1877 50C Half Dollar, Judd-1528, Pollock-1696, High R.7
The central device of the obverse die is a helmeted head of Liberty facing left, with the motto IN GOD WE TRUST above and 1877 below. The helmet has a prominent crest, an embossed eagle design, and a visor with LIBERTY inscribed in incuse letters. Thirteen peripheral stars are arranged seven to the left and six to the right. The reverse features a small heraldic eagle, clutching arrows and an olive branch. The legend UNITED STATES OF AMERICA arcs above and the denomination HALF DOLLAR below. E PLURIBUS UNUM is inscribed above the eagle's head. Struck in silver with a reeded edge.
Barber's intricate obverse design was apparently inspired by a sketch drawn by Christian Gobrecht in the late 1830s, when he was chief engraver at the Mint. Andrew Pollock notes that this drawing of Liberty wearing a Corinthian style helmet with an embossed eagle is illustrated in the article "From the Drawingboard of a Coin-Engraver" by Elvira Clain-Stefanelli.
PR65 Cameo $43,125.00 (Jan 6, 2009 HA.com)
1877 50C Barber's Liberty Head Half Dollar, Judd-1526, Pollock-1694, High R.7
These dies are attributed to William Barber. The obverse has a head of Liberty facing left, wearing a crested helmet inscribed LIBERTY with an eagle as part of the design. Above is the motto IN GOD WE TRUST with seven stars left, six right, and the date below. The reverse is the same design described for Judd-1524. Struck in silver with a reeded edge. This is an impressive Gem with pale gold and iridescent toning over silver surfaces. It is an excellent specimen for its cameo contrast on both sides, the lustrous designs surrounded by deeply mirrored fields. Only four examples of this pattern issue are currently known.