In 1859, Captain James Simpson, of the Corps of Topographical Engineers, was tasked with determining the shortest route across the Nevada Territory. Simpson and his team laid out a course that crossed into Big Smoky Valley. This 1859 half dime recalls the creation of a route that would later be followed by the Pony Express.
All early proof Seated Half Dimes are scarce, if not rare coins that are the province of advanced collectors and investors. Mintage figures for the Stars Obverse series are unknown, the Mint optining not to keep records of either its production of proof coins or its sale of those pieces during this period. Given the fact that there were few collectors active in the United States of the 1840s and 1850s, we believe that very few proof Half Dimes were delivered during these decades. Even fewer have survived, and the earliest issues in the Stars Obverse portion of the Seated Half Dime series can be particularly elusive. In fact, many early proof Seated Half Dime deliveries have extant populations of fewer than 10 or 20 coins. Later-date examples are more plentiful, but issues such as the 1857, 1858 and 1859 are still scarce and not offered with any degree of regularity in today's market.