Seated Liberty Half Dollar Patterns
1863 50C Half Dollar, Judd-342, Pollock-414, Low R.7

The Judd-342 half dollar pattern is identical in design to the proof 1866 With Motto Seated half dollar, but the date is 1863. Struck in silver with a reeded edge. This is a backdated issue, what the Judd reference calls a "transitional pattern produced at the Mint at a later date." USPatterns.com says simply, "these are actually restrikes made circa 1869 and into the early 1870s and offered with restrikes of other denominations in complete sets."

Similar backdated Seated Liberty, With Motto patterns dated 1863 are known for the quarter and dollar denominations as well, with obverse dies left over from the era when the Mint was fiddling with the mottos IN GOD WE TRUST and GOD OUR TRUST. The Lemus Collection lacked a silver specimen of this pattern, although it had the same design in copper (Judd-343). It is estimated that perhaps a dozen examples of this silver pattern exist today.

PR66 $11,500.00 (Sep 10, 2009 HA.com)


1863 50C Half Dollar, Judd-344, Pollock-416, High R.7

A regular issue 1863 obverse is paired with a regular issue (post-1866) With Motto reverse. Although dated 1863, this piece was likely struck in the early 1870s as part of a complete denominational set of 1863 With Motto patterns.

PR64 $10,925.00 (May 28, 2009 HA.com)
1870 50C Half Dollar, Judd-934, Pollock-1040, Low R.7

William Barber's seated figure of Liberty faces left on the obverse. Thirteen stars surround Liberty with the date below. She supports a shield with her right hand, and holds an olive branch in her left. A Liberty pole is behind the shield, and a scroll crossing the shield is inscribed LIBERTY in raised letters. The reverse is the type used for regular issue Seated halves. Struck in silver with a plain edge.

PR66 Cameo $8,625.00 (May 28, 2009 HA.com)
1863 50C Half Dollar, Judd-340, Pollock-412, Low R.6

Similar to the regular issue Seated half dollar of 1863, but the unadorned motto GOD OUR TRUST is present above the eagle. Struck in silver with a reeded edge. These pieces were first mentioned in George Eckfeldt's journal: "Nov 16th 1863 Struck 30 sets of silver "God is our Trust" half dollars and 20 sets of copper for Gov Pollock. Date 1863."

PR63 $1,782.50 (Feb 5, 2009 HA.com)
1862 50C Half Dollar, Judd-294, Pollock-352, Low R.7

The regular-issue Liberty Seated half dollar dies of the year, but with GOD OUR TRUST on a scroll on the reverse. Struck in copper with a reeded edge.

The Judd reference notes that in comparison to the 1861 varieties with GOD OUR TRUST, the 1862-dated patterns are even more plentiful, as sales by Mint officials apparently reached new highs. These coins were revenue producers, and the Mint likely struck as many as could be sold. However, while perhaps two dozen of the silver Judd-293 were struck, at Low R.7 the present copper Judd-294 is far from a plentiful issue, with perhaps a dozen extant.

PR62 Brown $2,070.00 (Jan 6, 2009 HA.com)
1862 50C Half Dollar, Judd-295, Pollock-353, R.5

The regular-issue Liberty Seated half dollar dies of the year, with GOD OUR TRUST on the reverse between the eagle's wings, no scroll. Struck in silver with a reeded edge.

Perhaps two dozen are known in silver. While this makes a pattern to be considered "fairly available," one would do well to remember that if this were a regular-issue U.S. coin, it would be viewed as incredibly rare.

PR63 $2,300.00 (Jan 6, 2009 HA.com)
1863 50C Half Dollar, Judd-338, Pollock-410, R.5

The obverse is the regular Seated Liberty die for 1863; the reverse is like the regular issue, with the addition of GOD OUR TRUST on a scroll above the eagle's head. Struck in silver with a reeded edge.

PR64 Cameo $2,300.00 (Jan 6, 2009 HA.com)
1863 50C Half Dollar, Judd-339, Pollock-411, Low R.6

The obverse die is from the Seated Liberty design used for regular-issue coinage in 1863. The reverse die features the standard perched eagle motif with the addition of a scroll with the motto GOD OUR TRUST inscribed. Struck in copper with a reeded edge.

Judd-339 was part of an ongoing series of experimental patterns started in 1861. The reverse die was first used to strike Judd-277 in 1861. Conventional wisdom says that seven sets of GOD OUR TRUST patterns in silver were struck as originals, and others are restrikes (see commentary under Judd-340). Approximately two dozen examples of Judd-339 are extant today.

PR65 Brown $3,220.00 (Jan 6, 2009 HA.com)
1863 50C Half Dollar, Judd-341, Pollock-413, R.5

The obverse die is from the standard Seated Liberty design used for regular-issue coinage in 1863. The reverse die is similar to the regular-issue design, with the addition of the motto GOD OUR TRUST in the field above the eagle's head. Struck in copper with a reeded edge.

The experimentation at the Mint with the GOD OUR TRUST motto provided many dies for new marriages, and the lax Mint discipline under free-wheeling Director Henry R. Linderman produced a flood of new pattern issues, many of them strictly numismatic delicacies with no true pattern intent. This is one such, a restrike issue created for sale to collectors in the 1870s.

PR63 Brown $2,645.00 (Jan 6, 2009 HA.com)
1863 50C Half Dollar, Judd-343, Pollock-415, R.7

The obverse die is the design used on regular-issue half dollars in 1863. The reverse features the normal perched eagle design, with the addition of the scroll and motto IN GOD WE TRUST above the eagle's head. Struck in copper, with a reeded edge.

According to USPatterns.com, Judd-343 was a restrike issue, created for sale to collectors in the 1870s. The coins were typically offered with other denominations as year sets. An early auction appearance of such a set was in the Woodside Collection (New York Coin & Stamp, 4/1892), lot 131. The Woodside sale also included complete sets in silver and aluminum. The issue is rare, with an estimated population of about one dozen survivors.

PR63 Red and Brown Cameo $4,600.00 (Jan 6, 2009 HA.com)
1865 50C Half Dollar, Judd-431, Pollock-504

The obverse features the familiar Liberty Seated design used for regular-issue coinage in 1865. The reverse design consists of the traditional perched eagle motif, with the addition of the scroll and motto IN GOD WE TRUST. The reverse design was not adopted for regular coinage of this denomination until 1866. Struck in aluminum with a reeded edge.

It is possible that Judd-431 was struck in 1865 as a die trial piece, but it seems unlikely. There is no discernible reason to test the transitional pattern dies in such an exotic and expensive metal in 1865. Walter Breen noted that the obverse die was different from any of the regular-issue No Motto proofs produced in that year. It is most likely that Judd-431 is a fantasy piece, created for sale to collectors at a later date.

Whatever its origin, the extreme rarity of this issue is not in doubt. Andrew Pollock, the latest Judd reference, and USPatterns.com all list this coin as unique. Robert Coulton Davis was aware of the issue and listed it as number 198 in his pioneering work on patterns in 1885. There was no example of Judd-431 in the R.C. Davis Collection (New York Coin and Stamp, 1/1890) at the time it was sold. Davis must have known about the coin from another source. The piece was also missing from the Parmelee Collection, Woodin's consignment at the 1914 ANS Exhibition, the King Farouk Collection, and the Lohr Collection.

A search of auction records has uncovered only two appearances in the last century, the last more than 24 years ago. It is clear that this issue has been underestimated in the past.

PR66 Cameo $46,000.00 (Jan 6, 2009 HA.com)
1865 50C Half Dollar, Judd-429, Pollock-502, Low R.7

The obverse die is the traditional Liberty Seated design adopted for regular coinage in 1865. The reverse features the familiar perched eagle with scroll and motto above that was adopted for regular issues in 1866. Struck in silver with a reeded edge.

USPatterns.com acknowledges that some examples of Judd-429 may be legitimate transitional patterns, but concludes that most specimens were struck for sale to collectors at a later date. Experts estimate a population of perhaps one dozen survivors. Don Taxay mentions a notation in the Mason and Company catalog of June 1870 that states that only three pieces were struck. It is possible that the three pieces referred to were true prototypes, while the remaining nine or so pieces represent later restrikes.

PR64 $9,200.00 (Jan 6, 2009 HA.com)
1865 50C Half Dollar, Judd-430, Pollock-503, High R.6

The obverse design is the familiar Liberty Seated motif used in regular-issue coinage in 1865. The reverse is similar to the regular die, with the addition of the scroll and motto that would be adopted in 1866. Struck in copper with a reeded edge.

One of the earliest auction appearances of this issue was in the Fewsmith Sale (Mason, 10/1870, lot 1329). The lot was purchased by "Stone" for three dollars. Lot 1330 in the sale was a transitional quarter pattern in copper. In the description for the transitional quarter, the cataloger discussed all the pattern denominations. He reported that only 10 pieces were struck of each denomination in copper, except for the dollar, which had five examples struck. This figure of 10 struck accords well with the modern estimate of fewer than one dozen survivors. According to USPatterns.com, many of the "transitional" pattern pieces were restruck as numismatic delicacies circa 1870.

PR66 Red and Brown $6,900.00 (Jan 6, 2009 HA.com)
1873 50C Half Dollar, Judd-1272, Pollock-1414, High R.7

From regular issue No Arrows Seated half dies, but struck in copper with a reeded edge. Often called dies trial pieces, but since examples are known for all denominations with this date, it seems likely that a few copper proof sets were struck for sale to collectors. Those sets were presumably broken up long ago.

PR66 Red $9,775.00 (Jan 6, 2009 HA.com)
1875 50C Half Dollar, Judd-1418, Pollock-1561, R.7

Struck from the regular dies for the 1875 half dollar. Struck in copper with a reeded edge. The complete set of off-metal pieces from the regular coinage series for 1875 includes 14 coins from the cent to the double eagle in copper, and 14 more in aluminum. They are all extremely rare, and any attempt to form a complete set would probably take a lifetime. David Queller collected pattern coins for 40 years, and only obtained five of the 28 possible pieces.

PR64 Red Cameo $10,925.00 (Jan 6, 2009 HA.com)
1858 P50C Half Dollar, Judd-223A, Pollock-267, R.8

The two known Judd-223A patterns were created through the marriage of two Paquet Perched Eagle reverse dies, although one was extensively ground, thus removing approximately 75% of the detail. Struck in copper with a reeded edge.

Judd-223A is perhaps one of the oddest patterns of any date and, until the eighth edition of United States Pattern Coins by Judd, was listed under Appendix A: Die and Hub Trials in the same reference. The age-old question regarding this peculiar pattern--or, more accurately, "fantasy piece"--is which die was ground to create the near-uniface side. The latest edition of Judd (2005) states that the ground side is "possibly Reverse B of 1859, but this has not been confirmed." This suggestion is logical since Reverse B is the "broken ribbon" version of Paquet's Perched Eagle die, and the opposite side of Judd-223A is the "perfect ribbon" variation. Given the limited quantity of pieces struck from Paquet's dies, we can safely assume that only one die of each version was prepared.

Because little detail was spared when the die was effaced, past researchers have only speculated that it could be the "broken ribbon" variety. Using computer overlay technology, the catalogers of this sale are confident that the ground die is indeed Reverse B, or the "broken ribbon" variety. The key diagnostic is the positional relationship of DOLLAR to the dentils. Further proof is found in the differing styles of the olive branch leaves. Now that the effaced die has been positively identified, a new questions begs to be answered: Why was one die cancelled, as opposed to simply being discarded, and were the two dies married for a purpose, or are they truly fantasy pieces? These mysteries, unfortunately, may never be solved.

Only two examples of Judd-223A are known. The Cox piece, which was unknown to Pollock, is permanently impounded in the Smithsonian Institution. Taxay (1975) also considered this to be a unique die trial. The USPatterns.com website provides a provenance which corrects the information documented in Pollock's 1994 treatise. The current offering is plated in both Judd and Pollock.

PR63 Brown $17,250.00 (Jan 6, 2009 HA.com)
1861 P50C Seated Half, Judd-280, Pollock-331, Low R.7

1861 P50C Seated Half, Judd-280, Pollock-331, Low R.7, PR65 Red and Brown PCGS. A With Motto half dollar that is similar to the as-struck Seated half, except the motto GOD OUR TRUST is set directly into the upper reverse field. Struck in copper with a reeded edge. Obviously struck at some time later than 1861 as the suggestion for a motto on coinage was not made until 1863.

PR65 Red and Brown $6,900.00 (Aug 9, 2007 HA.com)
1862 50C Half Dollar, Judd-293, Pollock-351, R.5

A standard issue Seated half obverse is paired with a pattern reverse, as issued save for GOD OUR TRUST within a banner on the field above the eagle. Struck in silver with a reeded edge.

PR58 $1,725.00 (Jul 31, 2009 HA.com)
1870 50C Half Dollar, Judd-933, Pollock-1039, Low R.7

The obverse portrays a seated figure of Liberty with shield and olive branch. A scroll is draped over the shield, with the word LIBERTY inscribed, and a Liberty pole stands behind the shield. Thirteen stars surround the central devices, with the date in the exergue. The reverse is the design used for regular-issue coinage in 1870. Struck in silver with a reeded edge.

The obverse die is one of the most appealing creations of William Barber, a beautiful adaptation of the Seated Liberty concept. The coins were produced for sale to collectors as part of complete silver sets. These sets were popular items at the time, and their sale probably provides the precedent for many of the specialty items the Mint offers to collectors today. An early appearance of such a set was in the Parmelee Collection (New York Coin & Stamp, 6/1890), lot 206, "1870 complete set 3c. to Dollar: heavily draped female figure seated l., holding shield and olive branch. Barber's design. R same as each of regular issue: silver: proofs: rare; 6 pcs." USPatterns.com estimates approximately one dozen specimens are extant.

PR64 Cameo $4,887.50 (Jan 6, 2009 HA.com)
Source for information and pictures courtesy of  Heritage Coin Auctions
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