VarietyPlus » Seated Liberty Half Dollar Die Varieties (1839-1891)

Seated Liberty Half Dollar Die Varieties (1839-1891)

The half dollar was an extremely useful coin during the 19th Century, and this type generally was coined in large numbers. Low mintages were recorded during the early 1850s due to the high price of silver, and again 1879-91 from an oversupply of fractional silver coins in Treasury vaults. A number of issues from the San Francisco and Carson City Mints were also of small mintage, this reflecting the difficult circumstances under which they were produced and also the economic peculiarities of the Far West economy.

Collecting these coins by date and mint is a satisfying challenge, the only true rarities being 1853-O without arrows and 1878-S. Several other date/mint combinations are scarce but obtainable. Due to the large mintages this series enjoyed, and also to the use of several distinctive mintmark punches, there are numerous interesting seated liberty half dollar varieties to collect.

NGC will attribute Seated Liberty Half Dollar varieties listed in VarietyPlus, which includes most of the popular Cherrypicker varieties. Some of the better varieties are the bold doubled date for 1844-O, 1846 over horizontal 6, 1877 over 6, 1861-O with Confederate obverse die and doubled dies for 1842 and 1853, as well as a number of less prominent Seated Liberty Half Dollar varieties. These less publicized varieties are well documented in the book by Randy Wiley and Bill Bugert, yet the mainstream hobby has been slow to appreciate them. Recent reference books by Bugert have documented each and every known die variety for the Carson City Mint and San Francisco Mint halves.

Access to the detailed pages of the seated liberty half dollar die varieties you see below is part of NGC Collectors Society membership. Die variety detail pages contain population information as well as NGC database images for available half dollar varieties.

NGC also provides information on other half dollar varieties:

Early Half Dollar Varieties (1794-1807) | Early Half Dollar Varieties (1807-1821) | Early Half Dollar Varieties (1822-1828) | Early Half Dollar Varieties (1829-1836) | Reeded Edge Half Dollar Varieties (1836-1839) | Barber Half Dollar Varieties (1892-1915) | Walking Liberty Half Dollar Varieties (1916-1947) | Franklin Half Dollar Varieties (1948-1963) | Kennedy Half Dollars (1964-Date)

Denom.MS/PFDateFee*NGC LabelVarietyPlusBreenFivaz-Stanton (NEW)Fivaz-Stanton (OLD)Wiley-Bugert
50CMS1839 NO DRAPERY-      
50CMS1839 DRAPERY-      
50CMS1840 SMALL LETTERS-      
50CMS1840/40 SM LETTERS$15FS-301    WB-102
50CMS1840/1840 SM LETTERS$15FS-302    WB-104
50CMS1840 (O) MED LETTERS-     WB-101
50CMS1841 18/18 $15VP-001    WB-102
50CMS1842 SM DATE SM LET-      
50CMS1842 SM DATE LG LET-      
50CMS1842 SM DATE LG LT DDR$15FS-801VP-001  FS-000.5WB-103
50CMS1842 MEDIUM DATE-      
50CMS1842/842 MED DATE$15FS-301    WB-105
50CMS1842 8/8 MPD MED DATE$15VP-003    WB-106
50CMS1842 O SMALL DATE-     WB-101
50CMS1842 O MED DATE-      
50CMS1842 O MPD MED DATE$15VP-001    WB-103
50CMS1843/1843 O$15FS-301VP-001   WB-103
50CMS1844/844 $15VP-001 B-4772  WB-104
50CMS1844/1844 O$15FS-301VP-001  FS-001WB-103
50CMS1845 O NO DRAPERY-      
50CMS1845/45 O$15FS-301VP-001  FS-001.5WB-104
50CMS1845/1845 O$15FS-302VP-002  FS-002WB-106
50CMS1845/1845 O$15FS-303VP-003   WB-108
50CMS1845 O/HORIZ O$15FS-501   FS-002.5WB-103
50CMS1846 MEDIUM DATE-  B-4786   
50CMS1846 MEDIUM DATE DDO$15VP-002    WB-105
50CMS1846/HORIZ 6 MED DATE$15 VP-001 FS-301FS-003WB-104
50CMS1846 TALL DATE-  B-4789   
50CMS1846 TALL DATE$15VP-003 SPIKED 4 B-4790  WB-108
50CMS1846 O MED DATE-      
50CMS1846/1--6 O MED DATE$15VP-001    WB-104
50CMS1846/6 O MED DATE$15VP-002    WB-105
50CMS1846 O TALL DATE-     WB-106
50CMS1847/1-46 $15   FS-301FS-004WB-102
50CMS1847/1847 O$15VP-001 B-4805  WB-103
50CMS1848 18/18 $15VP-001    WB-103
50CMS1848 4/4 $15VP-002    WB-102
50CMS1849/1849 $15FS-301VP-001  FS-004.5WB-102
50CMS1849/1849 $15VP-002    WB-103
50CMS1850/0 $15VP-001    WB-102
50CMS1851 18/18 $15VP-001    WB-102
50CMS1851 MPD$15VP-002    WB-104
50CMS1853 O NO ARROWS-      
50CMS1853 ARROWS & RAYS-      
50CMS1853 ARROWS & RAYS DDR$15FS-801VP-001  FS-004.7 
50CMS1853 ARROWS & RAYS DDR$15FS-802     
50CMS1853 ARROWS & RAYS DDR$15FS-803     
50CMS1853 O ARR & RAYS-      
50CMS1853 O ARR & RAYS MPD$15VP-001 B-4842   
50CMS1855/854 ARROWS$15FS-301VP-001  FS-005WB-102
50CMS1855 O/HORIZ O$15FS-501   FS-002.5WB-102
50CMS1856/1856 O$15FS-301VP-001  FS-006.5WB-102
50CMS1856/56 O$15VP-002    WB-103
50CMS1857 MPD$15VP-001    WB-103
50CMS1857 O MPD$15VP-001    WB-102
50CMS1858 DDO$15VP-001    WB-102
50CMS1858 MPD$15VP-002    WB-109
50CMS1858/185 $15VP-003    WB-104
50CMS1858 O MPD$15FS-301    WB-108
50CMS1858 O MPD$15VP-001    WB-104
50CMS1858/8 O MPD$15VP-002    WB-107
50CMS1858/1--8 O MPD$15VP-003    WB-103
50CMS1858 S MPD$15VP-001    WB-103
50CMS1859 O MPD$15VP-001    WB-102
50CMS1861 O NO DRAPERY$15      
50CMS1861 O BUD SPEARED$15VP-001    WB-104, W-14, W-15
50CMS1865/1865 $15FS-301    WB-102
50CMS1866 S NO MOTTO-      
50CMS1866 S MOTTO-      
50CMS1866 MOTTO MPD$15FS-302    WB-102
50CMS1866 S MOTTO MPD$15VP-001    WB-103.1
50CMS1866 S MOTTO MPD$15VP-002    WB-103.2
50CMS1867 S DDR$15VP-001     
50CMS1873 CL 3 NO ARROWS-     WB-101
50CMS1873/73 CL 3 NO ARROWS$15VP-002    WB-105
50CMS1873 OP 3 NO ARROWS-      
50CMS1873 CC NO ARROWS-      
50CMS1873 ARROWS-      
50CMS1873 DDO ARROWS$15FS-1101VP-001  FS-007.1WB-109
50CMS1873 CC ARROWS-      
50CMS1876 TYPE 1 REV$15      
50CMS1876/1876 TYPE 1 REV$15FS-301VP-001  FS-007.4WB-106
50CMS1876/76 TYPE 1 REV$15FS-302    WB-105
50CMS1876 MPD TYPE 1 REV$15FS-303VP-002  FS-007.3 
50CMS1876 MPD TYPE 1 REV$15VP-003    WB-103
50CMS1876 TYPE 2 REV$15  B-4998   
50CMS1876 CC LARGE CC$15     WB-103
50CMS1876 S TYPE 1 REV$15  B-4999, B-5000   
50CMS1876 S/S TYPE 1 REV$15VP-001    WB-102, WB-18
50CMS1876 S TYPE 2 REV$15  B-5001, B-5002   
50CMS1877 TYPE 1 REV$15  B-5007   
50CMS1877 T1/T2 REV$15VP-001    WB-102
50CMS1877 TYPE 2 REV$15      
50CMS1877/6 TYPE 2 REV$15FS-301     
50CMS1877 CC TYPE 1 REV$15  B-5017, B-5018   
50CMS1877 CC TYPE 2 REV$15  B-5019 to B-5022   
50CMS1877 S TYPE 1 REV$15  B-5009 to B-5013   
50CMS1877 S/S TYPE 1 REV$15VP-001    WB-103
50CMS1877 S TYPE 2 REV$15  B-5014 to B-5016   
50CPF1839 NO DRAPERY-      
50CPF1839 DRAPERY-      
50CPF1866 NO MOTTO-      
50CPF1866 MOTTO-      
50CPF1873 CL 3 NO ARROWS-      
50CPF1873 ARROWS-      

* In order to have the above varieties requiring the $15 fee designated by NGC, VarietyPlus service must be requested at time of grading. VarietyPlus service is also available for coins already encapsulated by NGC. For coins where the fee column is blank, no VarietyPlus charge is required to have your coin designated during grading. For coins marked $15, a $15 surcharge applies to the tier fee during grading, or a $15 fee applies to have the VarietyPlus designation added to any coin already graded and encapsulated by NGC.
Bugert, Bill. A Register of Liberty Seated Half Dollar Varieties, Volume I, San Francisco Branch Mint. Author, Gettysburg, PA, 2009
Bugert, Bill. A Register of Liberty Seated Half Dollar Varieties, Volume II, Carson City Branch Mint. Author, Gettysburg, PA, 2010
Fivaz, Bill & J.T. Stanton, Ken Potter, Editor. The Cherrypickers' Guide to Rare Die Varieties, 5th Edition, Volume 2. Whitman Publishing, Atlanta, 2012
Wiley, Randy & Bill Bugert. The Complete Guide to Liberty Seated Half Dollars. DLRC Press, Virginia Beach, VA, 1993