1872






General Comments


Seated dollar mintage reached its high point in 1872, with over 1.1 million coins issued. This is one of only two years in the series with a mintage over 1 million coins. 1872 coins are as readily available as the mintage would indicate. Price guides price 1872 as a common date. This is consistent with our observations of ready availability in all grades. Even low grades, which are scarce or rare for virtually all dates, are available with patient searching. Slabbing population reports show that 1872 slabs total only about 65% of those for 1871, but availability seems to be about equal.

1872 examples, as with most common dates from the Seated Dollar series, are readily available in all grades up to MS64. Well-circulated coins are far more available for this date than for most others. Highest availability remains in the mid-VF to mid-AU grade ranges. Problem-free coins below VF are scarce, but much more available than for most other years. The somewhat large population reports in low to middle mint state grades seen to be accurate. Mint state examples are frequently seen at coin shows and in auctions.

The population reports of both major grading services show a little less than 20% of the graded business strikes in mint state. The finest known examples are two coins graded MS66, one by each grading service. The PCGS coin is a MS66+, the single finest known. Six additional coins have received a MS65 grade, three by each service. Nearly 60 have been graded MS64. As with most dates the population reports surely include at least a few re-submissions. Population statistics are as of October, 2016.







Mintage 1,074,760
Proof mintage 950
Mintage ranking 47th
Finest known MS66
PR67
Known obverse dies 10
Known reverse dies 6
Known die marriages 11
Most common die marriage OC-3/ R1
Rarest business strike die marriage OC-14/ R6+
Rarest proof die marriage OC-P1/ R2
The finest known proofs are two PR67 examples graded by NGC. NGC has graded an additional six coins PR66. The highest grade encapsulated by PCGS is a single PR66 example. The two services have given nearly 40 coins a PR65 grade. Proof population statistics are as of October, 2016.

In the lower grades the population reports show about 25% of the business strikes graded are less than VF35. This is a big jump from most other dates. The greatest availability is in the VF-AU55 range. In general all grades of 1872 short of the gem designation are readily available and will bring prices consistent with what most price guides would indicate.

1872 examples are seldom fully struck. They often display softness on the star centrals, sometimes to the point that some of the stars may be completely flat. Less often they display weakness on the upper left wing feathers and the eagle’s neck feathers. Finding a well struck example will be a challenge, but they can be found. High-grade business strikes are sometimes prooflike or semi-prooflike, but more often frosty. With a mintage of over one million the dies wore sufficiently to give most examples a pleasing mint frost. But examples are available for those who love prooflike surfaces.

1872 Die Marriages


15 die marriages have been positively identified, among the most for any year in the series. Several are surprisingly scarce. 9 obverse dies were paired with 5 reverses to strike fourteen business strike die pairs. One of the reverse dies was transitional from 1871. No business strike dies were used for proofs. A single proof die marriage is known, pairing two unique dies. The reverse die was used again for 1873 proofs. A few examples of the proof die marriage have been seen in business strike holders. However, we've seen no business strikes in proof holders, which is unusual for the series. The following table summarizes the known die marriages for 1872.

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

Die Marriage
Rarity
Obverse Die
Reverse Die
Estimated Survivors
OC-1 R3 1 1871 C 375
OC-2 R3+ 1 A 225
OC-3 R1 2 A 1950
OC-4 R2 3 B 800
OC-5 R3- 2 B 430
OC-6 R5- 4 B 75
OC-7 R2 5 C 775
OC-8 R2 6 C 600
OC-9 R5 7 C 60
OC-10 R5- 8 D 75
OC-11 R5 8 B 60
OC-12 R6- 8 C 30
OC-13 R6- 5 D 30
OC-14 R6+ 9 C 15
OC-P1 R2 P1 PA 575
Rarity estimates updated with data through 10/5/16

1872 Business Strike Emission Sequence

The emission sequence required several assumptions, since several die marriages shared no dies. We assumed that OC-1 was the first issue since it used a reverse die first used in 1871. We've seen only pictures of several of the rare die marriages. We wouldn't be surprised if changes to the sequence are necessary when we are able to personally examine examples of these die marriages.

Emission Order
Die Marriage
Comments
1 OC-1 We assumed that the marriage which included the reverse die first used in 1871 was the first issue.
2 OC-2 Reduction in unfinished areas on the obverse due to die polishing.
3 OC-3 Reverse A die cracks indicate that OC-3 followed OC-2.
4 OC-4 Placement of OC-4 is arbitrary since no dies were shared with the previous marriages.
5 OC-5 Advancing Reverse B die cracks indicate that OC-5 followed OC-4.
6 OC-6 Advancing Reverse B die cracks indicate that OC-6 followed OC-5.
11 OC-11 Advancing Reverse B die cracks indicate that OC-11 followed OC-6.
12 OC-12 Die polishing reduced unfinished areas on Obverse 8 indicating the OC-12 followed OC-11.
10 OC-10 Die polishing reduced unfinished areas on Obverse 8 indicating the OC-10 followed OC-12.
13 OC-13 Advancing Reverse D die wear indicates that OC-13 followed OC-10.
7 OC-7 Die polishing reduced the unfinished areas on Obverse 5 indicating the OC-7 followed OC-13.
8 OC-8 Reverse C die polish indicates that OC-8 followed OC-7.
9 OC-9 Reverse C die polish indicates that OC-9 followed OC-8.
14 OC-14 Reverse C die polish indicates that OC-14 followed OC-9.

1872 Proof Emission Sequence

With only a single proof die marriage identified the emission sequence is simple.

Emission Order
Die Marriage
Comments
1 OC-P1

1872 Quick Finder Chart

All reverse dies have notable markers. First identify the reverse die, then determine the date position. The table below shows the best best markers to allow quick attribution.

Die Marriage

Obv Die

Rev Die

Right
Base of 1

1st 1
Vertical

Keys

OC-1 1 1871 C LE VSL Obverse: Low date slanting down.
Reverse: A faint die line joins the middle of WE in the motto.
OC-2 1 A LE VSL Obverse: Low date slanting down.
Reverse: Doubled die reverse. Lump on the motto between TR, near the left side of the R.
OC-3 2 A RE L Obverse: MPD's - 2 in rock, 2 from rock.
Reverse: Doubled die reverse. Lump on the motto between TR, near the left side of the R.
OC-4 3 B RE C Obverse: Die line from shield edge below shield line 5-1. Die line below heel.
Reverse: Lump between the shaft and upper right serif of the 1st T in TRUST.
OC-5 2 B RE L Obverse: MPD's - 2 in rock, 2 from rock.
Reverse: Lump between the shaft and upper right serif of the 1st T in TRUST.
OC-6 4 B JR of C VSH Obverse: Lump in gown left of pole.
Reverse: Lump between the shaft and upper right serif of the 1st T in TRUST.
OC-7 5 C JL of C SH Obverse: Die line extends down from chin.
Reverse: Die line through left side of O in GOD. Lump attached to the lower loop of G.
OC-8 6 C JR of C VH Obverse: Lump under chin.
Reverse: Die line through left side of O in GOD.
OC-9 7 C JR of LE SL Obverse: Lump under chin.
Reverse: Die line through left side of O in GOD.
OC-10 8 D L QTR H Obverse: MPD below 7.
Reverse: A large lump just right of the lower serif of the E in WE.
OC-11 8 B L QTR H Obverse: MPD below 7.
Reverse: Lump between the shaft and upper right serif of the 1st T in TRUST.
OC-12 8 C L QTR H Obverse: MPD below 7.
Reverse: Die line through left side of O in GOD. Lump attached to the lower loop of G.
OC-13 5 D JL of C SH Obverse: Die line down from chin.
Reverse: A large lump just right of the lower serif of the E in WE.
OC-14 9 C RE VSH Obverse: Die line in denticles below 8.
Reverse: Die line through left side of O in GOD. Lump attached to the lower loop of G.
OC-P1 P1 PA LE SH Obverse: Die line in shield recess #6 above the T in LIBERTY.
Reverse: Strong doubled die reverse.


Photo credits:

Obverse and reverse full photos:   1872 PCGS PR66 Cameo, among the finest known, from the Heritage archives.


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