Liberty Seated Half Dollars


No Motto (1839-1866)

The late 1830s were years of great ferment, progress, growth and change for the United States Mint. Steam-powered coinage made its debut in 1836. The first branch mint opened in New Orleans in 1838, and new designs were placed on all the gold and silver coins between 1837 and 1840. The technical and artistic advancements were interrelated, for it was the introduction of steam power that stimulated Mint officials to update the coinage aesthetically as well.

On the silver coins, the new look took the form of a seated figure of Liberty with her right hand resting upon a shield and her left hand grasping a staff topped by a Liberty cap—symbols of preparedness and freedom. Thirteen stars are arrayed around her, and the date is below. This design first appeared on pattern and regular-issue silver dollars in 1836, and thereafter wa.... (Expand Text)