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1837 Seated Half dimes and dimes:Small/Large date which is which?

6 posts in this topic

I think I'll make a try at posting some educational threads on seated coins,to re-pay a little for all the knowlege I've learned from you folks(plus my photography skills have gotten a little better cool.gif).I know some of you are all ready well educated when it comes to seated coins,but some of you,well.. screwy.gif

So starting from the ground up,Iet's take a look at the often confused Small/Large date varieties on 1837 seated half dimes and dimes.I was rather surprised that the Red book doesn't show pics,or explain how to tell the difference between these 2 varieties.It's rather easy to tell the 2 varieties apart if you know which is which.Which even some better known dealers can't do and can be used to your advantage devil.gif


"large date"

Back in 1837 the mint had date punches left from the Bust H10c/10c of that year and so instead of melting perfectly good punches they used them to punch some of the seated dies.Thus ending up with the "large date" variety:


"small date"

Eventually they switched over to the date punches from Gobrecht's design,and ended up with the "small date":



Now what surprises most people is that there is no difference in size for the 2 dates!

A dealer-friend of mine tried to convince me a small date dime was a large date:"It can't possibly get any bigger than that!",of course I was happy to take it off his hands as a large date devil.gif

I've been into seated coins for a little while now and the wording of small+large often confuses me and I have to stop and think which one was made first.A more appropriate designation would be "old date" for the large date and new date for the small date.Or if one was to consider the style of the die punches(as has been done to other series) fancy date for large,and plain date for small would work.

Of course the large/small has been around for quite sometime,so it would be hard to change the names of these varieties,and most likely none will attempt to.I guess we'll just have to keep on living in our coin world of EF&XF and small dates which aren't smaller...


As for pricing of the 2 varieties,it goes back and forth.For example a large date half dime is worth a slight premium in most circulated grades,but in AU or better the small date easily takes the lead.As for the dime:the small date is worth a modest premium over the large date until XF and higher where the small date switches back and forth from being worth the same to bearing small premium.Quite contrary to Coin World’s Coin Values which lists the half dimes as being worth the same,and doesn’t even list the large/small date for the dime.

It also appears that there were alot of Bust date punches left over,as Breen writes that the large date accounts for approx. 2/3rds of the mintage for seated half dimes of that year.

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Are you trying to tell me that even the "professionals" can't get it right?


Here's mine.




I just checked Blythe and his coin pictured on the "small date" page has the same type date as his "large date" picture.


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