PCGS: The Standard for the Rare Coin Industry

Type 4, Arrows at Date

Obverse of 1854 Half Dime
Reverse of 1854 Half Dime

Q. David Bowers (edited and updated by Mike Sherman): In 1853 the Liberty Seated design was modified by the addition of arrowheads to the left and right of the date to signify a decrease in the authorized weight from 20.625 grains to 19.200 grains. These arrows remained in place through 1855, after which they were discontinued, although the reduced weight remained in effect.

As earlier half dimes (as well as the other silver denominations) were being hoarded, the mint produced an unprecedented quantity of half dimes of the with-arrows style, with the figure for 1853 totaling 13,210,020 at the Philadelphia Mint whereas the highest mintage for any earlier half dime date since the inception of the denomination was 2,760,000, or less than a quarter of this figure, back in 1835.

The numismatist will have no difficulty in acquiring an example of this design in any desired grade from Good through AU. Uncirculated pieces are available, but gems can be a bit more elusive.

-- Reprinted with permission from "United States Coins by Design Types - An Action Guide for the Collector and Investor" by Q. David Bowers