Goldberg Coins and Collectibles

Sale 32

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Lot 1610

1855-O Liberty Seated Half Dime. NGC graded MS-68 Star. Gorgeous blue, gold and lilac toning on both sides. A near perfect coin except for a small break in the luster under the first 5 in the date. Pop 1; none higher. The best graded by PCGS is a single MS66.

Blame it on California. Yes, by 1853 the virtual flood of gold pouring into New York and other cities from the gold rush out West, had struck down the price of gold as priced in silver dollars. As a result, the price of silver, reckoned in gold dollars, actually increased by comparison. In short order, the value of silver coins exceeded face value, and large meltings occured. Few understood how to deal with the lack of silver coins in circulation As a stop-gap measure, Mint Director Eckert proposed reducing the silver content of each dollar worth of coins from 412.5 grains to 384 grains. Congress went along with his plan, and President Millard Fillmore signed into law a coinage act on February 21, 1853. Eckert had little warning to prepare new designs, yet it was important to differentiate between the reduced weight coins from the prior heavier standard. Eckert put arrows on each side of the date, and ordered Longacre, the chief engraver in those days, to prepare dies as expeditiously as possible for half dimes through half dollars. (Inexplicably, the silver dollar was not included in the silver weight reduction.) By 1855, when this lovely half dime was produced, mintage had declined with the fall off in retrieval of old tenor silver, which partly explains why this date is scarcer than 1853 or 1854 in high grades.

A die break connects all but the first three stars.
Estimated Value $25,000 - 30,000.

Realized $28,750

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