US Coins

Inside Coin World: 1839 Seated Liberty halves

The Seated Liberty design made its debut on the half dollar denomination in 1839, and almost immediately, required a design tweak. The result: the No Drapery and With Drapery designs.

Original images courtesy of Heritage Auctions.

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Coin Values Spotlight: 1839 Seated Liberty half dollars

The Seated Liberty half dollar replaced the Capped Bust design in circulation in mid-1839, a continuation of the Mint’s efforts at updating the designs of the silver coinage. However, Mint officials decided to tweak the new Seated Liberty design on all denominations early on, though the process used to change the half dollar differed from the way the design for the other denominations was changed.

As I write in my “Coin Values Spotlight” column, the results were the No Drapery and With Drapery subtypes for the 1839 Seated Liberty half dollar. After striking an unknown number of 1839 Seated Liberty, No Drapery half dollars, Mint staff added some drapery to Liberty’s left arm to create the Drapery version.

Roughly equal numbers of both subtypes survive, but the popularity of the No Drapery version as a one-year subtype drives prices higher than for the Drapery version. Read more about this interesting coin in the column found exclusively in the print and digital editions of the Nov. 12 issue of Coin World.

A commemorative few collectors wanted

Scott Schechter writes about the 2001 U.S. Capitol Visitor Center commemorative coin program in his “Making Moderns” column in the Nov. 12 issue. When the legislation was originally introduced, hobby leaders and collectors almost universally panned the idea as nothing more than an effort to fund a congressional project with money from the collecting community.

Scott writes that the hobby community was successful in fighting off the original legislation, but Congress came back with a new version and passed this one anyway, with the coins introduced in a year with no real anniversary significance. Sales of the coin were low.

To read more about this unwanted coin program, read Scott’s column, found only in the print and digital editions of Coin World.

Counterfeit 1893-S Morgan dollar

The 1893-S Morgan dollar is the key to the circulating series, which makes it a prime target for counterfeiters, writes Michael Fahey in his “Detecting Counterfeits” column in the Nov. 12 Coin World. Michael identifies the diagnostics of a fake seen recently at ANACS, and discusses the various ways forgers make fake versions of the coin.

He also discusses some of the diagnostics of the genuine coin and explains what collectors should look for when examining a coin they are offered for purchase.

To learn how to protect yourself from buying a counterfeit 1893-S Morgan dollar, read Michael’s column exclusive to the print and digital issues of Coin World.

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