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CAPPED BUST HALF DOLLARS (1807-1839)
Capped Bust Half Dollar

Capped Bust Half Dollars - John Reich, the former indentured servant, designed the Capped Bust half dollar. The obverse shows Liberty in profile facing left wearing a LIBERTY inscribed cap that was intended to represent a Phrygian cap. Seven stars are to her left and six are to the right with the date below the truncation. The reverse shows the heraldic eagle with wings pointing downward. Above the eagle, on a banner, is the motto E PLURIBUS UNUM. The required inscription UNITED STATES OF AMERICA surrounds the coin, interrupted by the wing tips, and the denomination written as 50 C. is below.

For its time, the Capped Bust Half Dollar was the workhorse of American coinage. Hundreds of dies were used creating a huge number of die varieties. Capped Bust half dollars are often collected by date as well as by die variety today.

Specifications: 1807-1836
Designer: John Reich
Weight: 13.48 grams
Composition: .8924 silver, .1076 copper
Diameter: approximately 32.5 mm
Edge: 1807-1814 FIFTY CENTS OR HALF A DOLLAR; 1814-1831 Star added between DOLLAR and FIFTY; 1832-1836 Vertical lines added between words.

Specifications: 1836-1839
Designer: Christian Gobrecht
Weight: 13.36 grams
Composition: .900 silver, .100 copper
Diameter: 30 mm
Edge: reeded

Half Dollars

DATE NOTES
1807 Half Dollar This date comes with Large and Small Stars on the obverse. One variety has 50 punched over 20 on the reverse, a mistake made by the engraver when he was preparing the die.
1808 Half Dollar
Look for the slightly rarer 1808/7 overdate.
1809 Half Dollar Check the edge lettering on these - some come with irregular ornaments or I's between the words.
1810 Half Dollar No really rare varieties or overdates. Look for strongly struck, well preserved specimens.
1811 Half Dollar Look for the slightly better "Punctuated Date" that has a defect that looks like a period between the 18 and 11 of the date.
1812 Half Dollar Look for the tougher 1812/1 overdates - if yours has a Large 8 in the date, you've got a real rarity!
1813 Half Dollar The engraver messed up again this year and created a scarce variety that has 50 C. punched over UNI on the reverse.
1814 Half Dollar Look for the 1814/3 overdate or the engraving blunder which places the E of STATES over an A!
1815 Half Dollar All examples known of this rare date are 1815/2 overdates.
1817 Half Dollar Two overdates are found in this year - 1817/3 (scarce) and 1817/4 (extremely rare and valuable). Look for the 181.7 "punctuated date" variety.
1818 Half Dollar Several varieties including 1818/7 overdates.
1819 Half Dollar Includes some 1819/8 varieties.
1820 Half Dollar Includes 1820/19 overdates. The 2's in the date come with curved or straight bases - the 2's with straight bases come with or without knobs at the top.
1821 Half Dollar No significant varieties. Look for well preserved specimens with attractive, natural toning.
1822 Half Dollar Two overdates. Rare variety—date wide and high with reverse bold center dot.
1823 Half Dollar
For some reason, the engraver had a hard time with the 3's this year. Popular varieties include "Broken 3", "Patched 3", and "Ugly 3".
1824 Half Dollar Lots of overdates - 1824/1, 1824/4, and 1824 over who knows what!
1825 Half Dollar One extremely rare variety—heavy die cracks bet. 2 and 5; Rev. ED and AM solidly joined.
1826 Half Dollar Two rare varieties—star 7 almost touches upper edge of headband, 5 recut; die line above star 7, AMER nearly touch with M lower.
1827 Half Dollar Look for the 1827/6 overdate. The 2's of this year are found with curved and square bases.
1828 Half Dollar The 2's of this year are found with curved and square bases.
1829 Half Dollar Look for the 1829/7 overdate.
1830 Half Dollar Found with Large and Small 0's in the date.
1831 Half Dollar There are 20 varieties for the year. Well struck, well preserved pieces not common.
1832 Half Dollar There are 23 varieties for the year. A popular variety uses a Large Letter rev. with heavy die break across left wing. Another has a dash to the left of the date.
1833 Half Dollar There are 15 varieties for the year. Look for “laced lips” vertical die line connecting lips and chin. Also 1 over 1 variety visible on higher grade specimens.
1834 Half Dollar Popular varieties: recut 4; large 4 over small 4; “child’s head” (round cheek, wide eyes); recut date.
1835 Half Dollar Look for recut 5 in date or 5 over 4 overdate.
1836 Half Dollar Look for the blundered 50/00 reverse die. Late in this year, the reverse was modified by replacing the C of the denomination with CENTS and the edge lettering was replaced with reeding (see the following)
REEDED EDGE, "CENTS" ON REVERSE (1836-1837)
DATE NOTES
1836 Half Dollar First year of reeded edge; look for doubling on bases of 50 CENTS
1837 Half Dollar 4 different edges; look for “Inverted G” instead of C in AMERICA.
REEDED EDGE, "HALF DOL." ON REVERSE (1836-1837)
DATE NOTES
1838 Half Dollar First year of new reverse. Final 8 heavily repunched, very rare.
1838-O Half Dollar An extreme rarity!
1839 Half Dollar The "Small Letters" reverse is extremely rare - this appears to be a transitional design that was later used with the Seated Liberty design.
1839-O Half Dollar Mintmark above date. Look for mintmark repunched at base.


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Capped Bust Half Dollars

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