Description and Analysis

Seated Liberty Half Dollars
1873 CL 3 NO ARROWS 50C MS

Description & Analysis

The first half dollar coinage of 1873 at the Philadelphia Mint consisted of coins lacking the opposed arrow heads at the date which would characterize most of this year's silver coins. That feature was added fairly early on, resulting in a lower mintage for the No Arrows issue, particularly since many of the coins already struck were withheld from release and subsequently melted as obsolete. Examples are scarce across all grades, becoming genuinely rare at the Mint State level.

Most of the No Arrows halves were coined with the original date punch of 1873 on which the knobs of numeral 3 were so close together as to resemble an 8. When the chief coiner complained about this feature for all denominations, the existing punches were cut away to make the knobs smaller and thus more distant from one another. This correction was made just before the addition of arrowheads at the date, and the variety of No Arrows half dollar having the Open 3 is very rare.

A total of seven die marriages are known for all 1873(P) No Arrows half dollars, these from seven obverse dies and five reverses. Six of these pairings feature the Close 3 seen here. Three obverse varieties are known---two repunched dates (WB-104, also VP-002, WB-105) and a misplaced date (WB-103) showing the top of a numeral eight within the denticles.

Two collars are known for 1873(P) half dollars of all varieties, these having either 144 or 145 reeds.