Coin Specifications

Category: Seated Liberty Half Dollars (1839-1891)
Mint: Philadelphia
Mintage: 3,532,708
Catalog: KM-79
Obverse Designer: Christian Gobrecht
Reverse Designer: Christian Gobrecht
Composition: Silver
Fineness: 0.9000
Weight: 12.4400g
ASW: 0.3599oz
Melt Value: $7.00 (8/22/2014)
Diameter: 30.6mm
Edge: Reeded
Numismatic specification data provided by Krause Publications NumisMaster.
Link to this coin

1853 ARROWS & RAYS 50C MS obverse 1853 ARROWS & RAYS 50C MS reverse

Expand All    Collapse All

Description & Analysis

The vast quantities of gold that flooded the eastern United States in the late 1840s had a deleterious effect on the country's silver coins. As the price of the staple coinage metal rose sharply when reckoned in terms of gold dollars, it was not long before speculators started their usual hoarding and/or melting practices. By 1850, there were few coins in circulation between the lowly cent and the gold dollar. In an effort to rectify this grave coinage situation, Mint Director George N. Eckert proposed that Congress lower the weights of the silver coins to ensure that their face value remained above their bullion value. Despite reservations, Congress authorized this plan in the Mint Act of February 21, 1853. The half dollar's new weight was 12.44 grams, a sufficient enough reduction from its former weight of 13.36 grams to ensure that the denomination remained in circulation. To distinguish these new half dollars from their predecessors, Eckert ordered that arrows be placed on either side of the date and rays added around the eagle. With these features, the Philadelphia Mint delivered the first 80,000 examples of its lighter half dollar on May 21. By the end of the year, a respectable total of 3,532,708 specimens were produced by the parent mint alone.

Description and Analysis courtesy of Heritage Auctions and may not be republished without written permission.


Loading... Working...

Use the scroll bar at the bottom of this box to view a summary of the NGC Price Guide, NGC Census, Auction Prices Realized and NGC Registry Scores for each grade.

There was no data found for this Coin.

Select Designation


Select Grade

*To view the Census details for this coin, please sign in or sign up.

Price Guide

Click on a price to see historical prices, comparison charts and trends.

NGC Price and Value Guides Disclaimer



Total Graded: 1036
Low Grade: PrAg
Average Grade: 53
High Grade: 66

Upcoming Auctions

A random selection of NGC coins is shown below.

Auction House
Sale / Lot
8/26/2014 XF Details  Heritage Auctions Internet Coin Auction Session(2), 131434/Lot# 27725
9/6/2014 MS 64   Heritage Auctions 2014 September 4 - 6 Long Beach Expo US Coins Signature Auction - Long Beach Session(2), 1209/Lot# 4134
9/6/2014 MS 62   Heritage Auctions 2014 September 4 - 6 Long Beach Expo US Coins Signature Auction - Long Beach Session(2), 1209/Lot# 4132

Auction Prices Realized

A random selection of coins is shown below.

Auction House
Sale / Lot
7/9/1997 PCGS AU 58   Teletrade Auction 0961, 961/Lot# 1459 $844.75
2/20/2005 PCGS MS 60   Goldberg February 20-23, 2005 Pre-Long Beach Coin Auction, 28/Lot# 1240 $1,610.00
1/24/2012 NGC MS 64   Stack's Bowers The January 2012 Americana Sale, 134/Lot# 8661 $4,600.00
2/24/2013 NGC Details UNC Details  GreatCollections GreatCollections Coin Auctions 02/24/2013, 63/Lot# 87650 $467.50
3/17/2013 PCGS XF 45   GreatCollections GreatCollections Coin Auctions 03/17/2013, 66/Lot# 101088 $330.00
4/24/2013 NGC AU 55   Heritage Auctions 2013 April 24 - 28 CSNS US Coin Signature Auction - Chicago Session(8), 1184/Lot# 8378 $822.50
3/23/2014 PCGS AU 50   David Lawrence Rare Coins Internet Auction # 796, 805/Lot# 865 $700.00

Related Articles

There are no related articles for this coin.

NGC Auction Central Disclaimer