The Error Collector's Blog

15 Mar 2023

Purchasing a 1810 Capped Bust Half-Dollar

Young Numismatists Exchange | The Error Collector

Two months ago, one of our friends brought us a coin collection for us to figure out the approximate value of it. Our friend and her three siblings had inherited the collection after their mother passed away. The coin collection had several amazing coins! There were large cents, a 40% silver proof Eisenhower dollar, shield nickels, a half dime, silver dollars, an uncirculated Indian Head Cent (this was in packaging from F.W. Woolworths for less than a dollar!!), a bent silver 1 Real coin from the 1750's, A Carson City Morgan Dollar, a couple of lettered edge capped bust half dollars and many other interesting coins. After we looked at the coin collection, we told her the approximate retail value.

Among the coins the one coin that really caught my eye, was an 1810 half dollar. I told her that if she and her siblings decided to sell the half dollar, I would like to buy it. Last weekend, she called and said that they had decided that they would sell the half dollar to me. About half an hour later she came to my house with the half dollar. I was so excited! I bought the half dollar and gave her a great big hug. I couldn't stop thinking about or looking at the half dollar. It was slightly worn, and had contact marks scattered around in the field. The obverse had a little dark toning around the 1 to 4 o'clock position with a little iridescence of blue red and yellow at the 12 o'clock position. The reverse had a little gray and black toning surrounding the lettering and the eagle. The edge was dark gray with the edge lettering clearly legible. It looked amazing!

The next day I looked at NGC's Coin Explorer and figured out that there were ten die parings for the date. Nine dies were used for the obverse and ten were used for the reverse. Knowing this, I went to Variety Plus and looked at the ten die parings to try and figure out which pair was used on my half dollar. I quickly eliminated all of the dies with large die cracks and several remained to narrow down further. Looking at my coin closely, I noticed that on some of the coins the period after 50 C on the reverse some were round and others were oval. The period on my coin was round, so I eliminated other pairs leaving two die pairs left. After I returned to the coin, I noticed that there was a line that extended from the E in UNITED on the reverse to the D. Only one of the pairs had this mark. I was easily able to determine that I had in my hands an Overton-102 (O-102) variety of the 1810 Capped Bust Half Dollar

The History

In 1807 Robert Scott was losing his eyesight so he told President Thomas Jefferson to appoint John Reich as the assistant engraver of the United States Mint. Robert M Patterson, the Director of the Mint, gave John Reich the task of redesigning all of the circulating United States coinage. The same year John Reich designed the Capped Bust design that was placed on the half dollar and would later be placed on other denominations. In 1836 the half dollars edge lettering was replaced with a reeded edge, the weight was reduced, and Christian Gobrecht redesigned some details the production was continued until 1839. The half dollar at that point was redesigned to the Seated Liberty design.






Level 1

That is really cool coin. Looks pretty nice!

It's Mokie

Level 6

Very Cool!!! When opportunity knocked, you were there. Great Score!!!!


Level 5

Great story for how it came to you.


Level 6

I really enjoyed this blog. You did a awesome job of researching your coin. You used very credible sources. I am proud of your work. Well done. Enjoy your coin.

Thank you for teaching me the importance of sources.


Level 5

Beautiful coin. Wish I had a few like that. Nice story.


Level 7

Great story and a better coin. You can't do better than that!

That's what I thought about the coin when I first saw it.


Level 4

Nice coin and great backstory. By the way, it looks better than VF to me, just my .02.

Speeding Arrow

Level 4

A very lucky find! Wish I had friends like that.


Level 5

I looks to be in great condition!

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