1839 Capped Bust Half Dollar, Small Letters Reverse

Discovered in the early 1970s, the 1839 Capped Bust Half Dollar “Small Letters Reverse” is the rarest variety of all Reeded Edge Half Dollars, except for some select proof issues.

Identified by the small lettering on the reverse, this variety was struck with a reverse die intended for the next design, the Liberty Seated Half Dollar. The first issues of this subsequent series were struck in the same year that the final Capped Bust Halves were produced.

Only three examples of this transitional variety are positively known to exist. Two of these examples are impaired, while the third has been certified as EF-40. A few more examples are rumored to exist but these are unconfirmed.