1849 Seated Liberty Half Dollar - Silver coin, with the form of a seated figure of Liberty with her right hand resting upon a shield, with a banner, "LIBERTY" draped across the shield and her left hand grasping a staff topped by a Liberty cap—symbols of preparedness and freedom. Thirteen stars are arrayed around her, and the date "1849" is below. This design first appeared on pattern and regular-issue silver dollars in 1836, and thereafter was adapted for use on all the remaining silver coins: the half dollar, quarter dollar, dime and half dime.
This “Seated Liberty” design (interchangeably known as the “Liberty Seated” type) was fashioned by noted portraitist Thomas Sully and executed by Mint engraver Christian Gobrecht, a man of great technical skill. Its neoclassical appearance accurately reflected Americans’ artistic taste in the mid-19th century and, indeed, nearly to the threshold of the 20th century, for that’s how long it lingered on three of the coins before giving way to the Barber design in 1892.
On the reverse a naturalistic eagle with a shield superimposed upon its breast. The eagle clutches arrowheads in its left talon and an olive branch in its right. A New Orleans mint mark is beneath. "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA / HALF DOL." surrounds the eagle.
Inventory Number: CUR 027