Coin Specifications

Category: Barber Half Dollars (1892-1915)
Mint: Philadelphia
Mintage: 934,000
Catalog: KM-116
Obverse Designer: Charles E. Barber
Reverse Designer: Charles E. Barber
Composition: Silver
Fineness: 0.9000
Weight: 12.5000g
ASW: 0.3617oz
Melt Value: $6.15 (10/2/2014)
Diameter: 30.6mm
Edge: Reeded
Numismatic specification data provided by Krause Publications NumisMaster.
Link to this coin

1892 50C MS obverse 1892 50C MS reverse


  
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Description & Analysis

The mintage for Philadelphia half dollars was recorded as 934,000 pieces in 1892, and many were saved as the first of their kind. After all, it had been since 1839 when the half dollar had seen a major design change. Apparently, this new Barber design was well received by the public. Nevertheless, time and attrition take their inevitable toll and very few of these early Barber half dollars remain in Gem condition.

Mint Director J. P. Kimball placed his considerable influence behind the passage of what became the Mint Act of September 26, 1890. This Act specified that coin designs could be changed after they had been in use 25 years. Minor silver coinage came up for possible change in 1891. A circular requesting proposals was sent to 10 of America's premier sculptors which failed to produce the desired results. Thus, the Treasury opened the competition to the public, but one of the judges was Mint Engraver Charles E. Barber. 300 entries were submitted, but none were thought worthy of a prize, and only two received Honorable Mention. Barber submitted his own design, which was adopted for coinage in 1892, on dimes, quarters and half dollars. The obverse depicts Liberty as a mirror image of the current Morgan silver dollar, with a laurel wreath on her head, and her hair tucked up under her cap instead of cascading onto her shoulders as on the silver dollar. Barber adapted the reverse design from the Great Seal, very similar to what Robert Scot had done 91 years earlier on silver and gold coinage. The only change was in the array of stars over the eagle's head, randomly placed instead of in the shape of the Star of David pattern from the Great Seal, or in rows as Robert Scot had done on the Draped Bust coinage. Barber's design continued for 25 calendar years, when the new Walking Liberty half dollars were released in late 1916.

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: 7/29/2014

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1892 50C MS
  GVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970
Base $ 29.00 40.00 75.00 135 230 230 370 400 440 475 515 625 750 1030 1500 3200 5350 18500 42250 - -
$ 250 400 440 480 525 545 685 800 1130 1880 3450 7640 24500 -
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Census

 
NGC GRADE SUMMARY

Total Graded: 958
Low Grade: PrAg
Average Grade: 61
High Grade: 68


Upcoming Auctions


Auction Prices Realized

A random selection of coins is shown below.

Images
Date
Service
Grade
Auction House
Sale / Lot
Price
8/17/2005 PCGS AU 58   Teletrade Auction 2080, 2080/Lot# 1517 $504.00
11/1/2010 NGC MS 63   David Lawrence Rare Coins Monday - Internet Auction # 528, 535/Lot# 497 $799.25
9/7/2011 NGC MS 63   Heritage Auctions 2011 September Long Beach Signature US Coin Auction Session(4), 1159/Lot# 7858 $747.50
6/3/2012 PCGS VF 35   GreatCollections GreatCollections Coin Auctions 06/03/2012, 25/Lot# 55574 $139.70
9/25/2013 PCGS MS 62   Goldberg September 22-25, 2013 September Pre Long Beach, 75/Lot# 1492 $603.75
12/5/2013 PCGS MS 63   Heritage Auctions 2013 December 5 - 8 US Coins Signature Auction - Houston Session(4), 1192/Lot# 4756 $881.25
7/11/2014 NGC AU 50   Stack's Bowers August 2014 Chicago ANA, 6014/Lot# 6152 $258.50


NGC Registry

NGC Registry Score 1892 50C MS
 PrAgGVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970
Base1061311632854566427838749641021106611101233134517162056305238655806902733
1141412033425186898139049831036108011511270146818292388332345126879902730
0000008139049831036108011511270146818292388332345126879902700
00000084393410021051109511921307159219422720359451597953902700
Registry Image Gallery
Grade: MS 63
Points: 1716
Owner: Scott mathison
 
Grade: MS 63
Points: 1258
Owner: tom7422
 
View the Registry Image Gallery

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