1871 LIBERTY SEATED H10C MS68+
GEM WHITE. SOLE HIGHEST GRADED FOR THE DATE. THIS IS THE SOLE HIGHEST GRADED LIBERTY SEATED HALF DIME BY EITHER SERVICE.
A tragic year for a huge and vastly growing U.S. city, the great Chicago Fire devastated the city and compiled a massive one-hundred and ninety-six million dollar debt. The huge, overpowering flames not only managed to rack up the debt but also destroyed 17,450 buildings, took two-hundred and fifty lives and left a whopping ninety thousand people homeless. While undoubtedly tragic, there was a silver lining in the destruction and devastation. Efforts to quickly reconstruct the cit led to stricter fire codes, economic boom in Engineering and Construction, and it ultimately laid the foundation for a more modern city that was able to showcase the world’s first skyscrapers. Ironically enough, the Chicago Fire Department is now one of the world’s most elite and its academy is located directly on the property where the 1871 fire began thanks to the old O’Leary cow on that October evening.
1871 was not as tragic for the Seated Liberty half-dime, though it was destined to be cut from circulation two years later. As one of the first denominations ever struck as official U.S. coinage, it is easy to say this was a useful coin. By the 1837, the mint had finalized the design that would appear on the coin for the remainder of its years. As it neared the end of its life, even the seated Liberty half-dime saw five additional design changes including the removal of the thirteen stars on the obverse that had been present since 1838. The replacement “United States of America” motif added belonging and importance to the coin. Additionally, on behalf of the ever expansive western boarders, the reverse wreath was exchanged for a cereal wreath. As the only design to be struck in Philadelphia, San Francisco, and New Orleans, it is clear that the denomination grew to a very successful point before its cousin the nickel took its place officially in 1873.