[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.]
* * *
It has been our desire to publish a numismatic reference on Liberty Seated Half Dollars for many years. Between us, we have been diligently studying these mid-sized beauties for at least 32 years and have cataloged many, many varieties and corresponded with other numismatists with similar interests. This book is not the final effort on these halves. Beistle did an excellent job in 1929 of cataloging the varieties as they were known to him. This book is not meant to compete with Beistle but merely provide a handy reference of what we consider to be the major varieties of the series. Some questions are sure to arise as to why we included these varieties and not others. We chose these varieties because we thought they were the most important, the most easily identifiable, and the most popular of the varieties known to us at the time of publication. Other varieties are not included either because we didn’t know about them or didn’t think they were important enough to include in this reference.
We have future plans for complete references on die marriages. Note, we say references because there are so many varieties that a single manageable book could not possibly contain them all. For example, we have found that the half dollar coinage at the New Orleans Branch Mint alone from 1840- 1849 was generated from over 175 different die marriages. This is more than the number of varieties in the excellent reference Early United States Dimes, 1796-1837 by David Davis et al. Our challenge has been to find examples of all varieties coined from the number of dies available for use. We believe we are 85% there.
We have included a great deal of information not otherwise available in the hope of satisfying your numismatic quest for knowledge. We welcome all correspondence on Liberty Seated Half Dollars and are especially interested in hearing of unusual varieties.
Randy Wiley & Bill Bugert