General Comments

In 1862 silver dollar mintage plummeted to just over 12,000 coins. This date has always been popular due to both the low mintage and its status as a Civil War date. 1862 coins are rare in any grade. Availability is similar to the previous years, but the date is less underrated than either 1859 or 1860. As with the 1861 the market has recognized its rarity, and nice examples are usually priced accordingly. Despite this they often sell for well above listings in current price guides.

Nice problem-free examples can be located, but patient searching is required. High grades, both proof and business strikes, are more available than lower grades. The population reports show that almost half of the business strikes currently in holders are MS60 or better, with another quarter of the population in various grades of AU. Problem-free examples in grades lower than XF are extremely rare. They will generally bring prices that are significantly higher than most price guides would indicate.

The finest known business strikes are five MS65 examples, three graded by PCGS, two by NGC. Another 36 examples have been given a MS64 grade by the two major services. Two of these, graded by PCGS, were evaluated as MS64+. A total of 124 coins have been graded at all mint state levels. A significant number of these are surely re-submissions. This date is far more available in high grades than low. The two major grading services have graded a total of 16 coins at all levels less than VF, and another 24 coins at the various levels of VF. Collectors seeking a certified set in the G-VF grade range will have a real challenge. Population statistics are as of February, 2019.

Mintage 12,090
Proof mintage 550
Mintage ranking 12th
Finest known MS65
PR67 Cameo
Known obverse dies 2
Known reverse dies 3
Known die marriages 3
Most common die marriage OC-1/ R3
Rarest business strike die marriage OC-1/ R3
Rarest proof die marriage OC-P1/ R5
The finest known proofs are two PR67 examples graded by NGC, one of which received a cameo designation. 14 coins have received a PR66 grade, two at PCGS and twelve at NGC. One of the PCGS coins was awarded a PR66+ grade, as was one of the NGC examples. The PCGS coin is the finest proof graded by that service. 29 additional coins have achieved PR65. A total of 388 coins have been graded as proofs by the two major services. Again quite a few of these are probably re-submissions. Population statistics are as of February, 2019.

1862 examples are normally very well struck. Star centrals are usually sharply defined, and all other details above average. Reverses are almost always sharp. High-grade business strikes are often prooflike or semi-prooflike. With less than 12,000 business strikes the dies didnít get a chance to wear off their initial prooflike surfaces.

1862 Die Marriages

3 die marriages have been positively identified. A single die pair was used to strike all business strikes. Neither die was used for proofs. A single obverse die was paired with two different reverses to produce two proof die marriages. The following table summarizes the known die marriages for 1862:

Click the links below to view the details of each die marriage.

Die Marriage
Obverse Die
Reverse Die
Estimated Survivors
OC-1 R3 1 A 350
OC-P1 R5 P1 PA 50
OC-P2 R3+ P1 PB 200

Breen (reference 7) identifies only a single 1862 proof die marriage, but indicates that the reverse die was also used to strike the 1853 proofs, which most authors identify as restrikes. We addressed the restrike question in our description of the 1853 proofs. Breenís identification of the 1862 proof reverse as the one used in 1862 is incorrect. Weíve compared both 1862 proof reverse dies to the one used to strike the 1853 proofs and have failed to find a match.

1862 Business Strike Emission Sequence

With only a single business strike die marriage the emission sequence is simple.

Emission Order
Die Marriage
1 OC-1

1862 Proof Emission Sequence

We believe that the progression of die polish on Obverse P1 indicates that the sequence listed below is correct. However, the differences are minor. The sequence below is our best estimate.

Emission Order
Die Marriage
1 OC-P1
2 OC-P2 Die polish slightly reduced the unfinished area under the chin

1862 Quick Finder Chart

Attribution of 1862 die marriages is relatively easy. Neither the obverse nor reverse dies display major markers, but the obverse date positions are notably different on the two known obverse dies. The only challenge is differentiating the two known proof reverse dies. Fortunately proofs are usually relatively high grades, making the minor diagnostics clearly visible. The following table lists the keys for identifying each variety.

Die Marriage

Obv Die

Rev Die

Base of 1


OC-1 1 A B Obverse: 1 is VSH.
Reverse: Die rust between lower and middle leaves.
OC-P1 P1 PA C Obverse: 1 is SL.
Reverse: : 1-2 to 2. A light die line joins the lower and middle leaves in the unfinished area between them. Minor unfinished areas at the lower end of the middle and left-side shield recesses.
OC-P2 P1 PB C Obverse: 1 is SL.
Reverse: 1-1 and 1-3 to 2. The lower ends of the middle and left-side shield recesses are completely finished to the shield edge. Often seen with broken ends on the middle and upper leaves.

Photo credits:

Obverse and reverse full photos:   1862 PCGS MS64, from the Heritage archives.

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