1859-O LIBERTY SEATED 50C, NO MOTTO MS66
GEM ORIGINAL. ONLY 3 GRADED HIGHER.
1859-O LIBERTY SEATED - TYPE 2 50C
In 1859, the French Opera House was opened in New Orleans. The massive building instantly became a landmark of the city. Costing $118,500, could this 1859 half dollar, minted in New Orleans, have been used to construct the attraction that would burn down in a fire in 1919?
Although an attractive design, the Arrows and Rays Seated Half Dollar was very difficult to strike and resulted in excessive die breakage. The Mint, therefore, was faced with a quandry. On the one hand, it had to simplify the design in order to prolong working die life. On the other hand, Mint officials felt that a distinguishing mark was still needed in order to familiarize the public with the new weight standard authorized in early 1853. The decision was a compromise, with the reverse rays being dropped but the obverse arrows remaining at the date. The Arrows, No Rays Seated Half was produced in 1854 and 1855, the type including just five issues and a single overdate: 1854, 1854-O, 1855/4, 1855, 1855-O and 1855-S.