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1860 - 1861 Type 1 vs Type 2 Obverse Design Hubs

Originally published on October 30 2018

Later in today's Blog, readers will find a new client gallery with several 1860 and 1861 dimes from my reference collection. All are "web-book" plate coins. Explaining the difference between the 1860 and 1861 obverse design hubs is a timely exercise as most collectors struggle with immediately recognizing the differences between two uniquely engraved hub dies.

Let's start this educational module with a brief review of the Type 1 vs. Type 2 obverse designs per the following illustrations. By the way, these illustration along with a host of other Liberty Seated dime design differences are located on Liberty Seated dime website at this link: www.seateddimevarieties.com/Basic_Varieties.htm.

Type 1 Obverse
Type 2 Observe


Distinguishing 1861 Type 1 and Type 2 obverse dies takes practice for the casual collector of Liberty Seated dimes. The Type 1 obverse hub design was only used in 1860 and for a small portion of 1861 coinage. The guidebooks will point collectors to the difference in the shield stripes and Liberty's hand/finger position on the left side of the shield. To be honest, I don't use this attribution approach and have trained my eye to recognize the obvious differences in Liberty's body shape on the two difference obverse hubs. On Type 1 obverses, Liberty is a bit more full figured but she appears to have been on the low-carb diet on the Type 2 obverse.

All 1860 Philadelphia struck dimes employed a Type 1 obverse design which has very "delicate" relief that can wear down quickly. Few if any examples are seen with poor strikes or die cracks. The mintage to die ratio is low (50,580 per die), which could explain the quality of surviving examples.

My belief is that Assistant Mint Engraver, Anthony Paquet, was responsible for the Type 1 obverse design based on shallow relief, lack of bold device details and lettering that is style consistent with Paquets other works.

During 1861, Longacre updated the obverse hub to improve striking quality. During that year, obverse dies were produced from both the Type 1 and Type 2 obverse hubs. The old Type 1 hub of 1861 has 5 vertical lines in the upper part of the shield above the banner. Liberty's index finger also fell on the outside of the left shield edge. On the new Type 2 hub of 1861, there are 6 vertical lines above the banner. The letters on the Type 1 hub are thinner than the letters on the Type 2 hub. Once a Seated dime collector becomes familiar with the appearance of the Type 1 and Type 2 obverse hubs from these diagnostics, it is rather simple to identify the hubs by the overall appearance of Liberty's upper body.

All 1861 San Francisco strikes were done with Type 1 obverse design resulting in rapid wear and few choice survivors for present day collectors.