From the NGC Archives: 1859 Seated Liberty Half Dollar

Posted on 2/14/2012

The Seated Liberty Half Dollar was 20 years old when this example was produced at the Philadelphia Mint.

Its design resulted from the Greek Revival movement, which swept America in the 1830s, as well as from then Mint Director Robert M. Pattersons fondness for the Britannia figure on English coins.

The Mint's officers anticipated a complete redesign of the half dollar in 1859, as the many pattern halves of this date confirm. Instead, they had to settle for a slight revision to the existing reverse. This Type 2 example features the slender arrowheads, which resulted from this upgrade. An amazing gem, it is quite rare as such. In its 1998 ANA catalog, wherein this beauty appeared as Lot 6661, Heritage Auctions acknowledged its rarity. Their description bears repeating: This piece exhibits scintillating luster and is only a hint of rose and golden patina at the borders from full brilliance.

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