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Seated Liberty Half Dime

For the budget-minded or beginner collector, Seated Liberty Half Dime provides an interesting series to collect, with the exception of the 1870S since only one is known to exist today.

No Stars Obverse (1837-1838)

Designed by Christian Gobrecht, the No Stars Obverse variety of the Seated Liberty Half Dime was minted between 1837 and 1838. Those produced in Philadelphia has no mint mark, while those produced in New Orleans bore a mint mark.liberty seated half dime

There were 1,405,000 coins minted in 1837, 70,000 in 1838, 1,242,700 in 1839, 965,000 in 1840, 1,370,000 in 1841, 1,480,000 in 1842, 1,480,000 in 1843, 1,900,000 in 1844, and 871,000 in 1845.

In 1837, two distinct varieties of the Seated Liberty Half Dimes were struck. One featured a large date set in a curved line and with the number 1 drawn with a tall peak, while the other had a small date set in a straight line and with the number 1 drawn with a flat top.

Stars Obverse (1838-1853)

Still made by the same designer as the first type of Seated Liberty Half Dime, the Stars Obverse was minted in Philadelphia and New Orleans from 1838 to 1853. During this period, several changes came about.

The original pattern showed Lady Liberty seated on a large rock and holding a staff with a Liberty cap on top. Below her is the imprinted date.

On the reverse side, is the denomination Half Dime that is encircled by a laurel wreath. The word UNITED STATES OF AMERICA surrounds the entire thing.

The Stars Obverse came about when thirteen stars were added around the image of Lady Liberty. In 1840, an extra fold of drapery was added behind Liberty’s elbow by Robert Ball Hughes. This made the overall design thicker or fatter. In 1853, Chief Engraver James B. Longacre added arrowheads on the sides of the date that resulted in the coin’s slight weight reduction.

With Arrows (1853-55)

The 1853 half dimes in the Seated Liberty Half Dime series featured arrowheads that were hand punched on either side of the date. More than 13 million were struck in Philadelphia, while the rest were in New Orleans. Because of this, coins minted in New Orleans are considerably more expensive and elusive.

Legend Obverse (1860-1873)

The Legend Obverse variety of the Seated Liberty Half Dime marked the last time that James B. Longacre redesigned the coin. What he did was replace the stars that surrounded Liberty with the legend UNITED STATES OF AMERICA and discarded the reverse wreath. What used to be a simple wreath was then replaced by an elaborate design made up of sprigs of corn, oak, maple, and wheat tied together at the bottom with a bow. Within it is the denomination HALF DIME.

What’s the story behind 1870S?

When the second San Francisco Mint was constructed in 1870, coins were placed inside the cornerstone, one of which is the 1870S half dime. Only one was supposed to exist but similar specimen surfaced in 1978. Considering that the mint building still stands, it was considered a duplicate.

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