From the NGC Archives: 1854 Seated Liberty Half Dollar

Posted on 3/12/2013

Unfamiliar today, the half dollar was among the most important American coins throughout the 19th century.

Far more halves were typically coined than quarters, though in recent decades these roles have become reversed.

The rising value of silver in relation to gold prompted a reduction in the weight of fractional silver coins in 1853. Pieces of this new standard were still being produced in large numbers during 1854. This fabulous specimen bears opposed arrowheads flanking its date to distinguish it from earlier issues. On this particular variety, numerals 85 in the date are distinctly doubled. A simply spectacular coin, this beauty is entirely untoned and displays dazzling luster of frosty white. While not quite fully struck, it still exhibits a wealth of fine detail amid its pristine surfaces.

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