By Dylan Dominguez and Edward Van Orden for PCGS ……
It’s always fun to look at a complete or near-complete collection by date and mintmark of a particular series, and recently at PCGS, we were presented with the opportunity with a near-complete set of circulated Liberty Seated Half Dollars that came in for variety attribution. Referencing Bill Bugert’s books (all of which he generously posted at www.lsccweb.org/BillBugertBooks), we were able to match all of them to a die combination but for two: the 1843-O and the 1867-S.
When researching the 1843-O, we matched the mint mark placement to that of “Reverse E” (which is used for die varieties WB-10, WB-11, and WB-12). We were also able to match the die cracks at “DO” and “D ST” present on a later die state used for WB-11.
In our correspondence with Mike Perkins, he wrote:
“For a die sequence, I would say that the reverse die is after WB-11, but before WB-12 due to the state of the die cracks.”
The date, however, did not quite line up with any of the obverses associated with these varieties (“Obverse 6” [WB-10], “Obverse 7” [WB-11], and “Obverse 5” [WB-12]), so we curiously looked through our database to see if perhaps we had an unattributed example of this die pairing.
To our delight, we found one – and with matching obverse die crumbling from 7:00 to 2:00, to boot!
Next, we looked through the other known 1843-O obverses in Bill’s book to see if we could find a match. When we got to WB-16, the date on the submitted coin appeared to line up with that of “Obverse 9”. The upper die crack on the rock support connected to the drapery (under the lower-left half of the shield) as well as a die polish line directly below the sandal also matched. The crumbled obverse rim and two die polish lines in the 7:00 to 2:00 area, however, were not pictured, suggesting that perhaps the unattributed and submitted coins may have been a late(r) die state (LDS) than that photographed in Bill’s book.
Fortunately, in our correspondence with Bill, he confirmed:
“The date placement is the same and a few die lines confirm it. The die cracks are not all there, but that is to be expected with different die states. I listed the latest die state I knew in my book.”
With his and Mike Perkins’ approval, they created the new die marriage WB-19 (“Obverse 9”, “Reverse E”).
Special thanks to Steve Feltner, Bill Bugert, and Mike Perkins for their expertise, enthusiasm, and timely responses.
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