PCGS 6980 - Liberty Seated Dollar, No Motto (1840-1865)
The Act of Congress dated January 18, 1837, prescribed the mottoes and devices that should be placed upon the coins of the United States. This meant that the mint could make no changes without the enactment of additional legislation by the Congress. In December 1863, the Director of the Mint submitted designs for new one-cent coin, two-cent coin, and three-cent coin to Secretary Chase for approval. He proposed that upon the designs either OUR COUNTRY; OUR GOD or GOD, OUR TRUST should appear as a motto on the coins. In a letter to the Mint Director on December 9, 1863, Secretary Chase stated: I approve your mottoes, only suggesting that on that with the Washington obverse the motto should begin with the word OUR, so as to read OUR GOD AND OUR COUNTRY. And on that with the shield, it should be changed so as to read: IN GOD WE TRUST. The Congress passed the Act of April 22, 1864. This legislation changed the composition of the one-cent coin and authorized the minting of the two-cent coin. The Mint Director was directed to develop the designs for these coins for final approval of the Secretary. IN GOD WE TRUST first appeared on the 1864 two-cent coin.
Another Act of Congress passed on March 3, 1865. It allowed the Mint Director, with the Secretary's approval, to place the motto on all gold and silver coins that "shall admit the inscription thereon." Under the Act, the motto was placed on the gold double-eagle coin, the gold eagle coin, and the gold half-eagle coin. It was also placed on the silver dollar coin, the half-dollar coin and the quarter-dollar coin, and on the nickel three-cent coin beginning in 1866. Later, Congress passed the Coinage Act of February 12, 1873. It also said that the Secretary "may cause the motto IN GOD WE TRUST to be inscribed on such coins as shall admit of such motto."
The story of the Motto can be found here: History of 'In God We Trust'
The obverse of the Liberty Seated dollar was designed by Robert Ball Hughes, after Thomas Sully and Christian Gobrecht from sketches of Liberty by artist Thomas Sully. It displays Liberty seated on a rock in Classical flowing robes, head turned toward her right (viewer’s left). Her left arm is bent, raised hand holding a liberty pole with a cap. The right arm is extended downward at her side, with the hand balancing a shield across which the word Liberty is displayed in a curving banner. Thirteen six-point stars surround the seated figure inside a dentilled rim with seven on the left side, one between Liberty’s head and the cap, and the remaining five along the right. The date is centered at the bottom between the base of the rock and the rim.
On the reverse Robert Ball Hughes, after Reich. Engravers, Hughes and Gorbrecht. An eagle is prominently displayed inside a dentilled rim. The eagle’s wings are partially spread but folded downward at the joint as if the majestic bird had just landed or perhaps instead is preparing to fly off. An olive branch is in the dexter claw (viewer’s left); the sinister claw clutches three arrows. UNITED STATES OF AMERICA encircles the top two-thirds of the coin inside the rim, with the ONE DOL. denomination centered at the bottom. Most were minted at Philadelphia; branch New Orleans (O) and San Francisco (S) mintmarks are located below the eagle, above the denomination. Gobrecht’s dramatic flying eagle design was used only for three years (1836-1839). See Gallery below, replaced in 1840 by the John Reich “sandwich board” eagle design, so-called because of the placement of the shield across the eagle’s breast.
- Weight: 412.5 grains/26.73 grams
- Diameter: 1.5 inches = 38.5 mm
- Composition: Ag 90%, Cu 10% silver 24.057 g (~0.773 ozt0
- Rim: Reeded.
Prices realized from past auction lots. (PCGS Holder)
PCGS Price Guide 
- Breen, Walter H., Walter Breen's Complete Encyclopedia of U. S. and Colonial Coins, New York: Doubleday, 1987.
- Yeoman, R. S., and Kenneth Bressett (ed.), A Guide Book of United States Coins, 59th Ed., Atlanta, GA: Whitman Publishing, 2005.
- U.S. Mint