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CopperCollector's Blog

23 Dec 2021

Seated Liberty Half Dollars

| CopperCollector

The Seated Liberty Half dollar is one of the most popular coins of the seated liberty series. The halves, which shared a design with the half dime through dollar, was as you can see a very popular design. Christian Gobrecht carefully created this beautiful coin. Christian Gobrecht design was originally for the dollar in 1836 but was used in the next four or five years for the rest of the silver coinage. The design which I have already described in some of my other Seated Liberty Coinage posts depicts liberty seated on a rock holding a shield with liberty on it. The date resides underneath liberty, and on latter issues arrows are on either side of the date to signify a weight change due to the gold rush in California. The reverse shows an eagle with UNITED STATES OF AMERICA around it and HALF DOL. under it. Proof coins were all struck at the Philadelphia mint. Mintage records are unknown for dates from 1839-1854 but 15 to 20 are estimated to exist for each year.



A few interesting ship wrecks ,which of course have more gold than silver, occurred during time of the gold rush. The first is the S.S Republic. The S.S Republic headed for New Orleans in 1853. This ship had some $400,000 in gold coins on it and an unknown amount of silver coins. The voyage had been going well until the ran into a hurricane. The huge hurricane was really awful and soon it was apparent that they would have to abandon the ship since the pumps had stopped working. Quickly they got into lifeboats and a while later the S.S Republic sank. Fast forward one hundred and fifty years it is now July of 2003. An under water submarine called ZEUS is looking for this wreck. The first thing the team spotted was the huge wheel. Next lots of coins were found. About thirty thousand silver coins were found in the wreck.


Another one which most of you will probably recognize is the S.S Central America. Along with gold and silver coins there were about 15,500 coins recovered in this expedition. The Central America left it's harbor August 20, 1857 to go to panama. Panama was a good spot to get miners across. They would ride a wagon or train across the narrow stretch of land then board a ship and head back to California. The ship had about $1.2 million on board in coins but with passengers the number would be more like $2 million. Once it left it hit a storm just a few weeks later. The storm then turned into a hurricane. The next day the ship was gaining water and falling apart. Finally, two days after the hurricane hit the boat was evacuated and it. The ship was forgotten then in 1980 a search began. The leader of this search was named Thomas G. Thompson. In September of 1988 a ship called "Arctic Discovery" set out along with another mini sub. Thousands of rare coins have been found in these ship wrecks. Including other coins I have written papers on like Seated Liberty dimes, quarters, halves, dollars. Many gold coins have been found in these wrecks too. Seated Liberty halves have been found in many places and they have the longest United States mint run of dates.

Comments

CheerioCoins

Level 5

Nice history. I have always liked the Seated Liberty Half Dollars. Thanks for sharing!

Great history! I have a seated half, but it's not in great condition.

Long Beard

Level 5

Excellent topic for a blog. I collect by the series, almost always doing one at a time and in descending order. On the half, I'm back to the Walking Liberty missing the key 1916 s. My uncle has a near complete Barber, which I am pretty certain will be mine in the future, so this series is next in line. But I am 2/3 through the Seated dime series by date/mint mark.

Kepi

Level 6

Beautiful coin and nice history lesson! ; )

Longstrider

Level 6

Great coin series. I have a SS Republic one. Lucky me!! Thanks.

Mike

Level 7

Thanks for the info. It is a wonderful coin!

AC coin$

Level 5

Woooow ! Great coin historical , nice blog interesting .

Golfer

Level 5

Would love a bunch of seated coins. I think seated coins might be my favorite design. The seated coins all have some age and are very historical now.

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