Coin Specifications

Category: Seated Liberty Half Dollars (1839-1891)
Mint: Philadelphia
Mintage: 550
Catalog: KM-107
Obverse Designer: Christian Gobrecht
Reverse Designer: Christian Gobrecht
Composition: Silver
Fineness: 0.9000
Weight: 12.5000g
ASW: 0.3617oz
Melt Value: $7.13 (4/21/2014)
Diameter: 30.6mm
Edge: Reeded
Numismatic specification data provided by Krause Publications NumisMaster.
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1873 ARROWS 50C PF obverse 1873 ARROWS 50C PF reverse


  
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Description & Analysis

The Crime of '73, as western mine owners labeled the Mint Act of February 12, 1873, was perhaps the most misguided coinage law in the history of the United States. In a vain effort to goad the American public to accept the metric system, the federal government decided that its silver coins could function as metric weights. Regardless of whether they were incompetent in coinage practices or simply chose to ignore the glaring contradictions of this proposal, Congressmen failed to recognize that coin planchets varied regularly enough to ensure that their use as standard weights was a pointless gesture. Nevertheless, based on this flimsy pretext, Congress increased the weight of the half dollar in early 1873 from 12.44 grams to 12.50 grams. A useless paper complication, the act failed to win popular acceptance from either the Bureau of the Mint or the American public. Since its standard practice was to accept all planchets that weighed within 0.2 grams of the approved weight, the Mint simply continued to use the old pre-1873 planchets without raising objections from the Assay Commission. The average American citizen did not even know about the change and public acceptance of the metric system today is no stronger than it was before the Crime of '73.

Despite its shortcomings at the time, the Mint Act of 1873 has several noteworthy effects as far as modern numismatists are concerned. First, it prompted the Mints to melt large quantities of the No Arrows silver coins dated 1872 and 1873. Second, it created yet another short-lived type within the Seated Liberty dime, quarter, and half dollar series. While most of the 1873-1874 issues are far from rare, their enormous desirability among type collectors will ensure their popularity for decades to come. With this in mind, we urge advanced numismatists to carefully consider the lovely gem specimen that we offer here. Many of the 550 proofs coined after the adoption of the Mint Act of 1873 were included in proof sets that the Mint sold to collectors at the time of issue. Although numerous pieces survive today, many of these have suffered from the crude effects of improper handling and/or surface alteration.

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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1873 ARROWS 50C PF
  GVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970
Base $ - - - - - - - - - - 1000 1100 1450 2600 4100 12250 31500 52500 - - -
$ - - - - - 1100 1200 1575 2850 5000 14750 33500 57500 -
1873 ARROWS 50C PF Cameo
  GVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970
Base $ - - - - - - - - - - - - - 2800 4400 18800 33500 - - - -
$ - - - - - - - - 3050 5250 20750 36500 - -
1873 ARROWS 50C PF Ultra Cameo
  GVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970
Base $ - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
$ - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
NGC Price and Value Guides Disclaimer

Census

 
NGC GRADE SUMMARY

Total Graded: 137
Low Grade: 60
Average Grade: 63
High Grade: 67


Upcoming Auctions


Auction Prices Realized

A random selection of coins is shown below.

Images
Date
Service
Grade
Auction House
Sale / Lot
Price
1/10/1998 PCGS PF 64   Heritage Auctions 1998 F.U.N. Signature Sale #181, 181/Lot# 6922 $2,530.00
2/5/2001 PCGS PF 63   Teletrade Auction 1403, 1403/Lot# 1371 $1,350.00
6/5/2002 PCGS PF 60   Heritage Auctions 2002 June Long Beach Signature Sale #292, 292/Lot# 7265 $805.00
11/25/2002 NGC PF 65   Heritage Auctions 2002 November Santa Clara Bullet Sale #305, 305/Lot# 1024 $5,002.50
11/7/2003 NGC PF 66   Heritage Auctions 2003 November Signature Sale #334, 334/Lot# 6702 $11,787.50
2/20/2005 PCGS PF 63   Goldberg February 20-23, 2005 Pre-Long Beach Coin Auction, 28/Lot# 1269 $1,610.00
9/17/2008 NGC PF 66   Heritage Auctions 2008 September Long Beach, CA US Coin Signature Auction #1116, 1116/Lot# 2264 $19,550.00
8/15/2011 NGC PF 61   Stack's Bowers The August 2011 Chicago ANA World's Fair of Money Auction, 115/Lot# 7367 $31,625.00
2/9/2014 PCGS PF 63   David Lawrence Rare Coins Internet Auction # 790, 799/Lot# 608 $3,550.00


NGC Registry

NGC Registry Score 1873 ARROWS 50C PF
 PrAgGVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970
Base1111111159184211381303150517992176283949005563654579081235517356
11111111976749401193137016031924239735265121589069999390140220
0000001197674940119313701603192423973526512158906999939000
000000139475810391248143717012050261842135342621774531087200
1873 ARROWS 50C PF Cameo
 PrAgGVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970
Base1111111163389812061379158918952286297351015783679482061276217882
111111121172110001263144916912025251536825328612072649724144680
00000012117211000126314491691202525153682532861207264972400
000000142280911031321151917932155274443915555645777351124300
1873 ARROWS 50C PF Ultra Cameo
 PrAgGVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970
Base1111111169297413011484170720292441316053806089713886941338818711
1111111231786108313621558181421662680390056166438765610258151620
000000123178610831362155818142166268039005616643876561025800
000000146188011921423163219212303292046405852678881751182300
Registry Image Gallery
Grade: PF 66*
Points: 5890
Owner: Malibu Collector
 
Grade: PF 66 CA
Points: 5783
Owner: First Strike Society
 
View the Registry Image Gallery

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