[ REVISED APRIL 2019 ]
1859 witnessed some subtle changes to the Half Dime design, as Anthony Paquet modified Robert Ball Hughes’s Liberty Seated obverse. As half dime researcher Daniel Valentine noted:
“The new hub is of slightly lower relief. The stars are sharper pointed and are hollow in the center. The face, hair, and drapery show marked differences, the arms are slimmer, the Liberty cap small, the word LIBERTY on shield is larger, the bottom of the base less irregular and projects beyond the foot of Liberty.”
Paquet’s obverse hub was also used for the “stateless” Transitional Pattern Half Dimes Judd 232 and 267 of 1859 and 1860.
Due to the recent discovery of what looks like eighteen high grade Mint State 1859 Half Dimes, the populations for MS67 and MS68 at PCGS have jumped considerably, as the PCGS Census now reports 29 coins graded MS67/67+ and 5 graded MS68/68+.