1859-S LIBERTY SEATED 50C, NO MOTTO MS64
VERY SCARCE IN THIS HIGH GRADE. ONLY 3 HIGHER AT PCGS.
NGC Graded Higher:
In 1859, US Senator David Broderick and California Supreme Court Justice, David Terry, agreed to settle their differences with a duel. The two men met just outside the San Francisco city limits and a coin was tossed to decide who would choose the weapons. Terry won the toss and selected pistols, one of which he would use to kill Broderick with a shot to the chest. Could this 1859 half dollar, minted in San Francisco, have been the coin tossed that day just outside the city?
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.