Description and Analysis

Seated Liberty Half Dollars
1860 O 50C MS

Description & Analysis

As it had been for the past several years, New Orleans was the biggest producer of half dollars in 1860. This issue is plentiful across all grades short of MS 65, and gems remain quite elusive. Though the typical 1860-O half dollar is well struck, signs of die erosion and overpolishing can deter from their attractiveness. Uncertainty over the outcome of the Civil War and the issue of inflationary paper currency likely led to much hoarding of silver coins, and this probably accounts for the greater availability of this issue with respect to earlier O-Mint halves of similar or higher mintage.

A total of 12 die marriages are presently known for 1860-O half dollars. These resulted from various combinations of seven each obverse and reverse dies. Three of the latter were taken from Type 1 hubs with a short base in letter L in HALF, while the remainder were of the Type 2 hub having a long base to that letter. Type 2 examples are noticeably more scarce, but little interest has been shown by collectors. All 1860-O half dollars were coined with a collar having 140 reeds.

This issue was heavily represented among the thousands of half dollars recovered from the wreck of the steamer Republic, which sank in a storm during 1865. Such coins display varying degrees of saltwater damage.