The Capped Bust Half Dollars were replaced by the Liberty Seated Half Dollars in 1839. The obverse of the Liberty Seated Half Dollar features Mint Engraver Christian Gobrecht's rendition of Liberty from the 1836 dollar coin. In this rendition, Liberty is seated on a rock holding a shield with 'LIBERTY' written accross it in her right hand and a staff with a Liberty cap in her left hand; the date appears below her. Liberty is surrounded by 13 stars. The reverse was not changed from the Capped Bust Half Dollar and features an eagle with a shield on it's chest. In it's talons ar an olive branch and arrows, signifying peace and strength. The denomination, 'HALF DOL.' appears below the eagle and the legend 'UNITED STATES OF AMERICA' above it.
Liberty Seated, No Motto Above Eagle, with & without drapery (1839-1853,1856-1866)
The initial type, the Liberty Seated, No Motto Above Eagle, No Drapery From Elbow was minted only in 1839. That same year the Mint hired artist Robert Ball Hughes to modify the Liberty Seated design. Hughes reduced the size of the rock Liberty sits upon and added a drapery over her left elbow, but unlike the lower denominations where he had stood the shield upright he left the shield tilted on the half dollar. The reverse was not changed. This second type is referred to as Liberty Seated, No Motto Above Eagle, Drapery From Elbow. The mint produced several variations of lettering for the date and legend in this type, though none of these has been classified as a different type.
Liberty Seated, Arrows at Date (1853-1855)
Production of the Liberty Seated, No Motto Above Eagle, Drapery From Elbow Half Dollar was interrupted from 1853 through 1855 when the weight of the half dollar, along with all other silver coins below a dollar, was reduced to keep the bullion value below face value of the coin. These coins had arrows added on either side of the date to distinguish them. The arrows were removed in 1856 and the Liberty Seated, No Motto Above Eagle Half Dollar was struck until 1866.
Liberty Seated, Motto Above Eagle (1866-1873,1875-1891)
The Mint Act of 1865 mandated that the motto IN GOD WE TRUST appear on all gold and silver coins large enough to display it and the motto appeared on the reverse of all half dollars starting in 1866.
Liberty Seated, Arrows at Date (1873-1874)
In 1874, arrows were added at either side of the date to indicate another change in weight. This time, the Mint had converted to the metric system and hence the weight of the coin was measured in grams. The Mint Act of 1873 was the source of the weight change and also mandated that any half dollars that did not have the arrows at the date be destroyed.
The Liberty Seated Half Dollar was replaced by the Liberty Head Half Dollar in 1892.