Survival Rates and Population Estimates

Survival rates are estimated for each date for both the proof and business strike formats. These survival rates are then combined with known mintages to determine an estimate of the total number of coins that survive today. For early proofs, those before 1859, only the estimated number of coins surviving is determined, since no record of the actual mintage was kept by the mint. Survival rates are based on a date-by-date analysis of existing data, and other related factors, such as melting rates and the extent to which coins were released into circulation. One of our major sources of data was the Q. David Bowers reference on early silver dollars (reference 4), which includes estimates of the approximate surviving population for all dates, in both business strike and proof formats. We also looked at a previous study that determined an estimated survival rate for seated half dollars of 0.4% (see reference 5). We expected the rate for seated dollars to be higher, since the dollars represented a larger face value, and thus didn’t reach commerce as much as their lower valued counterparts. All things considered, including our own dealing experience, conversations with many experienced numismatists and dealers over many years, and other available data, we concluded that the overall survival rate for the series was a little less than 1.5%, or about 85,000 coins. We then set about constructing a refined estimate of the survival rate for each year and mintmark of issue. The following table shows our estimates for business strikes.

Survival Estimates for Business Strike Seated Dollars

Date
Mintage
Bowers Population Estimate
OC Survival % Estimate
OC Population Estimate
184061,0051,250 – 1,8503%1,750
1841173,0001,000 – 1,5003%5,250
1842184,6183,500 – 5,0003%5,500
1843165,1003,500 – 5,0003%5,000
184420,000700 – 1,0005%1,000
184524,500900 – 1,4005%1,250
1846110,6002,000 – 4,0003%3,500
1846-O59,0001,000 – 1,5002%1,250
1847140,7503,000 – 5,0003%4,250
184815,000600 – 1,0005%750
184962,6001,400 – 2,0003%2,000
18507,500350 – 5005%400
1850-O40,000800 – 1,2002%1,000
18511,30026 – 525%65
18521,00030 – 805%65
185346,110750 – 1,1002%1,000
185433,140160 – 2501%300
185526,000180 – 3401%300
185663,500210 - 3701%600
185794,490240 – 330<1%400
1859256,500400 – 590<1%1,000
1859-O360,0004,300 – 6,9002%7,000
1859-S20,000750 – 1,2604%800
1860217,600600 – 1,000<1%900
1860-O515,0009,000 – 10,5002%10,000
186177,500240 – 400<1%500
186211,540380 – 5253%350
186327,200325 – 5002%450
186430,700325 - 5002%600
186546,500310 – 5002%750
1866
with motto
48,900340 – 5252%1,000
186746,900170 – 3002%950
1868162,100250 – 3601%1,500
1869423,700300 – 475<1%2,000
1870415,0001,300 – 2,000<1%3,500
1870-SUnknown9 – 10NA10
1870-CC11,758280 – 3905%750
18711,073,3003,200 – 6,400<1%6,500
1871-CC1,37680 – 1306%100
18721,105,5002,625 – 5,250<1%5,500
1872-S9,000265 – 4105%500
1872-CC3,150150 – 2306%250
1873293,000310 – 700<1%1,500
1873-S70000%0
1873-CC2,30060 – 956%100
Total6,488,937-1.3%82,140


The next table shows our estimates for the proof issues.

Survival Estimates for Proof Seated Dollars

Date
Mintage
Bowers Mintage Estimate
OC Survival % Estimate
OC Population Estimate
1840NA20 – 30NA25
1841NA10 – 15NA8
1842NA20 – 30NA15
1843NA15 – 25NA15
1844NA20 – 30NA15
1845NA15 – 25NA15
1846NA40 – 60NA25
1847NA20 – 30NA18
1848NA25 – 35NA18
1849NA8 – 12NA12
1850NA40 – 60NA28
1851NA0 Originals
50 - 100 Restrikes
NA 0 Originals
45 Restrikes
1852NA15 - 30 Originals
45 - 90 Restrikes
NA 3 Originals
45 Restrikes
1853NA0 Originals
12+ Restrikes
NA 1 Originals
12 Restrikes
1854NA50-100NA 3 Originals
40 Restrikes
1855NA40 – 75NA40
1856NA60 - 125NA50
1857NA50 – 100NA50
1858NA225 – 300+NA180
185980080040%350
18601,3301,33040%525
18611,0001,00045%450
186255055045%350
186346046045%300
186447047050%300
186550050050%325
1866
no motto
UnknownUnknownNA2
1866
with motto
72572550%500
186762562555%400
186860060055%375
186960060055%400
18701,0001,00060%600
187196096060%575
187295095060%575
187360060060%360




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