1872-S LIBERTY SEATED H10C, MINTMARK BELOW, LEGEND MS68
MINTMARK BELOW BOW. SOLE HIGHEST GRADED.
NGC Graded Higher:
1872 witnessed a scandal called the Great Diamond Hoax. The hoax occurred when Philip Arnold and john Stack convinced financiers in San Francisco and New York that they had discovered a diamond deposit in Wyoming. Arnold and Stack then accepted over half a million to sell their claims to the site. This 1872 half dime, minted in San Francisco, recalls a fraud that led to a diamond prospecting craze across the country before being exposed.
Beginning in 1860 and continuing through the end of the Half Dime series in 1873, the United States Mint employed James Barton Longacre's modified version of the Seated Liberty design. In addition to a refined obverse portrait, this new type is distinguishable from its predecessors by the absence of obverse stars, the placement of the legend UNITED STATES OF AMERICA around the border on that side and the employment of a "cereal wreath" (consisting of maple, wheat, corn and oak leaves) in place of the laurel wreath on the reverse. The disappearance of silver coins from circulation in the Eastern United States early in the Civil War resulted in limited mintages of business strike Half Dimes at the Philadelphia Mint from 1863 through 1870. The San Francisco Mint Half Dimes from this era are also scarce coins in higher grades, yet in this case the culprit is extensive circulation on the frontier rather than a low mintage for the issue in question.