Steve Crain, a half dime collector from Maine, has been carefully collecting Liberty Seated half dimes since the 1980s and over that time has formed the most comprehensive die variety reference collection ever built. Heretofore the Daniel Valentine reference (The United States Half Dimes, published in 1931 by the American Numismatic Society as Numismatic Notes and Monographs, no. 48) has been the best variety guide, but the plates, while acceptable for the era, are far eclipsed by today’s digital photography.
Steve Herrman, working under a 2019 Newman Grant, has delivered approximately 4,000 images that serve to thoroughly document the Crain collection. Included are high-resolution images of each coin, as well as the 2x2 holders that Crain used for annotations. This is the best available photographic guide to the Valentine series and will enable collectors to more readily identify these sometimes ambiguous varieties. Independently, Clint Cummins is building an online attribution guide for half dime varieties that is also worthy of mention. The Cummins site will incorporate the Crain photographs over time.
Newman Portal acknowledges the Eric P. Newman Numismatic Education Society for awarding a Newman Grant for this project, as well as W. Dave Perkins and the Liberty Seated Collectors Club for their support of the project.
Link to Steve Crain Liberty Seated half dime image collection on Newman Portal: https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/imagecollection/514182
Link to Clint Cummins’ Liberty Seated half dime attribution guide: https://web.stanford.edu/~clint/hdag/