[The following article is published courtesy of DLRC Press and its authors, Randy Wiley and Bill Bugert. This information was originally published in 1993 in The Complete Guide to Liberty Seated Half Dollars.]
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It is important for the reader to understand some key conventional terminology used by the authors throughout this reference.
- Liberty and LIBERTY. Liberty, in lower case refers to the figure of Miss Liberty on the obverse; LIBERTY, in upper case, refers to the letters LIBERTY found on the scroll of the shield of the obverse design.
- Viewing a coin. From our experience, this is often not specified and can therefore cause misunderstandings. The terms right and left are used when examining a coin and referencing features from the viewpoint of the observer’s right and left respectively. For example, when referring to the eagle’s left claw, the claw being referred to is that on the viewer’s left, NOT the eagle’s left claw (which would be on the viewer’s right). The same applies to Liberty.
- Obverse/reverse and head/tail. The terms obverse and reverse are used when referring to the specific side of a coin using the normal convention (i.e. obverse = side with Liberty and reverse = side with the eagle). The terms head and tail are used when referring to a specific die used to coin the obverse and reverse respectively. These terms were used when the Liberty Seated Half Dollars were minted (and routinely mentioned in Archives records) and are used here for accuracy and out of nostalgia.
- Star numbering. We refer to stars by numbers counting clockwise from the first star at the lower left obverse through the thirteenth star at the lower right obverse.
- Descriptions of recut (repunched) dates and mintmarks. We prefer to describe recut (repunched) dates and mintmarks with compass directions. The most prominent punch is referenced from the direction of the first (always the faintest). For example, the well known 1844-0 Doubled Date (WB103) has the first punch in the rock above the date. This date is consequently called repunched south because the prominent date is directly below the first, weaker date. Take note: This is not the same convention used by some other published numismatists, but we feel that it is the most accurate description technique.
- Measuring units. The units of measurement we chose is the U.S. equivalent of the metric system. Consequently when measuring and reporting date height, mintmark size, and the diameters of coins we use inches rather than millimeters. This use is consistent with the measuring units at the time Liberty Seated Half Dollars were minted and appropriate since we have found multiple examples of the measurement units in inches in the U.S. Mint correspondence [181. For those of you desiring to use the metric system, a handy conversion is 1 inch = 25.40 millimeters or conversely, 1 millimeter = .03937 inches.
- Use of references. Where appropriate, we have included in brackets  a cross reference number to Appendix C to aid the reader with information to support additional research. Also, as we realize many half dollar collectors attribute by Breen , we have included, were possible, the Breen identification number at the end of each variety described herein.