From the NGC Archives: 1870 Copper Pattern Half Dollar J-935, P-1041

Posted on 4/12/2011

From 1862 to 1876, most of the nation was without silver coins in daily circulation, as these were worth more than the depreciated paper money introduced to finance the Civil War.

Despite this situation, experimentation with the designs of the silver coins continued.

Hired by the U. S. Mint as its chief engraver in 1869, succeeding the late J. B. Longacre, William Barber produced an amazing portfolio of work in just his first few years. Seen here is his interpretation of the Seated Liberty figure in use since 1837. On this copper impression, coined with a reeded edge, it is paired with the regular reverse type of 1870. Rare (R7 in Pollock), this specimen is a fully struck gem with remarkably pristine surfaces. Its obverse is a pleasing blend of olive and sea greens with rich magenta, while its reverse is a deep russet with accents of gunmetal blue.

Are you interested in pattern coins? Click here to visit the NGC Coin Encyclopedia and read more.

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