1866-S With Motto Liberty Seated Half Dollar, Choice Very Fine

1866-S With Motto Liberty Seated Half Dollar, Choice Very Fine

199.00

An original example of the first With Motto date from San Francisco, perhaps a bit underrated versus the more famously “rare” 1866-S No Motto. Despite a significantly larger Mintage, not a huge disparity in certified population at PCGS between the two varieties: 124 coins between VF-20 and AU-58 for the No Motto, 146 for the With Motto. It has been noted that the remote location of San Francisco and lack of collectors in the area has a lot to do with the fact that the rate of higher grade coins saved was relatively low, however the numbers still do not add up. The lower “Trends” value would likely not encourage submission of as many With Motto coins, but ANY original Seated Half in EF+ to AU+ grade tempts submission for the bump in commercial value. At a ratio of 16+ to 1 in terms of the original number of coins produced, pure chance should indicate a larger number in existence, especially as the Transcontinental Railroad was being built at the time and completed just three years later. This opened up commerce between California and the East, and would have naturally caused some proportion of San Francisco Mint coinage to flow eastward to be hoarded as a curiosity, if nothing else. More than likely, the answer is the inflated California economy, which caused coins to circulate hard and long, wearing out most specimens to below the grade of VF. For those interested in varieties, this is WB-3/WB-104, struck from a Doubled Die Reverse. Interestingly enough, this coin displays obvious die clashes in a identical location to those of WB-4, however the Reverse die does not show the more advanced signs of die wear of that other variety, and the rest of the Obverse details don’t match. The hammering the Obverse die took helps explain the disparity in grades: while the Reverse die has the details of a VF-35, the Obverse is more like VF-30, and perhaps just. Either way, a nice coin …

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