1839 O Half Dime - Small, Medium, Large(?) & Huge O

1839 O Half Dime - Small, Medium, Large(?) & Huge O

SLHDCollecter
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Joined: April 20th, 2015, 3:58 pm

December 31st, 2017, 10:54 am #1

I am trying to make sense out of the little documentation available for the 1839 O half dime and the designation of the mint mark as small, medium & huge. I have at my disposal Valentine's original Monograph, Al Blythe's 1996 publication, PCGS Coin Facts & USA Coin Book. Valentine proposes 6 basic varieties of which I will cite his reverse descriptions only: V-1 "Large O"; V-2 "Die break through first T in STATES. Small o, slightly to left of center" ; V-3 "Small o in the center and well placed"; V-4 "Similar to No. 3, but the O is lower"; V-5 "Similar to No. 3, but the O is lower" & V-6 "Rusted die similar to No. 4; cracked in many places". Without regard to any other references my take away from Valentine's meager descriptions is that the V-1 has a large O mint mark while the other 5 have small O mint marks as they are either designated as "small" (V-2 & V-3) or "similar" ti mint marks previously designated as "small" (V-4 & V-5) or as "similar" to a mint mark indicated as "similar" to a small O (V-6). 

Bythe, on the other hand, in keeping with Valentine designates the V-1 as a "large O" mint mark that utilizes the reverse of the 1838 O half dime. He then, also in keeping with Valentine, designates the V-2, V-3 & V-6 as small O mint marks that are "round". The V-4 & V-5, however, Blythe designates as have a medium O that is "oval". Blythe further reports that the "Small O measures 0.8 millimeters and is centered midway between the bottom of the left base of the M in DIME and the bow". He does not, however, offer any comparable description of his "medium" O.

PCGS Coin Facts offers 7 images for the 1839 O half dime: http://www.pcgscoinfacts.com/CoinImages.aspx?s=4320 The 1st of these images is a Large O that is obviously much larger than the following 6 images. These 6 correspond to Blythe's medium and small O designation as follows (in order): small, small, medium, medium, small, small. Or so I believe. At this point, let me suggest that oval & round are much better descriptors  that rather than medium & small.

Six examples of the 1838 O reverse can be viewed at http://www.pcgscoinfacts.com/CoinImages.aspx?s=4314. They all show a mint mark that is both larger and set lower than the mint mark depicted in the 1st 1839 O Coin Facts image. Additionally, in comparing this (1839 large O) to the medium O depicted in Blythe's book it appears that it is significantly larger and yet smaller than the "reverse of 38" mint mark.

My last reference, https://www.usacoinbook.com/coins/1269/ ... of-1838-o/, depicts an image of the 1839 "large/hugh" O and another comparing the 1839 "small" O to the 1838 O.

My confusion began with my attempt to attribute my own 1839 O half dime which I acertained is a V-5 due to the 2 dies cracks that occur thru S1 & S4 and Valentine's description of the V-5 obverse: "Date high. Left star low and close.
Die breaks occur at 1st and 4th stars, top of head and from shield to 8 of date". My coin also exhibits that cracks at the "top of the head" and "8 of date" but they are noat near as visibkle in theis image as the other 2.

Seated Liberty Half Dime 1839O V5 VF35 - OBV.jpg

Seated Liberty Half Dime 1839O V5 VF35 - REV.jpg

The mint mark, however, is Blythe's oval which I none-the-less still consider a "small" mint mark as per Valentine. 

In conclusion, I believe there should be 4 basic designations for the 1839 O mint mark. They are as follows: small round mint mark, small oval mint mark, large mint mark (as depicted by the 1st image at the PCGS Coin Facts page, http://www.pcgscoinfacts.com/CoinImages.aspx?s=4320), and hugh, reverse of 38, mint mark. As usual there is much confusion in the information (literature) available for the seated liberty half dime and I would be most grateful to hear what others have to say about 1) my obsevations and 2) there own thatoughts as to the mint mark designations for the 1839 O half dime.
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SLHDCollecter
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Joined: April 20th, 2015, 3:58 pm

December 31st, 2017, 11:36 am #2

P.S. Almost forgot Mr. Flynn's contribution. In his 2014 publication he depicts on page 35 what he calls the medium mint mark for Valentine varieties V-2 thru V-6. Mr. Flynn concludes that no 1839 O small mint mark exists. For the V-1 he depicts an image of a mint mark that corresponds to the 1st Coin Facts image previously referenced. And while he states that this is the "reverse normally used for 1838-O" it does not match (in my estimation) the USA Coin Book reverses nor the reverses shown in Coin Facts as 1838 O reverses. 
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yosclimber
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Joined: January 22nd, 2017, 7:44 am

January 5th, 2018, 6:27 pm #3

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