Seated Liberty Half Dimes
Seated Liberty Half Dimes were produced at the Philadelphia and New Orleans Mint facilities from 1837 to 1873. This small silver denomination was authorized by the original Coinage Act of 1792, but would eventually be replaced by the five cent nickel. The final series of half dimes includes numerous design changes and some important rarities.
The obverse design of the coin features an image of Liberty Seated on a rock. In one hand is a pole with a cap atop, while the other hand holds a shield inscribed "Liberty". This central image remained somewhat unchanged during the series, as the surrounding elements shifted. The fields above were originally empty, replaced by thirteen stars, and finally the legend "United States of America". The date appeared below and for three years included arrows to each side, signifying a change in weight.
The reverse design originally featured a laurel wreath with the words "Half Dime" within and "United States of America" surrounding the wreath. From 1860 through the end of the series, the legend was moved to the obverse of the coin. The extra space was taken up by a larger agricultural wreath, and the central denomination was enlarged.
Overall, the Seated Liberty Half Dimes include a number of low mintage or challenging issues to acquire. However, these difficult issues remain relatively affordable as the series does not have as large a collector base as some of the higher denominations. Some have attributed this to the small physical size of the coins or the fact that the denomination was replaced by the more familiar nickel.
This site will provide some additional information about the last series of half dimes and present a selection of coins available for sale. The series presents many challenging aspects and potential rewards for the patient collector.