US Coins

Market Analysis: Moving Mint mark can be found on 1872-S half dimes

Two Mint mark placements are seen on 1872-S Seated Liberty half dimes. An 1872-S Mint Mark Below Bow half dime graded MS-66 sold for $870 while an 1872-S Mint Mark Above Bow example in MS-65 brought $840 as part of the Henry Collection of Liberty Seated Half Dimes. Both carried green CAC stickers.

Images courtesy of Heritage Auctions

There are two distinct reverse subtypes of the 1872-S Seated Liberty half dime: one has the Mint mark above the bow and another has the “S” below the bow.

The “Above Bow” Mint mark placement was used on San Francisco Mint half dimes between 1870 and 1872. It was moved to below the bow for some of the 1872 issue and for all of the 1873-S Seated Liberty half dimes, which marked the final year of the silver half dime denomination.

The mintage of 837,000 coins reported for the 1872-S half dime includes examples of both types, and both are widely available in Mint State grades.

The Henry Collection included both subtypes: an 1872-S Seated Liberty Mint Mark Below Bow half dime graded Professional Coin Grading Service MS-66 with a green Certified Acceptance Corp. sticker sold for $870, while an 1872-S Mint Mark Above Bow half dime graded PCGS MS-65 with a green CAC sticker realized $840.

Of the two, the offered 1872-S Mint Mark Above Bow half dime is particularly interesting as it was struck from boldly clashed dies. Stack’s Bowers explains, “Impressions from the letters ME in DIME are evident on the obverse at Liberty’s left elbow and the end of the pole, [and] traces of the horizontal lines in the shield can be seen on the reverse at the letters HA in HALF.

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