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New guide to Seated silver dollars

What do you think is the hardest thing to do in numismatics?

I am sure there are many thoughts that come to mind, but I do not think you will match my answer.

In my 40 years of being an editor at Numismatic News, I find the hardest thing to do is persuade collectors to buy a book.

Now, some actually collect books.

The Red Book is a collectible in its own right.

But many hobbyists consider every dollar spent on a book as a dollar that cannot be spent on a coin.

Despite knowing this, I think it is important to bring a new book to your attention.

The Florida United Numismatists convention in Tampa will see the release of Liberty Seated Dollars – A Register of Die Varieties.

It has been written and compiled by Dick Osburn and Brian Cushing.

They will be signing copies on the bourse floor later this week at the Osburn-Cushing Rare Coins table, No. 535.

Both are well known in the field.

Osburn says he began collecting coins in 1955 and started specializing in Seated coinage in the early 1980s.

In 2003, he retired from his job in the aerospace industry to devote full time to coin dealing and collecting.

In 2011, he became the first collector to assemble a complete set of certified Mint State Seated Liberty halves.

That is an impressive thing to do.

Osburn sold this collection in 2011 and began to focus on Seated Liberty dollars, with the goal of writing this book, to document all known die marriages for all years of the series.

He says that quest continues to this day.

In the early 1990s, he founded Dick Osburn Rare Coins, specializing exclusively in Bust and Seated Liberty silver coinage.

He sold the business in 2010, but both he and the business (now known as Osburn-Cushing Numismatics, and owned by Cushing) continues to maintain a presence at regional and national coin shows.

As preludes to this book, Osburn wrote more than a dozen articles for the Gobrecht Journal, the official publication of the Liberty Seated Collectors Club.

His articles were voted best to appear in the Journal for the year 1999, and again for the year 2012.

The year 1999 article, “An Analysis of Rarity and Population Estimates for Liberty Seated Half Dollars,” he said, was also voted the best to appear in issues 76 to through 100 of the Journal, a period of over eight years.

Cushing began his numismatic career working for J.J. Teaparty in 2004. There he developed a strong interest in attributing die varieties.

He left the firm in 2007 and started his own business.

In the summer of 2009, he became vice president and senior numismatist at Dick Osburn Rare Coins.

He later bought the business that today is Osburn-Cushing Numismatics.

Cushing specializes in all early United States silver coinage.

He is a life member of the American Numismatic Association, a life member of the Silver Dollar Round Table and holds life memberships with both FUN and the Virginia Numismatic Association.

Cushing is currently the West Coast Regional Director of the Liberty Seated Collectors Club.

The new book covers all Seated dollars, beginning in 1840 and ending in 1873. Both business strikes and proofs are included.

All known die marriages of each issue are described in detail, with estimated rarity ratings for each die marriage.

Each issue is described in a separate chapter for a total of 48 chapters for the series.

Also included are chapters on Terminology, Collecting Liberty Seated Halves, Grading, Rarity, Survival Rates and Population Estimates, Proofs vs. Business Strikes, and Restrikes.

For variety collectors, there is a list of the Top-30 Seated Dollar varieties is included.

Many of these varieties have never before been described in numismatic literature.

The book is being self-published, with a limited number printed.

Retail price of the soft-cover book is $95.

The hard-cover edition is $129.

Dick Osburn can be telephoned at 713-875-5860, or emailed at

Brian Cushing can be called at 603-767- 7745, or emailed at

I think this book is a very important addition to numismatic knowledge.

I hope others will feel the same.

Buzz blogger Dave Harper won the Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog for the third time in 2017 . He is editor of the weekly newspaper "Numismatic News."

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