Christian Gobrecht designed the Seated Liberty Half Dollar. The design was based upon Britannia which had been heavily used in British coins. It was minted from 1839 to 1891. There were several variations in the design that denoted various changes that were made to the currency over the years, specifically, in the amount of silver that was used in the coin. During the 1850s, silver prices were rising. It was in such demand that the public was melting their U.S. silver coins (including the seated liberty a half dollar) because the silver in the coin was more valuable than the face value on the coin itself. To prevent this from continuing, the government reduced the amount of silver that was used in the coin. That change was shown in arrows that were placed next to the date, and it was also demonstrated in rays around the eagle on the reverse of the coin for a single year. Later on, the silver content was increased in the coin, and arrows again denoted that change next to the date.