Coin Specifications

Category: Seated Liberty Half Dollars (1839-1891)
Mint: New Orleans
Mintage: 2,532,633
Catalog: KM-A68
Obverse Designer: Christian Gobrecht
Reverse Designer: Christian Gobrecht
Composition: Silver
Fineness: 0.9000
Weight: 12.4400g
ASW: 0.3599oz
Melt Value: $7.09 (4/21/2014)
Diameter: 30.6mm
Edge: Reeded
Numismatic specification data provided by Krause Publications NumisMaster.
Link to this coin

1861 O 50C MS obverse 1861 O 50C MS reverse


  
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Description & Analysis

The 2012 Guide Book has this to say concerning the recorded mintage of 2,532,633 1861-O Seated Liberty half dollars: 'The 1861-O quantity includes 330,000 struck under the United States government, 1,240,000 for the State of Louisiana after it seceded from the Union, and 962,633 after Louisiana joined the Confederate States of America. As all these 1861-O coins were struck from U.S. dies, it is impossible to distinguish one from another. They should not be confused with the very rare Confederate half dollar of 1861 which has a distinctive reverse.'

Breen reports in his Complete Encyclopedia that 'no records survive about issue of the 1861-O proof half dollars, the most likely occasions for making these would have been inception of coinage for Louisiana and for the CSA. What is known, however, is that in April 1861, Confederate Secretary of the Treasury Christopher Memminger issued orders that new designs for a Confederate half dollar be submitted to him for approval. Clearly, these 1861-O specimen half dollars owe their existence to the need to commemorate an event before the new Confederate dies were ready. (Or the reverse die, as it turned out, the Confederate half dollars reused a Union obverse die, identifiable by a die crack from rim to the bridge of the nose.) The Confederate mint closed at the end of April 1861. Examining the timeline, it is known that the first delivery of 333,000 half dollars was struck under U.S. authority. As such--since half dollars had been struck in New Orleans for decades--there would have been no need for a special commemoration of the Union striking. The specimen 1861-O halves thus clearly were intended as a commemoration of the March striking of 1,240,000 half dollars under authority of the State of Louisiana. After all, it appears that the intent, at least, was to produce custom-made dies for the Confederate strikings, once the dies were prepared and approved.

Walter Breen's Proof Encyclopedia gives a provenance of six proof or specimen examples, of which two may be duplicates, for a total of only four individual coins known.

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


GRADE SUMMARY

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Price Guide

Last Updated: 10/29/2013

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1861 O 50C MS
  GVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970
Base $ 33.00 50.00 65.00 110 210 210 330 380 460 555 610 800 1250 1500 2600 6250 15000 - - - -
$ 265 360 420 515 590 660 900 1375 1650 3000 6750 16500 - -
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Census

 
NGC GRADE SUMMARY

Total Graded: 286
Low Grade: PrAg
Average Grade: 55
High Grade: 66


Upcoming Auctions


Auction Prices Realized

A random selection of coins is shown below.

Images
Date
Service
Grade
Auction House
Sale / Lot
Price
8/19/1995 PCGS MS 63   Heritage Auctions 1995 ANA Sale #139, 139/Lot# 6323 $770.00
9/27/2007 NGC MS 63   Heritage Auctions 2007 September Long Beach, CA Signature Coin Auction #446, 446/Lot# 1550 $1,322.50
6/26/2008 PCGS MS 64   Heritage Auctions 2008 June West Palm Beach, FL (Summer FUN) Signature Coin Auction #1110, 1110/Lot# 1027 $2,760.00
6/8/2009 NGC MS 62   David Lawrence Rare Coins Monday - Internet Auction # 382, 388/Lot# 559 $759.00
3/31/2011 NGC PR 1   Stack's Bowers The March 2011 Baltimore Auction, 83/Lot# 2001 $439.30
5/29/2011 PCGS MS 63   Goldberg May 29 - June 1, 2011 The Pre-Long Beach Auction of US, World Coins and Currency, 63/Lot# 825 $2,472.50
7/7/2011 PCGS AU 55   Heritage Auctions 2011 July Orlando Summer FUN Signature US Coin Auction Session(1), 1157/Lot# 3658 $1,610.00
9/25/2011 NGC AU 50   Teletrade Auction 3143, 3143/Lot# 1882 $230.00
10/18/2012 NGC PR 1   Heritage Auctions 2012 October 18-21 ANA US Coins Signature Auction - Dallas Session(5), 1175/Lot# 8977 $381.88


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