A large bust of Liberty faces left, with stars and the date at the margins. The reverse features an eagle with spread wings. For many decades, the obverse design was attributed to William Kneass, but Gobrecht was almost certainly the engraver, as the portrait bears close resemblance to the gold eagle also introduced in 1838. Struck in silver with a reeded edge and medal turn.
On the obverse a bust of Liberty faces left with seven stars to the left and six to the right. Liberty wears a diadem and a ribbon inscribed LIBERTY. The date is below the bust. On the reverse an eagle flies in a plain field with the statutory legend UNITED STATES OF AMERICA around, and the denomination HALF DOLLAR below. Struck in silver with a reeded edge. Heavily cracked on the reverse, indicating a restrike from later decades (1850s through 1870s).