The 1853-O Seated Liberty Half Dollar without arrows and rays (Buy on eBay) is an interesting and extremely rare variety that was created during one of the design changes for the series. Although no pieces were officially reported to have been struck, four specimens are known to exist.
Under the Mint Act of February 21 ,1853, the silver content was lowered for all silver denominations except the silver dollar. To signify the change on the half dollar, coins struck with the new specifications had arrows placed at the date on the obverse and rays added around the eagle on the reverse. Before the passage of the Act, dies created at the Philadelphia Mint bearing the old design had been shipped to New Orleans.
No coins were reported as having been minted with these dies, making the variety’s existence somewhat of a mystery. The variety was discovered in 1881, and additional specimens were identified in 1892, 1911, and 2012. All known examples are in well-circulated condition with the finest known specimen graded PCGS VF35. This example sold at auction in 2006 for $368,000. The most recently discovered example graded PCGS VG8 sold at auction in 2012 for $199,750.
- Designer: Christian Gobrecht
- Composition: 90% Silver, 10% Copper
- Weight: 13.36 grams
- Diameter: 30.6 mm
- Edge: Reeded