HomeAuctionsEarly US Pattern Coins: "Backward Liberty" 1839 Silver Half Dollar

Early US Pattern Coins: “Backward Liberty” 1839 Silver Half Dollar

Early US Pattern Coin Highlight

The upcoming November 19-22 Signature Auction of US Coins from Heritage Auctions features numerous fascinating pattern coins.

One of them is an 1839 half dollar pattern with a design Judd calls “Coronet Head facing right”, also sometimes known as the “Backward Liberty”. It is strongly reminiscent of the 10-dollar Coronet Head gold coins of 1838 and 1839 in the dangling curls and sharply pointed rear bust, but it nonetheless looks decidedly odd. Because the profile of Liberty faces right rather than left, the LIBERTY on the coronet begins with the L behind the ear, and the last letter Y is above the forehead.

Judd comments that “neither this die nor any like it were ever used for coinage.”

The obverse of this pattern coin depicts a figure of Liberty facing right on the obverse, mouth open, hair tied in a bun, one curl draping down the neck behind the ear, sporting a coronet reading LIBERTY, rounded forward bust and pointed rear bust, 13 stars around, date 1839 below. The reverse offers the regular Large Letters die seen on some regular-issue 1839-dated half dollars. This coin is struck in silver with a reeded edge. PCGS has assigned it a grade of Proof-65.

This example shows die rust most perceptible on the profile of Liberty, although less so than on many of these 1860s- or 1870s-era restrikes. Lovely pale-blue and plum-rose patina prevails on well-mirrored surfaces, an extremely attractive coin. Perhaps four or five exist (including the Smithsonian example), with this piece certainly among the finest.

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Numismatist, Consignment Director – We are looking for a motivated numismatist with a good general knowledge of U.S. coins. Job duties include buying and selling, along with organizing and obtaining consignments. This full-time position will be in our Beverly Hills, California office. Please submit CV to [email protected].

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Currency Consignment Director – We are looking for a motivated leader with strong buying and writing skills and a good general knowledge of U.S. history and U.S. Currency for a key position with Heritage in Dallas, Texas. Job duties include buying, cataloging for auctions, and organizing and obtaining consignments along with catalog production. This full-time position will be in our Dallas Office only. Please submit CV to [email protected].

Heritage Auctions
Heritage Auctionshttps://www.ha.com/
Heritage Auction Galleries is one of the world's largest collectibles auctioneers. Besides offering rare and valuable U.S. and world coins and currency, Heritage offers ancient coins, exonumia, antiques, comic books, sports memorabilia, and many other collectibles. The firm is based in Dallas, Texas.

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