[The following article is published courtesy of DLRC Press and its authors, Randy Wiley and Bill Bugert. This information was originally published in 1993 in The Complete Guide to Liberty Seated Half Dollars.]
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- Authors’ Research Effort: extensive
- Number of Die Marriages Documented: 1
- Number of Head Dies Identified: 1
- Number of Tail Dies Identified: 1
- Number of Collar Reed Counts Identified: 1 (147)
- Standard Diameter or Diameter Range: 1.203 inches
- Number of Major Varieties: 1
- WB-101. VERY SMALL MINTMARK. (1 TAIL DIE)
This tail die was made from Tail Hub Variety 2 and is known to be paired to a single head die. Authentication of this rare variety can be readily verified by a die chip (a raised lump) high in the recessed area between the left edge of the reverse shield and the first set of vertical stripes. Because the lump is in a recessed area, it can be seen on coins of very low grade. (Breen-5024)
- All 1878-S Liberty Seated Half Dollars seen have been well struck with no evidence of die clashing or die breaks. Nearly all mint state coins cataloged have been described as fully prooflike or partially prooflike.
- (See  page 272 and  pages 389-390.)
- Based on a careful study of auction records plus discussions with dealers and collectors, we can project a total population of at least 48 pieces of which 16 fall into a grade range of AU58 – MS64, 16 are between F12 – AU55, and 16 are between FR2 and VG1O. Since the 1878-S is the key coin to the date/mint set, it is on most collectors’ want list and many coins go directly into collections without formal advertisement. Therefore, the total population of the 1878-S is most likely at least 60 pieces with most of the additional pieces falling into the lower circulated range.