Description and Analysis

Seated Liberty Half Dollars
1873 ARROWS 50C PF

Description & Analysis

Among the least significant aspects of the Mint Act of 1873 was an extremely small increase in the weight of the fractional silver coins. This was a meaningless gesture toward acceptance of the Metric System of measurement by raising the half dollar's weight to exactly 12.5 grams and those of its divisions in proportion. As in 1853-55 the Mint denoted this change with the addition of opposed arrowheads at either side of the date.

Though Walter Breen's proof encyclopedia repeats Harry X Boosel's figure of 550 proof half dollars with arrows, the Red Book's mintage of 800 is probably more accurate, at least with respect to the number coined versus the number actually sold. Though comparable in rarity to other proof half dollars of the period, this edition is more highly sought as a two-year-only subtype. A fair number of Cameo pieces have been certified, but Ultra Cameo proofs are quite rare.

The arrowheads are smaller than those used 1853-55, though in a relative sense the 1873 proofs have the larger of two sizes seen during 1873-74. All of the proofs are of this variety, while those of 1874 have the smaller arrowheads.