thatcoinguy's Blog

09 Feb 2023

The 1870-S Half Dime

Coins-United States | thatcoinguy

1870 was an interesting year for low mintage coins, and the half dime denomination is no exception. This coin has only one known example (although there may be two, more on that later in the blog). Designed by James B. Longcare, this coin's design is that of all of the Seated Liberty coinage of this era.

For those who say cherry picking a dealer's stock is impossible or not profitable, the 1870-S half dime is certainly an example. In early 1978, the only known example of an 1870-S half dime was discovered and sold at a coin shop as a common type coin. There are varied accounts as to how the coin was actually sold, but I will share the most common three. Some say it was discovered in a "junk tray," and others say it was discovered in a "junk box." Still others claim it was bought over the counter as an example of the type. Whatever the case, the coin is certainly one to know about.

I mentioned earlier that there may be another example in existence, and now I'll share why. The second San Francisco mint was built in 1870, and it is believed by some that an example of each denomination was struck by the San Francisco mint and placed into the cornerstone of the then new mint. If these coins were discovered, they would make national headlines inside and outside of numismatic circles because both the 1870-S half dime and the 1870-S three dollar gold piece have (purported) mintages of one, so another example being discovered would make quite the news story.

Keep collecting,


Image Credit: PCGS


AC Coin$🌎

Level 6

Curious coin. Interesting, some of us would love to have such coin. Nice.


Level 6

Great coin to write a blog about. I love all the San Francisco struck coins. That sure would be a great find. Corner stone coins. Good job. Keep them coming.


Level 7

I think I told you before You should pick one of your coins and write an article on it. I enjoyed this one also. And Long Beard I don't know if they ever found the corner stone of the white house after renovations! Putting coins in the corner stone was a great idea!! Just like the 1909 V.D.B. on the front of the mars rover. Keep these blogs coming!!

Long Beard

Level 5

A specific date worthy of a blog subject, and well researched. Everything about the San Francisco struck coinage of that year is shrouded in mystery, rumors and tales. To my knowledge, they still are uncertain as to the exact location of said cornerstone within the old structure.

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