The 1851 Seated Liberty Dollar has one of the lowest mintages for both the series and the denomination at just 1,300 pieces. This date is usually regarded as one of the rarest of the series, after the 1870-S, but before the 1852 issue, which had a slightly lower mintage of 1,100 coins.
At the time of issue, the value of silver had risen to the point where the melt value of the coins would exceed face value. As such, the Mint produced only a limited number of silver dollars and instead struck more than 3 million gold dollars. It is believed that none of the 1851 Seated Liberty Dollars were released into circulation in the year of production.
During at least two periods, from 1858-1860 and 1867-1868, restrikes of the 1851 silver dollar were minted to satisfy collector demand. An estimated 50-100 proof restrikes were made, of which perhaps 25-35 surviving specimens remain.
In 1997, one of the original strikes graded PCGS MS65 sold at auction for $57,500. The finest known restrike graded NGC PF 66 Cameo sold for $149,500 at auction held in 2008.