The obverse has a head of Liberty with six stars to the left, seven to the right, and the date below. Liberty wears a wide banded cap with the word LIBERTY, her hair tied back with a ribbon. The cap is garnished by wheat and cotton. The reverse has an eagle on a shield inside a band that carries the dual mottoes IN GOD WE TRUST and E PLURIBUS UNUM. Around is the legend UNITED STATES OF AMERICA with the denomination HALF DOLLAR below. Struck in silver with a reeded edge.
Among 1877 pattern half dollars, this variety is more plentiful than most, with eight different examples currently known, according to Saul Teichman's notes, including one example of Pollock-1692 with the second 7 in the date closer to the border, from a different obverse die. On this Pollock-1690 obverse the second 7 is distant from the denticles.
The central figure of the obverse is a bust of Liberty facing left. Liberty wears a cap with a wide band, and her hair is confined by a ribbon. The band of the cap is inscribed LIBERTY and is adorned with wheat and cotton. An array of 13 stars surrounds the bust, and the date is below. The reverse features an eagle, displayed on a shield, clutching an olive branch and three arrows. A circular band is visible behind the shield, with the Gothic inscriptions "In God We trust" and "e pluribus unum." The peripheral inscriptions are UNITED STATES OF AMERICA and HALF DOLLAR. Struck in copper with a reeded edge.
Barber's distinctive obverse design was later used on the Goloid pattern dollars of 1878-1880. There are two varieties of Judd-1525, which Andrew Pollock designated as Pollock-1691 and 1693. The present coin is an example of the former designation, characterized by the second 7 in the date being distant from the dentils. USPatterns.com currently traces eight examples of Pollock-1691 (see the website for detailed census information).