1842






General Comments


1842 is one of the more common dates in the Liberty Seated dollar series, with a mintage ranking of 38th out of 47. Examples are easy to locate in virtually any grade desired. They only become rare in choice to gem BU, MS63 or better.

The finest known business strikes are three MS64+ coins graded by PCGS. The two major services have graded a total of 38 coins MS64, 20 at PCGS and 18 at NGC. 36 additional coins have been graded MS63. With no coins graded MS65 itís safe to assume that several re-submissions are represented in these statistics. A total of 186 coins have been graded in all mint state grades. Although 181 coins have been added to the grading service populations since my first edition was published, only 4 were mint state coins. Population statistics are as of March, 2023.

In proof format, this date is a significant rarity. The finest known proofs are two PR65 examples, one graded by PCGS, one by NGC. Eight additional coins have been graded in lower proof grades, two in PR64, three in PR63, three at lower levels. The lowest of these is PR61. None have been added to the grading service populations since our first edition was published. Population statistics are as of March, 2023.

Mintage 184,618
Surviving proof mintage 15 estimated
Mintage ranking 38th
Finest known MS64+
PR65
Known obverse dies 8
Known reverse dies 3
Known die marriages 9
Most common die marriage OC-2/ R1
Rarest business strike die marriage OC-6/ R6-
Rarest proof strike die marriage OC-P1/ R6+
1842 business strikes are usually reasonably well struck but show some weakness on the star centrals and hair detail. The left side stars are normally flat for die marriage OC-1, but better defined for the other marriages. Wing feathers are usually well defined, but occasionally will show some weakness on the eagleís left leg.

High-grade business strikes are sometimes prooflike, but more often frosty. Prooflike and/or sharply struck examples can be located with patient searching.

1842 Die Marriages


Since the first edition of my book was published in January, 2018 a new die marriage has been discovered for 1842. I discovered this marriage while updating my review of auction archives in preparation for the publication of the second edition. This new marriage pairs a new obverse die, Obverse 8, with Reverse A. Obverse 8 is similar to Obverse 1, so much so that I missed two examples in my previous review of archived auction records (in late 2016). More will be said about the similarities in the detailed descriptions of OC-1 and OC-8.

9 die pairs have now been positively identified. 7 obverse dies were paired with 2 reverse dies to strike eight business strike die pairs. Three of these are rare. The other 5 can be easily located. None of these business strike dies were used for proofs.

A single proof die marriage was issued, using a unique obverse die paired with the reverse die used for almost all original proof issues from 1840 through 1854. I estimate a total surviving proof population of 15.

The following table summarizes the known die marriages for 1842:

Click the links below to view the details of each die marriage.

Die Marriage

Rarity

Obverse Die

Reverse Die

Estimated Survivors

OC-1 R3 1 A 375
OC-2 R1 2 A 1625
OC-3 R2 3 A 1175
OC-4 R1 3 B 1300
OC-5 R5- 4 B 70
OC-6 R6- 5 B 30
OC-7 R2 6 B 925
OC-8 R5 7 A 50
OC-P1 R6+ P1 1840 PA15


1842 Business Strike Emission Sequence

The 1842 emission sequence can be determined with reasonable accuracy since only two reverse dies were used for the 8 die marriages. We have considerable confidence in the first 4 marriages in the sequence. Reverse A, used for the first 4 die marriages, was polished several times, each time removing some of the unfinished areas and die markers that are present in its initial state. By observing the reduction in these areas, I was able to accurately determine the order of the first 4 marriages. Reverse A was then retired and replaced with reverse B, without changing the obverse die, Obverse 3. Obverse 3 exhibits notable degradation during its use. In its early state significant unfinished areas are notable, connecting both ends of the rock and the top of the head to the rims. As the die state progresses these unfinished areas are removed by die polishing. In its final state light rim cuds appear below the date. These are seen only on die marriage OC-4, which identifies that marriage as the final use of Obverse 3. The sequence following OC-4 is more difficult. Reverse B showed virtually no degradation during its use. The only change in state that Iíve observed is a small rim cud that appears as state b. Iíve seen that state on only a single coin, so I would feel more comfortable if I saw another example to confirm it. Iíve tentatively used it to place die marriage OC-7 at the end of the sequence. Iíve made my best guess to determine the placement of the other two marriages. My estimate of the emission sequence is documented in the following table.

Emission Order

Die Marriage

Comments

1 OC-1 Unfinished areas of reverse A are reduced by die polishing in each of the first 3 die marriages.
2 OC-8
3 OC-2
4 OC-3
5 OC-4 Obverse 3 rim cuds indicate that OC-4 followed OC-3.
6 OC-5
7 OC-6
8 OC-7 The only pairing of reverse B state b (an observed but unconfirmed die state) indicates that OC-7 is the terminal die state for Reverse B.


1842 Proof Emission Sequence

With only a single proof die marriage the emission sequence is simple.

Emission Order

Die Marriage

Comments

1 OC-P1


1842 Quick Finder Chart

1842 coins are relatively easy to attribute. Only 2 reverse dies were used. They can usually be easily identified even on low-grade coins. 6 obverse dies were used, but the date positions are different. The best approach to attribution is to first identify the reverse die, then choose from the obverse dies known to be paired with that reverse the one which best fits your coin. This approach should allow quick attribution of almost any coin down to a grade of VG.

Die Marriage

Obv. Die

Rev. Die

Right Base of 1

1 Verticle

2 Verticle

Grid

Keys to Identification

OC-1 1 A B SH SH 4-5.0 Obverse:   Die lines from shield edge below Y. Die lines in field above right arm. Left-most date.
Reverse:   3 parallel die lines slant slightly down in upper left shield recess.
OC-2 2 A JR of C/JL of C VSH VSH 5-5.0 Obverse:   Far right date, 5-5.0.
Reverse:   3 parallel die lines slant slightly down in upper left shield recess.
OC-3 3 A JL of RE VSH VSH 5-2.0 Obverse:   Die lines parallel left arm above finger.
Reverse:   3 parallel die lines slant slightly down in upper left shield recess.
OC-4 3 B JL of RE VSH VSH 5-2.0 Obverse:   Die lines parallel left arm above finger.
Reverse:   2-2 and 2-3 across first shield border at bottom.
OC-5 4 B L QTR VSL C 5-2.5 Obverse:   Heavy die line above the bend of the right elbow.
Reverse:   2-2 and 2-3 across first shield border at bottom.
OC-6 5 B LE C SL 5-5.5 Obverse:   Far right date, 5-5.5.
Reverse:   2-2 and 2-3 across first shield border at bottom.
OC-7 6 B B SL SL 5-4.0 Obverse:   2 in rock. Die lines above leg left of pole. Obverse cuds in late states.
Reverse:   2-2 and 2-3 across first shield border at bottom.
OC-8 7 A JR of LE VSH C 5-1.0 Obverse:   Date position differs slightly from Obverse 1.
Reverse:   3 parallel die lines slant slightly down in upper left shield recess.
OC-P1 P1 1840 PA LE C VSL 5-5.5 Obverse:   Repunched 1. 1 is centered. Date slants slightly down.
Reverse:   Defects on A3.


Photo credits:

Obverse and reverse full photos:   1842 PCGS PR65, ex. Norweb/Kaufman, from the Heritage archives.


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