Seated Liberty (various subtypes) 1837-1873
These were the last silver half dimes produced. The design features Liberty seated on a rock and holding a shield and was first conceived in 1835 used first on the silver dollar patterns of 1836. The series is divided into several subtypes. The first was struck at Philadelphia in 1837 and New Orleans in 1838 and lacks stars on the obverse. In 1838 a semicircle of 13 stars was added around the obverse border, and this basic design was used through 1859. In 1853, small arrows were added to each side of the date to reflect a reduction in weight due to rising silver prices, and the arrows remained in place through 1855. The arrows were dropped in 1856, with the earlier design resumed through 1859. In 1860, the obverse stars were replaced with the inscription UNITED STATES OF AMERICA and the reverse wreath was enlarged. This design stayed in place through the end of the series. In 1978 a unique 1870-S Seated Liberty half dime became known. The Seated Liberty half dime was produced at the Philadelphia, San Francisco and New Orleans mints in an aggregate amount of 84,828,478 coins struck for circulation. See also United States Seated Liberty coinage.
The half dime, or half disme, was a silver coin, valued at five cents, formerly minted in the United States.
Some numismatists consider the denomination to be the first coin minted by the United States Mint under the Coinage Act of 1792, with production beginning on or about July 1792. However, others consider the 1792 half disme to be nothing more than a pattern coin, or 'test piece', and this matter continues to be subject to debate.
These coins were much smaller than dimes in diameter and thickness, appearing to be "half dimes". In the 1860s, powerful nickel interests successfully lobbied for the creation of new coins, which would be made of a copper-nickel alloy; production of such coins began in 1865, and were struck in two denominations — three and five cents (the latter introduced in 1866).
The introduction of the copper-nickel five-cent pieces made the silver coins of the same denomination redundant, and they were discontinued in 1873.
Seated Liberty Half Dime General Grading Standards
Good - LIBERTY on shield smooth. Date and letters readable.
Very Good - At least three letters in LIBERTY are visible.
Fine - Entire LIBERTY visible, weak spots.
Very Fine - Entire LIBERTY strong and even.
Extremely Fine - LIBERTY and scroll edges distinct.
About Uncirculated - Has traces of light wear on many of the high points. At least half of the mint luster is still present.
Uncirculated - No trace of wear. Light blemishes.
Select Uncirculated - No trace of wear. Light blemishes. Attractive mint luster.
Seated Liberty half dime
Date of authorization: April 2, 1792
Dates of issue: 1837-1873
(1837-1840): Christian Gobrecht
Obverse: Gobrecht-Robert B. Hughes
Reverse: Christian Gobrecht
Obverse: Christian Gobrecht-Robert B. Hughes-James B. Longacre
Reverse: James B. Longacre
(1837-1840): Christian Gobrecht
(1840-1859): Christian Gobrecht
(1860-1873): James B. Longacre
Diameter: 15.50 mm/0.61
(1837-1853): 1.34 grams/0.04 ounce
(1853-1873): 1.24 grams/0.04 ounce
Metallic content: 90% silver, 10% copper Weight of pure silver:
(1837-1853): 1.20 grams/0.04 ounce
(1853-1873): 1.12 grams/0.04 ounce Edge: Reeded Mint mark: Reverse within or below wreath