1854-O LIBERTY SEATED 10C, ARROWS MS67
ARROWS. GEM SATIN WHITE. JUST 1 GRADED HIGHER.
True slavery reform began to materialize on February 28, 1854 when the Republican Party formed as a direct result of the potential passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act on the congress floor at the time. Rooted in anti-slavery and abolitionist beliefs, the newest political party aimed to end slavery in every state and greatly opposed the new act. This act would work directly against the Missouri Compromise that made slavery north of the latitude 36°30’ illegal and allow popular sovereignty to determine the law in the Kansas-Nebraska territory. Upon passage on May 30th, several members of both anti-slavery and pro-slavery parties flooded into the new territories hoping to lean the decision one way. Unfortunately this created strenuous tension within the territories which then provoked several violent incidences that eventually became known as “Bleeding Kansas.” Based solely on the name, it is clear that passionate beliefs led to significant bloodshed and ubiquitous conflict. Some say this marked the true beginning of the Civil War conflict that would not officially start until 1861 when the Republican Party leader, Abraham Lincoln, swept the presidential race. Within the chaos several well-known abolitionists, like John Brown, led men into riots and small battles against pro-slavery party members. This tremendous uproar did not accomplish much in the way of ending slavery, but it managed to divide the country even more-so.
New Orleans, the home to this lovely 1854 dime, did not fare much better at this time. The city had grown significantly from the previous decade, but was not capable of properly housing over one-hundred thousand people. Due to poor water filtration, no sewage systems, and significant floods the city became a dirty, disease ridden cesspool. It was not uncommon to see frequent cholera and yellow fever outbreaks at this time; the worst yellow fever outbreak occurring one year prior to this coin’s birth. The outbreak of 1853 took the lives of just over eight-thousand people and went down as one of the worst in United States history. Regardless, the relatively new mint kept up the necessary production.
As a member of the silver coin family, the dime received the same design as the half-dime, quarter dollar, half dollar, and the dollar itself once coin production picked up again after the 1830s depression. Gobrecht’s design, which remained on the coin until 1897, featured a Seated Lady Liberty poised for freedom and peace with a staff and olive branch on the obverse. The reverse did not feature an eagle, as most coins do, but a laurel wreath instead. Both sides experienced a variety of changes throughout the series which included the addition of thirteen stars on the obverse, arrows around the date, and a wreath change on the reverse. The arrows around the date, as seen on this particular coin, made their first appearance in 1853. Thanks to the California gold rush on 1849, the price of silver skyrocketed which made the metal value of silver more valuable than its coins’ face value. This led to frequent hoarding and melting by consumers which nearly depleted the coin supply in circulation. As a response, congress approved of a lesser weight for silver coins which was denoted by two arrows around the dates of certain coins. These arrows, meant to deter hoarders, worked well and soon coins populated circulation once more.