US Coins

Market Analysis: So many die cracks on 1840 half dime

The U.S. Mint was still figuring out how to successfully adapt Christian Gobrecht’s Seated Liberty design to various denominations in 1840.

The Bender Family Collection’s 1840 Seated Liberty, No Drapery at Elbow half dime — offered at auction at Heritage’s May 3 Platinum Night session — shows significant die cracks on the obverse, evidence of a broken die that continued to strike coins.

Graded Mint State 68, the finest certified by Professional Coin Grading Service and carrying a green Certified Acceptance Corp. sticker, it is also an interesting variety, listed as Flynn-RPD-001 in Kevin Flynn’s reference.

A vertical bisecting die crack goes from the top of Liberty’s head through the 8 in the date, while another crack moves towards Liberty’s pole-holding arm. The 18 in the date is lightly repunched.

Heritage observed on its interesting color, “Both sides of this amazing half dime exhibit bold striking details with exceptional luster and beautiful multi-hued toning that includes gold, violet, pale green, and light blue.”

It realized $42,000. 

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