1870 Carson City Reverse Die Liberty Seated Half DollarLarge “CC” • Lightly Canceled
Reverse A Die for 1870-CC Liberty Seated Half Dollars
The First Carson City Half Dollar Reverse Die
1870-CC Half Dollar Die Linkage Diagram
Chart courtesy: Bill Bugert, from his book A Register of Liberty Seated Half Dollar Varieties, Volume II, Carson City Branch Mint, p. 27
FOUND! Here's the unique reverse die for the very first 1870 Liberty Seated silver half dollars from the Carson City Mint. What makes this die so special is that it's from the first year, and it's the FIRST reverse die used to strike "CC" half dollars. It was used only on some of those first 1870-CC coins and never again.
What's more, the reverse is only lightly canceled; with two chisel cuts on either side of the outer portions (instead of the normal prominent X through). This left much of the eagle design untouched.
Recently, Bill Bugert examined the characteristics of this large "CC" half dollar die and determined it is the Reverse A used to mint the 1870-CC WB-1* (die pair 1A, chart right). Those die characteristics include the position of the "CC" mint mark, which is unique to this die pair.
In the 1930s, an assayer (not associated with the Carson City Mint) and his family bought a home in nearby Virginia City, Nevada, where this die had been used as a doorstop. Although one of the children still lives in the same house, the die was eventually auctioned during the December 13, 2003 Holabird Associates Western Americana Auction for $18,975, nearly double the estimate. Dealer Fred Weinberg bought it and David Sundman of Littleton Coin acquired it from him a few months later.
*Die marriages are labeled with WB-number which is an acronym for Wiley-Bugert
Identifying Characteristics of Reverse A Die
Clash marks on the inside, lower right of the shield as well as below the eagle's right wing are distinguishing characteristics of the die.
Experts identified the WB-1 Reverse A die by the position of the Large "CC" mint mark. The second "C" in the mint mark is lower than the first one. In that era, the mint mark was punched by hand into the working die.
The only Uncirculated example known from the die pair 1A (1870-CC WB-1), and one of 2 Uncirculated examples from any die. The Reverse A die struck the reverse.
Photo courtesy: Stack's Bowers