Type 6, With Motto, Arrows at Date

Obverse of 1874 Arrows at Date Half Dollar
Reverse of 1874 Arrows at Date Half Dollar

Q. David Bowers (edited and updated by Mike Sherman): Part way through 1873 the authorized weight of the half dollar was increased slightly from 192 grains to 192.9 grains, the latter equaling precisely 12.5 grams. To signify this change, arrowheads were again placed to the left and right of the date, as had been done twenty years earlier when it signified a weight decrease. After 1874, even though the new weight standard remained the same, the arrows were no longer used. Otherwise, the Liberty Seated with IN GOD WE TRUST motto type is the same as that used from 1866 through 1891 inclusive.

As usual, the Philadelphia mint produced the lion’s share of coins during the 1873-74 years, so the type set collector normally gravitates towards one of these. Examples are available in grades from Good through Extremely Fine with little searching, although a Choice AU or Uncirculated piece will require a bit more time to locate. Superb Uncirculated pieces are tough with only about a dozen certified by PCGS above MS-65. One rare business strike exists in the series: the 1874-CC, of which just 59,000 were minted, and it is estimated that fewer than 200 survive today.

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