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Seated Liberty Denominational Diagnostics

7 posts in this topic

As Bruce and Zach pointed out in another thread, the Seated Liberty 20C is very easy to distinquish from the other denominations. (The easiest diagnostic is that "LIBERTY" is raised vs. incused.)


Now, what about the other denominations? Can you distinguish between the denominations with just an obverse picture?


If so, what are you looking at? What are the diagnostics?


Come on and school me, boardsters!














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The number of denticles is probably the most obvious clue. Note how few the half-dime has compared to the dime, and certainly the quarter. A twenty cent coin just looks different altogether from the regular denominations. Liberty's head is tilted such that she is looking upward and to the left. Also, LIBERTY is raised, not incused.

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I can somehow tell the difference from the ratio between liberty's head and body.

Also, I think their facial expression is a bit different......dime liberty looks grumpy to me :grin:

Quarter liberty has (relatively) square head.

Hafl dimes are the easiest to tell because I look at them almost everyday :)

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  • Member: Seasoned Veteran

The proportional size between date and Seated Liberty figure is also helpful, as are the stars, which point toward the denticles on some denominations and toward one another on others. Check for yourself.

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The half dollars do not have the large drapery hanging from Ms. Liberty's elbow. When Robert Ball Hughes redid the Liberty Seated design, he added an extra piece of cloth to that part of the design. I would add that I think that Hughes’ art work was inferior to the original work that Gobrecht did.


For the half dollar only, Hughes did not change the drapery part of the design as much. There is a “drapery” and “no drapery” type within the half dollar series, but the difference is as obvious. Of all the Liberty Seated denomination, the half dollar is closer than Gobrecht’s original concept than any of the others.


Despite the fact that the “No Drapery” half dollar is the least different from the “With Drapery” type, ironically the “No Drapery” half dollar is toughest and most expensive type to find. It was struck for only a part of 1839.


No Drapery



With Drapery


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Excellent input!


Conder101, Bill, James, Toyo, & Dave.


I can see that the stars on the half and dollar do point towards the denticles.


Yep, the denticles are quite distinct..


The 20C is a star gazer and the 25C is more of a block head.


Don't know if Miss 10C looks angry or not? But her and her half dime little sister appear to have "Gumby" limbs. Just play-dough lumps with no muscle tone. Yep, blimpy, toneless designs. But the both share an upright or nearly upright shield where the others are slanted to some degree, the 20C much more drastic. Hand position is closest to cap on pole on these two denominations with a chubby index finger extended..


The quarter has a slim finger extended towards the cap. The other higher denominations don't even show the index finger. And their relative positions along the pole varies.


Of course, the 20C is the easiest to tell apart. It's almost a different critter all along.


Yes, Bill, I see that you're right about the half. It is definitely closest to Gobrecht's original design. The minimalization of the drapery was for the best, I think.


This has been a big help to me.


Thanks again for the input!

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For starters the shape of the drapery from Liberty's left elbow is distinctly different on each coin but the difference are hard to describe except for on the half dollar where it does not extend past Liberty's left knee.


5 C

Shield is only tipped slightly to the left

No drapery to the left of Liberty's hand on the rock

Stars point at each other


10 C

Shield is straight up and down 20C - $ have the shield tipped strongly to the left.

Stars point at each other


20 C

Shield tipped strongly left.

LIBERTY on the shield is in raised letters

Drapery to the left of the hand on the Rock.

Stars point at denticals

Liberty's head below arc of the stars


25 C

Shield tipped strongly left

No drapery to left of hand on rock

Stars point at each other



Shield tipped strongly left

Drapery by left elbow does not exend past knee

Stars point at denticals

Red vertical stripes in shield are made up of three bars (two in all other denominations)

No drapery left of Liberty's hand on rock

Rock shaped differently note how it "overhangs" the ground. On all of the others the ground pretty much flows up to the left edge of the rock with only a small offset.



Shield tipped strongly left

Stars point at denticals

Drapery on rock left of Liberty's hand


So by process of elimination in order


Shield straight up and down Dime

Shield tipped very slightly left Half dime

Shield tipped strongly left

. . .LIBERTY in raised letters 20C (In no then)

. . .Red stripes in groups of three 50C ( if no then)

. . .stars pointed at denticals 1$ (if no then)

. . .25C

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