Jeff H. writes: I’m currently researching a stage coach robbery that took place near Prescott, AZ in 1873. The only 700 1873-S Silver dollars minted that year were taken and have never been seen. Do you know what month of the year this took place and any other useful info? Thanks Jeff.
This story, though fascinating, is probably is not true. While there is a reported mintage of 700 San Francisco Seated Liberty dollars for 1873, none are known today. There was quite a controversy at the time involving the value of silver vs. gold coinage. Congress, in its wisdom or insanity, abolished the dollar in 1873 in favor of the heftier Trade Dollar (with a mintage of 703,000 for 1873 San Francisco coin, an issue readily available today). A year later they demonetized all previous silver dollars. The silver interests and their supporters called the bill the “Crime of ’73.” (The dollar was restored to legal tender status on 2/28/1878, the birth year of the Morgan Dollar).
Since the 1873-S dollar was no longer current money, standard procedure would be to melt them just like other minor coinage minted prior to 1873. (The silver content of minor coins was increased in 1873, previously minted silver coins were melted as the mints received them. Arrows placed at the date signified a change in the silver content.) In any case, no 1873-S Seated Dollars seemed to have survived.