R1 1 1859-O B 1600
OC-2 R1 2 1859-O B 3000
OC-3 R3- 2 A 450
OC-4 R2 2 B 650
OC-5 R3 2 C 325
OC-6 R2 3 D 1100
OC-7 R2 3 E 800
OC-8 R1 4 D 1700
OC-9 R3 4 C 350
OC-10 R6- 2 E 25
Die marriage rarities updated 1/22/17


1860-O Varieties


The only die marriage that we consider a true variety is the early state of OC-2, which exhibits a repunched date. The repunching is very minor, difficult to see even with a glass. We didn’t include this variety as one of our Top-30.

Breen (reference 20) lists three varieties:

  1. BR5464, heavy numerals;
  2. BR5465, very thin numerals, heavy mintmark;
  3. BR5466, very thin numerals, light mintmark.


We believe that all three of the Breen varieties are simply die states created by die polishing. Light mintmarks are OC-1 and OC-2, which used a reverse die first used in 1859 and polished several times before its use in 1860; and OC-8, in a late reverse die state. Light numerals are OC-8 and OC-9. Obverse 4 was heavily polished during the striking of the OC-8 die marriage, creating a date that appears slightly weak. Reverse C was also heavily polished at that time, weakening ONE DOL at the base of the reverse. However, the mintmark was not significantly affected, and remained bold. The remaining die marriages were less polished and would be considered as Breen’s heavy numerals varieties.

1860-O Emission Sequence

1860-O dies were used long enough to allow conclusive determination of the emission sequence. Only the placements of OC-7 and OC-8 are arbitrary, as noted.

Emission Order
Die Marriage
Comments
1 OC-1 We assumed that the marriages which used the transitional reverse die came first.
2 OC-2 Advancing reverse die cracks established OC-2 as following OC-1.
3 OC-3 Slight additional Obverse 2 die polish indicates that OC-3 followed OC-2.
4 OC-4 Slight additional Obverse 2 die polish indicates that OC-4 followed OC-3.
5 OC-5 Slight additional Obverse 2 die polish indicates that OC-5 followed OC-4.
6 OC-6 No shared dies with OC-5, but we know that OC-7, OC-8, and OC-9 followed OC-6, and that OC-9 followed OC-5.
7 OC-7 Slight additional Obverse 3 die polish indicates the OC-7 followed OC-6. The placement of OC-7 before OC-8 is arbitrary.
8 OC-10 Growth of Reverse E die cracks indicates that OC-10 followed OC-7. The placement of OC-10 before OC-8 is arbitrary.
9 OC-8 Reverse D die deterioration indicates that OC-8 followed OC-6. The placement of OC-8 after OC-7 and OC-10 is arbitrary.
10 OC-9 Obverse 4 die wear indicates that OC-9 followed OC-8. Reverse C die cracks indicate that OC-9 followed OC-5.

1860-O Quick Finder Chart

Several 1860-O dies are similar, but in all cases there are notable markers that allow relatively easy attribution.

Die Marriage

Obv Die

Rev Die

Right
Base of 1

Keys

OC-1 1 1859-O B RE Obverse: Finished under the chin. 1 is VSL.
Reverse: A tiny lump at the top of the first shield recess. Other markers at the top of recesses #2 and #3. All examples exhibit a radial die crack through the right side of T2.
OC-2 2 1859-O B B Obverse: RB of 1 is B. 1 is SH. The date slants VS down. A circular die line on Miss Liberty's stomach.
Reverse: A tiny die pit at the top of the first shield recess. Other markers at the top of recesses #2 and #3. All die states for this marriage exhibit a radial die crack through the right side of T2.
OC-3 2 A B Obverse: RB of 1 is B. 1 is SH. The date slants VS down. A circular die line on Miss Liberty's stomach.
Reverse: 1-2 sharply to 4. Mintmark high, closer to stem, CCW rotation. Lumps due to die rust around ES.
OC-4 2 B B Obverse: RB of 1 is B. 1 is SH. The date slants VS down. A circular die line on Miss Liberty's stomach.
Reverse: Lumps between 6-1 and 6-2.
OC-5 2 C B Obverse: RB of 1 is B. 1 is SH. The date slants VS down. A circular die line on Miss Liberty's stomach.
Reverse: Mintmark centered vertically. Die lines in shield recesses, most notable near the top of recess #5.
OC-6 3 D JL of C Obverse: 1 is VSH, 0 is VSL. No other markers.
Reverse: Mintmark is very high, slightly closer to stem.
OC-7 3 E JL of C Obverse: 1 is VSH, 0 is VSL. No other markers.
Reverse: Mintmark slightly high, much closer to stem, no rotation. No other notable markers.
OC-8 4 D JL of C Obverse: 1 and 0 are SH. Tine slants up to the left off the upper left side of the scroll end.
Reverse: Mintmark very high, slightly closer to stem.
OC-9 4 C JL of C Obverse: 1 and 0 are SH. Tine slants up to the left off the upper left side of the scroll end.
Reverse: Mintmark centered vertically. Die lines in shield recesses, most notable near the top of recess #5.
OC-10 2 E B Obverse: RB of 1 is B. 1 is SH. The date slants VS down. A circular die line on Miss Liberty's stomach.
Reverse: Mintmark slightly high, much closer to stem, no rotation. No other notable markers.


1860-O Attribution Flow Chart


The flow chart shown below can be helpful in attaining a quick attribution of your 1860-O examples.





Photo credits:

Obverse and reverse full photos:   1860-O PCGS MS65+ CAC, from the Heritage archives.


Copyright © 2015, by Dick Osburn and Brian Cushing, All rights reserved.