He was recommended by President Thomas Jefferson to become an assistant engraver at the United States Mint in 1801. However, he would not take the position until 1807 since Robert Scot, chief engraver and designer of most of the early United States coins, had refused an assistant. John Reich was eventually hired when the health and eye sight of Scot began to decline. One of Reich's first tasks was to redesign circulating coinage, which all featured Scot's designs. The obverse of Reich's new design features the bust of Liberty, facing left. She is wearing a cap, which is referred to as a Phrygian or Freedom Cap, a symbol of the American Revolutionary War. Liberty's hair is curling and flowing gently downwards and a small part of her dress can be seen just below the neck.
There are seven stars in front and six additional stars behind, representing the original thirteen states in the Union. The headband carries the inscription LIBERTY, and the date, slightly curved, is seen beneath the portrait. The reverse of the Capped Bust Half Dollar would be featured in various forms on much of the silver coinage of the 19th century. It features an American Bald Eagle, with wings spread and a bundle of arrows and an olive branch in its claws. A scroll above the eagle includes the motto E Pluribus Unum, and nearly fully around is United States Of America. The denomination, which is expressed as 50 C., is below the eagle. Reich was the first designer who consistently included the denomination within his designs.SPECIFICATIONS:
Measurements: 3"W x 3"H.
Distributed by American Collectors Mint, LLC.
Die: An engraved piece of metal used to stamp a design on a coin.
Die crack: A small, raised imperfection on a coin resulting from a crack in the stamping die.
Early release: The Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC) uses this designation for U.S. Bullion Coins during the first month of release from the U.S. Mint. To qualify for Early Release designation, NGC must receive the coins within 30 days of their release by the US Mint or properly documented as being received by an NGC approved entity within the same 30-day release period.
Encapsulated coin: A coin graded and authenticated by a professional coin service, then sealed in plastic.
Field: The typically flat area surrounding the relief and not used for legend or inscription.
Legal tender: Official money issued by the government.
Legend: The coin's primary lettering.
Lettered edge: An inscription added to the edge of a coin.
Luster: The quality of the surface brilliance on a Mint State or Uncirculated coin.
Mercury dime: Issued from 1916 to 1945, this U.S. dime featured a representation of Liberty in a winged hat that was commonly mistaken for the ancient god, Mercury.
Mint: A government controlled coin production facility.
Mint mark: A small letter stamped on a coin that indicates its mint origin, ex. "D" for Denver.
Mint Set: One coin from each of the available denominations in a particular year, produced by a single mint and made for circulation.
Mint State (Uncirculated): A regular production coin never used in trade and existing in its original condition.
Mintage: The number of coins produced.
NGC: Numismatic Guaranty Corporation.
Numismatics: The collection and study of monetary objects such as coins and paper bills.
Obverse: Heads, or a coin's front side.
Patina: Surface discoloration, typically green or brown, caused by oxidation over time.
PCGS: Professional Coin Grading Service.
Planchet: A blank metal piece used to produce a coin.
Proof: Expertly polished planchets and dies produce these coins which feature an extremely high quality strike, resulting in unmatched detail and brilliant surface finish.
Reeded edge: A coin edge finish featuring parallel vertical grooves all the way around.
Relief: The raised portion of a stamped design that sits above the coin's field.
Reverse: Tails, or coin's back side.
Rim: The raised ring around the perimeter of a coin designed to reduce wear on the relief.
Strike: The act of stamping a coin.
Truncation: The bottom edge of a portrait or bust.
Wheat penny: Lincoln cents issued from 1909 to 1958 bearing the wheat ear design on the reverse.