The changes to this Type are more technological than artistic. The obverse is very similar to its predecessor, with some much-needed modification of the portrait. The design of the reverse is basically the same, with changes only to the size of the letters and numbers. The diameter of the coin is approximately 1.2 mm smaller than the preceding half eagle.
Although the coin design is very much the same, the appearance of the coin is different. Advances in technology are to thank for this improvement. This is the first half eagle to benefit from use of the Mint’s new closed collar. The collar is a part of the coin press that encircles the planchet to keep metal from flowing outward when struck by the dies. In its early years the Mint used collars constructed of three pieces. The new closed collar was one piece, and looked like a metal cylinder with a hole in it. Not only did this new technology standardize the diameter of coins, but also by being a stable barrier to metal flow, it improved the overall striking quality of coins. Coins now had a much more “finished” appearance. When minting coins with reeded edges, the reeds were engraved into the collar. When dies struck the planchet, reeding was instantly added to the coin, greatly increasing Mint productivity.
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