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New Die Pairing for the 1850-O Liberty Seated Half Dollar

By Edward Van Orden for PCGS ……

The 1850-O Liberty Seated Half Dollar, WB-20 is a newly attributed variety that opens a new collecting opportunity for series enthusiasts. Courtesy of PCGS TrueView.

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Every day at PCGS, we are presented with the exciting possibility of seeing something new. When that possibility presents itself, and you and your colleagues get a chance to attribute it… well, that’s just fun numismatics right there!

We recently had the opportunity to attribute a new die pairing in the Liberty Seated Half Dollar series: an 1850-O. As always, with the counsel of Bill Bugert and his books–as well as Mike Perkins–we were able to match and confirm this new addition.

With the 1850-O, the tough-to-see but noticeable vertical die line along Liberty’s thumb and the arching die line through the lower shield both appear to be there, both diagnostics of Obverse 7. And the date appears to line up.

For the reverse, the small die gouges along the base of the eagle’s neck, as well as the horizontal die lines in the shield, appear to be there. Both are the diagnostics of Reverse I. Bill and Mike had no doubt about this one, and Bill said we were good to name it WB-20.

For the collector of New Orleans Liberty Seated coinage and particularly the 1850-O Half Dollar by die pair, the WB-20 is notable in that it adds one more challenging variety for which to search. Additionally, considering Obverse 7 has also been used for WB-8 and WB-18 and Reverse I for WB-12, this newly discovered die combination may provide for the Liberty Seated Half Dollar specialist insight as to the order in which these four die pairings were struck.

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