Coin Specifications

Category: Seated Liberty Half Dimes (1837-1873)
Mint: San Francisco
Obverse Designer: James B. Longacre
Reverse Designer: James B. Longacre
Composition: Silver
Fineness: 0.9000
Weight: 1.2400g
ASW: 0.0359oz
Melt Value: $0.65 (7/15/2020)
Diameter: 15.5mm
Edge: Reeded
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1870 S H10C MS obverse 1870 S H10C MS reverse
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Description & Analysis

There is no record of half dime production at the San Francisco Mint, though 6 die pairs were shipped west in December of 1869. No example of this issue was even suspected until the coin illustrated surfaced early in 1978. A specious story was contrived about this coin being found in a dealer's "junk box," but even a Philadelphia specimen in Mint State was worth too much to be so relegated. The reason for masking this coin's true origin has never been revealed, but it has been a prized rarity ever since.

Note that the mintmark is located within the wreath, a position not used previously for coins of this type. Since this location was continued throughout 1871 and into 1872, there is no reason to believe that it was moved solely for the unique 1870 S half dime.

The cornerstone for the second San Francisco Mint structure was laid in 1870, and what was described as a complete set of S-Mint coins of that year was reportedly placed in the building's cornerstone. This receptacle has never been located, at least not by any authority having a legitimate reason to seek it, so it can't be said whether coins still reside within the old structure.

Several denominations of San Francisco Mint coins dated 1870 are rarities, the half dime and three-dollar piece being unique, while the silver dollar is known only to the extent of nine or ten pieces. The quarter dollar remains entirely unknown, though hope exists that an example may one day surface. Clearly, there is more to the story of these rare coins than is presently known.


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Price Guide

Last Updated: 5/31/2014

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1870 S H10C MS
Base $ - - - - - - - - - - - - 1600000 - - - - - - -

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Total Graded: 1
Low Grade: 63
Average Grade: 63
High Grade: 63

The chart showing 63 series.
NGC CENSUS DETAIL Last Updated: 7/7/2020 1870 S H10C MS

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