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: $7.72 (7/11/2014)
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


  
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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.


GRADE SUMMARY

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Price Guide

Last Updated: 12/5/2013

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

1853 ARROWS & RAYS 50C MS
  GVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970
Base $ 38.00 50.00 75.00 120 290 290 565 675 850 1125 1500 1700 2375 3500 5750 26000 57500 95000 - - -
$ 320 615 725 950 1225 1650 1850 2800 3750 6750 29000 76375 105000 -
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Census

 
NGC GRADE SUMMARY

Total Graded: 1029
Low Grade: PrAg
Average Grade: 53
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
9/20/2007 NGC AU 53   David Lawrence Rare Coins Thursday - Internet Auction # 179, 185/Lot# 5663 $517.50
1/31/2010 PCGS MS 63   Goldberg January 31 - February 3, 2010 Pre-Long Beach Coin and Currency Auction, 57/Lot# 1078 $2,875.00
5/19/2010 PCGS VF 30   Teletrade Auction 2857, 2857/Lot# 1639 $149.50
5/30/2012 NGC MS 64   Stack's Bowers The June 2012 Baltimore Auction, 137/Lot# 2697 $4,993.75
11/18/2013 NGC VF 30   Teletrade Auction 3457, 3457/Lot# 1292 $129.25
12/5/2013 PCGS XF 45   Heritage Auctions 2013 December 5 - 8 US Coins Signature Auction - Houston Session(5), 1192/Lot# 7953 $470.00
2/27/2014 NGC AU 58   Heritage Auctions 2014 February 27 - 28 & March 2 Mid-Winter ANA US Coins Signature Auction - Atlanta Session(1), 1203/Lot# 3501 $1,116.25
4/13/2014 PCGS XF 45   GreatCollections GreatCollections Coin Auctions 04/13/2014, 181/Lot# 186367 $423.50


NGC Registry

NGC Registry Score 1853 ARROWS & RAYS 50C MS
 PrAgGVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970
Base181941512555978331028132314901711184320482401289042176248121601934531037501771
27851131853696758981126137815631755191121652564333248948218145552324237417501770
000000898112613781563175519112165256433324894821814555232423741700
0000009631224143416371799197922832727377455711018916950271394379700
Registry Image Gallery
Grade: MS 64
Points: 4217
Owner: BillJones
 
Grade: MS 61
Points: 2240
Owner: jacmitch
 
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