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Does the 1796 "LIKERTY" Half Dime really exist?

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The 1796 “LiKerty” half dime has been listed in the Red Book since the 9th edition (1955). It is a purported to be a die state of the Valentine 1 normal date coin. Logan and McCloskey in their book, Federal Half Dimes 1792 - 1838 mention that the "K" punch in "liberty" was defective, but they don't mention a die state in the description of the LM-1 variety.


I've been looking for the 1795 "likerty" because it's included as an item on the NGC registry, but so far as i can see that is really no difference between the 1796 V-1 half dimes that are in a "normal" slab and the pieces that have been labeled as the "likerty" variety.


What do others think?

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Link w/ pics


I am not familiar with this coin since it is way out of my league.


Same here (on both counts), but the looking is very interesting and educational.


OK, that link is the "Likerty," But I still can't seem to find the "normal" coin( which I assume reads "Liberty"). I have viewed 5 different coins, and they all look alike. (shrug)

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Considering the die was made by having the letters punched into the die by hand, if the punch was defective the original die would show the "K" even in the earliest state. The only thing you might see on high grade examples of the earlest die states would be slight ragged traces of where the top and bottom of the B broke away. These would show as a few tiny little raised lumps between the legs of the "K". If the remnants are very small they probably would not survive much die wear or polishing of the die.

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The slabbed coins that I have seen labeled "likerty" had a light line at the top and the bottom of the "B." The "plain" 1796 coins also had lines at the top and bottom of the "B," but the letter was not normal in that the closures were thin and light.


Here are photos of slabbed PCGS coins the show the liberty for each die state.


1796 LIBERTY half dime




1796 LIKERTY half dime




As you can see the differences don't amount to much, if anything.


Two other die states that have made their way into the Red Book and into collections to the point where the album holes for them are the 1922 Plain cent and the 1937-D three legged Buffalo nickel. Both of these die states are far easier to spot.

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