[The following excerpt is published courtesy of DLRC Press and its author, Brian Greer. This information was originally published in 1992 in The Complete Guide to Liberty Seated Dimes]
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No Stars Obverse 1837-1838-0
The design of the Liberty Seated series was inspired by the image of Britannia. In 1835. newly named Mint Director Robert M. Patterson ordered new designs for all U.S. coins to replace the Capped Bust series in use since 1829. Chief Engraver William Kneass began the project. When he suffered a stroke. Christian Gobrecht took over, using sketches by Kneass and artists Thomas Sully and Titian Peale.
Under Patterson’s directions, all of the designs show variations of Britannia, symbol of England found on British copper coins at that time. Like Britannia. Liberty holds a shield in one hand. But where Britannia holds a trident, Uberty has a staff topped by a freedom cap. On the reverse the denomination is spelled out and surrounded by a thin wreath.
The initial dimes bearing the new Liberty Seated design, 30 proofs, were struck on June 30th. 1837 in Philadelphia. All of these were likely given out as presentation pieces. Unlike earlier dime designs the entire obverse and reverse details were placed directly into the hub. Only the date and mintmark needed to be placed by hand into the working dies. Although this created great efficiency, the No Stars type would last for only two years. The Philadelphia mint struck No Stars dimes only in 1837. At the New Orleans mint. No Stars dimes were struck with only the 1838 date, although a quantity of these were believed to have been struck during early 1839.
This two-year type coin has gained immense popularity among type collectors. Its clear fields gives it a cameo appearance and style that is unmatched by any subsequent design. Adding to their popularity is the choice overall appearance and availability of high grade specimens from Philadelphia, although weak strikes are sometimes a problem. New Orleans issues, on the other hand, are much more difficult to locate in choice condition. Weak strikes, rusty dies and usually heavy wear have made the 1838-0 a challenging date for the discriminating collector.