William Barber's Seated Liberty design. She faces left, with a shield in her right hand and free-standing Liberty pole behind. The reverse is the same design used to coin contemporary regular-issue half dimes. Struck in silver with a reeded edge. About a dozen are known.
The Transitional half dime, featuring the With Stars obverse as used from 1839 through 1859--but dated 1860--combined with the Cereal Wreath reverse used in 1860 and subsequently. Struck in silver with a reeded edge.
This is a popular pattern issue that is collected by many Seated Liberty aficionados alongside the regular-issue series. The usual mintage given is 100 pieces. As quoted in Pollock, Heritage cataloger Mark Van Winkle writes that all specimens show a "characteristic die scratch from the left base of the rock to the rim." Seated Liberty half dime expert Al Blythe writes in his reference, "This transitional is one of two in the Half Dime series that bear no statutory legend, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. Reports surface periodically regarding the existence of proofs, but I suspect with only 100 coins struck that there was almost no die wear and all coins minted were proof-like and sharply struck."
MS64 $4,312.50 (Jan 6, 2009 HA.com)
1863 H10C Half Dime, Judd-323, Pollock-388, R.7
Both obverse and reverse dies are the designs used on regular-issue coinage for the year. Struck in copper with a reeded edge. Traditionally listed as a die-trial mintage, Judd-323 is now believed to be a restrike issue. The USPatterns.com website elaborates: "... these are actually restrikes deliberately made in the early 1870s and sold as part of complete off-metal sets with the silver coinage of this year containing quarter, half dollar, and dollar [pieces] which had the reverses of 1866 with the motto 'IN GOD WE TRUST' above the eagle."
Perhaps a dozen examples of Judd-323 are believed extant in all grades.
PR65 Red and Brown $5,175.00 (Jan 6, 2009 HA.com)
1865 H10C Half Dime, Judd-420, Pollock-492, R.7
The obverse die features the Liberty Seated motif used on regular coinage for 1865. The reverse die is likewise the regular-issue wreath design. Struck in copper with a reeded edge.
Commentary. Like so many other patterns from this period, this "regular-dies trial piece" was probably made for sale to collectors. The issue is extremely rare, however. USPatterns.com estimates that fewer than six examples are extant. Describing another specimen in the June Sale (Stack's, 6/1986, lot 497), the cataloger noted that this issue averages one auction appearance every four years. A search of auction records at Heritage reveals that we have handled no examples in the last decade.
PR66 Red and Brown $8,050.00 (Jan 6, 2009 HA.com)
1869 H10C Half Dime, Judd-694, Pollock-773, R.8
Produced with regular-issue half dime dies. A seated Liberty holds a pole and cap in her left hand while a shield with a ribbon inscribed with the word LIBERTY rests against her. UNITED STATES OF AMERICA encircles the obverse periphery, with the date in exergue. ONE DIME is within an ornate wreath on the reverse. Struck in nickel with a reeded edge.
Rare! Rated R.8 by Judd, while according to USPatterns.com, "about a half dozen" examples are known. The latter resource suggests that these pieces were not technically die trials, but rather were deliberately struck to be sold to collectors, possibly as part of complete off-metal sets. This piece, Judd-694, is the smaller counterpart of Judd-720, the Seated dime variant, but is slightly rarer. Pollock (1994) references a letter from Fred Weinberg to Abe Kosoff dated October 1, 1974, which reports the existence of both thick and thin planchet strikings for Judd-694. The thick flans weighed 25.8 grains, whereas the thin planchets came in at 18.4 grains, according to Weinberg. The current offering was previously documented at 19.3 grains and, as such, is considered a thin planchet example.
Design. A seated Liberty faces left while supporting a shield with a scroll inscribed with LIBERTY on her right side and holding an olive branch in her left hand. A crudely fashioned cap and pole are suspended in the background. UNITED STATES / OF AMERICA occupies the periphery with the date, 1870, in exergue. A regular 1870 half dime reverse die was used to strike the Judd-815 through Judd-820 patterns. HALF DIME is enclosed within a wreath of corn, wheat, oak, and maple, tied with a bow at the bottom. Struck in copper with a plain edge.
Commentary. Pattern researchers believe that less than 12 Judd-818 survivors exist today. By way of relatively fewer varieties and lower production totals, the half dime patterns of 1870 are far scarcer than the dimes, quarters, and fifty cent pieces of the same year. As one example, there are 16 half dime pattern varieties dated 1870, against a total of 51 dime issues.
PR67 Red and Brown $4,887.50 (Jan 6, 2009 HA.com)
1870 H10C Half Dime, Judd-819, Pollock-909, High R.7
Design. A seated Liberty faces left while supporting a shield with a scroll inscribed with LIBERTY on her right side and holding an olive branch in her left hand. A crudely fashioned cap and pole are suspended in the background. UNITED STATES / OF AMERICA occupies the periphery with the date, 1870, in exergue. A regular 1870 half dime reverse die was used to strike the Judd-815 through Judd-820 patterns. HALF DIME is enclosed within a wreath of corn, wheat, oak, and maple, tied with a bow at the bottom. Struck in aluminum with a reeded edge.
Commentary. The acquisition of a Judd-819 pattern--currently considered a High R.7 variety with less than six examples known--in any condition is cause to celebrate. Pollock identified a mere three specimens in his 1994 pattern treatise, inclusive of the piece offered here. The Dannreuther-Garrett compilation of auction records between 1990 and 2005 failed to record a single instance of a Judd-819 pattern--an astonishing testimonial to the absolute rarity of this issue--and the current sale marks the first auction appearance of this variety in 20 years.
PR67 Ultra Cameo $20,700.00 (Jan 6, 2009 HA.com)
1870 H10C Half Dime, Judd-821, Pollock-911, High R.7
Design. Judd-821 to Judd-824 patterns are actually trial pieces struck from regular dies, but on copper, aluminum, or nickel planchets. As such, the design is identical to a regular issue 1870 Seated half dime; Liberty, holding a pole and cap in her left hand, sits on a rock while supporting a shield and a ribbon bearing her name. UNITED STATES OF AMERICA circles the obverse periphery, with the date below. The reverse features the denomination HALF DIME within an ornate wreath of corn, wheat, maple, and oak leaves. Struck in copper with a reeded edge.
Commentary. Technically speaking, Judd-821 is a die trial, although it is generally referred to as a pattern. The current offering is one of seven patterns purchased at the March 1973 Stack's auction of the Reed Hawn Collection, and every piece was of the half dime denomination. Each example is of unusually high quality and the current offering is not an exception.
PR66 Red and Brown $6,325.00 (Jan 6, 2009 HA.com)
1872 H10C Half Dime, Judd-1192, Pollock-1332, R.8
Design. The regular dies for the 1872 Seated Liberty half dime. Struck in aluminum with a reeded edge.
Commentary. Like some previous years, all of the regular-issue proof coins of 1872 were struck in various off-metals, most notably in copper and aluminum. The off-metal coins are all extremely rare, and the prospect of forming a complete collection in any single metal is slim at best.
The last auction appearance for Judd-1192, according to Dave Bowers in the ninth edition of Judd, was when this coin appeared in the March 1977 Stack's sale. Collectors have waited patiently for 30 years to acquire an example of the variety. Pollock recorded a second example, from the Farouk sale in 1954 that reappeared in M.H. Bolender's sale of October 1955. If the Queller specimen and the Farouk coin are the same, then we would conclude that Judd-1192 is unique. At USPatterns.com, Saul Teichman states "fewer than 3 examples confirmed."
PR65 Cameo $11,500.00 (Jan 6, 2009 HA.com)
1870 H10C Half Dime, Judd-817, Pollock-906, R.6
A seated figure of Liberty faces left with a globe. An unsupported liberty pole appears to impale her left (facing) arm. The reverse is the same design used to coin regular issue 1870 half dimes. Struck in copper with a reeded edge.
A seated Liberty faces left while supporting a shield with a scroll inscribed with LIBERTY on her right side and holding an olive branch in her left hand. A crudely fashioned cap and pole are suspended in the background. UNITED STATES / OF AMERICA occupies the periphery with the date, 1870, in exergue. A regular 1870 half dime reverse die was used to strike the Judd-815 through Judd-820 patterns. HALF DIME is enclosed within a wreath of corn, wheat, oak, and maple, tied with a bow at the bottom. Struck in copper with a reeded edge.
More patterns were produced in 1870 than any other year in the history of the U.S. Mint. In fact, more than 250 different varieties are documented for the year. The large selection of patterns includes certain issues that have a questionable status, including the current offering. If no new half dime designs were being contemplated for circulation, then why would the Mint produce several variations of the denomination in a range of metals and edge types? The most plausible explanation is collector demand.
PR66 Red and Brown $3,450.00 (Jan 6, 2009 HA.com) PR66 Red and Brown $3,220.00 (Jun 26, 2008 HA.com)
1869 H10C Half Dime, Judd-692, Pollock-771, High R.7
Trial piece for the half dime struck from regular dies. Struck in copper with a reeded edge. According to the USPatterns.com website: "These were actually deliberately struck for sale to collectors as part of complete off-metal sets."
Regular die trials issue of both the obverse and reverse. Struck in aluminum with a reeded edge. According to the USPatterns.com website: "These were deliberately struck to show how easily aluminum coined and for sale to collectors in cased sets several of which are still in existence."
Regular issue die trial. Struck in copper with a reeded edge. As pointed out on the USPatterns.com website, this die trial is struck from an obverse die with the broken D in UNITED and may be a backdated novodel.
PR67 Red and Brown $5,175.00 (Apr 26, 2006 HA.com)
1871 H10C Half Dime, Judd-1071, Pollock-1207, High R.7
From regular issue dies with a reeded edge, but in struck in copper. This dies trial piece was most likely originally offered as part of a denomination set in copper to a local dealer, such as John Haseltine.
PR63 Brown $3,220.00 (Mar 2, 2006 HA.com)
1840 H10C J-A1840-2, P-3070, R.8 Die Trial
Obverse of the regular Liberty Seated motif, with drapery, but see below. Struck in white metal. In Dave Bowers' revision of the Judd reference, he noted that this particular variety was unconfirmed and "believed to be a misdescription" of the similar Half Dime splasher. This Dime splasher can now be confirmed for future editions of the Judd reference. Tooling marks around the central motif were probably done at the time this piece was made, and not at a later date. It appears that there may have actually been drapery at Liberty's elbow, then tooled off the splasher for some reason.
The reverse die is regular issue, but the obverse has a different rendition of the seated Liberty. She supports a shield and a banner labeled LIBERTY. A liberty cap rests atop a pole that passes behind (not through) Liberty's arm. Struck in silver with a plain edge.