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Brit Tip #2

What is the “dots on shield” variety found on some copper halfpennies?

Beginning in 1851, one of the halfpenny reverse dies had a defect in it that produced seven dots on and around the shield. This led to two varieties on the dates 1851, 1852 and 1857 – the “dots” and “no dots” varieties. All of the halfpennies dated 1853-1856 have the telltale dots on the shield.

How can you tell which variety you have? Look at the rim of the shield in Figure 1. At about 5:00 you will notice two dots. If the dots show up on your coin, you have the “dots” variety.

Figure 1.  Dots on shield.

Posted on CU 7/8/2003