Description and Analysis

Seated Liberty Half Dimes
1837 SEATED H10C MS

Description & Analysis

Christian Gobrecht's Seated Liberty figure debuted on the limited issue of silver dollars dated 1836, but these were little seen by the public. For most Americans this design was not known until it was adapted to dimes and half dimes in the summer of 1837.

The first mintage of 1837 Seated Liberty Half Dimes occurred July 25, and these early pieces featured the so-called Large Date with its pointed top to numeral 1. As the first variety to appear, these coins comprise the majority of surviving Mint State examples. The Small Date (photos) emission came later and was not as widely saved, as the novelty of a new coin type had already dissipated. Even so, a fair number of Mint State examples are known, this condition caused in large part by a nationwide depression that drove gold and silver coins from circulation until better times returned.

Most coins of this date were well struck, though the border denticles are often incomplete. Die erosion and clashing is frequently evident on surviving coins as unevenness in the fields and raised, inverted impressions of the opposite die. The example illustrated displays a prominent die break along the outside of Liberty's left leg.

A popular variety is the Large Date die having all four numerals of the date repunched north of the first impression, which was touching the denticles.