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Seated Liberty half dollars, minted from 1839 through 1891, are a relic from a time in the United States when the country was expanding westward, the East established itself as a hub of trade and commerce, and the North and South were engaged in a battle that nearly saw the nation torn apart.
Perhaps the defining design of the decade, the Seated Liberty image was found on virtually all silver coinage of the era.
In fact, the Seated Liberty design persists as one of the longest-running coin designs in United States history!
The Seated Liberty Half Dollar Design
Seated Liberty half dollars were designed by Christian Gobrecht and were minted for over 5 decades.
Gobrecht’s famous Seated Liberty design also appears on these other coins during the middle of the 19th century:
- Half dime
- 20-cent coin
- Silver dollar
The Different Varieties Of Seated Liberty Half Dollars
Over the course of minting the Seated Liberty half dollar, slight variations were made to the overall design of the coin.
5 different designs exist for the Seated Liberty half dollar:
- Variety 1 — 1839-1853; 1856-1866 (no motto located above the eagle)
- Variety 2 — 1853 (arrows on either side of the date; rays around the eagle)
- Variety 3 — 1854-1855 (arrows near date but no rays around the eagle)
- Variety 4 — 1866-1873; 1875-1891 (IN GOD WE TRUST above eagle)
- Variety 5 — 1873-1874 (arrows around the date)
Collecting Seated Liberty Half Dollars
Seated Liberty half dollars have long been a favorite coin among many coin collectors.
The Seated Liberty half dollar is generally collected as a type coin, though some coin collectors who are quite patient and have enough money to spend on the endeavor try and complete — or at least come close to finishing — date and mintmark sets in albums.
Seated Liberty Half dollars are a staple of coin collectors who love 19th-century American coinage and are typically found in the albums, holders, and sets of type coin collectors. Seated Liberty half dollars — at least those of the early 1860s — are highly popular among Civil War memorabilia collectors.
Seated Liberty Half Dollar Values
For the above reasons and the fact that Seated Liberty half dollars are relatively scarce for the most part, these coins have increased in value over the decades.
Values begin at around $25 to $50 for Seated Liberty half dollars in lower, well-worn circulated grades — as long as they are uncleaned and not damaged or discolored.
Uncirculated specimens can start at prices of over $500 to $700.
Below are the values for the scarcer, rarer Seated Liberty half dollars:
- 1844-O doubled die $500 to $10,000
- 1847 over 6 $2,000 to $26,500
- 1850 $215 to $2,500
- 1851 $315 to $3,250
- 1852 $350 to $3,000
- 1853-O without arrows $200,000 to $425,000+
- 1855-S $475 to $27,000
- 1866-S no motto $475 to $9,000
- 1870-CC $1,650 to $87,500
- 1871-CC $400 to $18,500
- 1872-CC $165 to $35,000
- 1873 no arrows & open 3 $3,000 to $22,500
- 1873-CC with arrows $240 to $8,500
- 1874-CC $1,000 to $14,500
- 1877 over 6 $200 to $4,000
- 1878-CC $850 to $13,500
- 1878-S $25,000 to $105,000
- 1879 $400 to $1,025
- 1880 $375 to $925
- 1881 $375 to $925
- 1882 $400 to $975
- 1883 $375 to $925
- 1884 $400 to $975
- 1885 $400 to $975
- 1886 $400 to $975
- 1887 $455 to $975
- 1888 $375 to $925
- 1889 $375 to $925
- 1890 $375 to $925
- 1891 $70 to $460
*The above values are based on grade ranges of Good through Mint State 60.
I’m the Coin Editor here at TheFunTimesGuide. My love for coins began when I was 11 years old. I primarily collect and study U.S. coins produced during the 20th century. I’m a member of the American Numismatic Association (ANA) and the Numismatic Literary Guild (NLG) and have won multiple awards from the NLG for my work as a coin journalist. I’m also the editor at the Florida United Numismatists Club (FUN Topics magazine), and author of Images of America: The United States Mint in Philadelphia (a book that explores the colorful history of the Philadelphia Mint). I’ve contributed hundreds of articles for various coin publications including COINage, The Numismatist, Numismatic News, Coin Dealer Newsletter, Coin Values, and CoinWeek. I’ve authored nearly 1,000 articles here at The Fun Times Guide to Coins (many of them with over 50K shares), and I welcome your coin questions in the comments below!