Coin Specifications

Category: Early Halves (1794-1839)
Mint: Philadelphia
Mintage: 3,546,000
Catalog: KM-65
Obverse Designer: Christian Gobrecht
Reverse Designer: Christian Gobrecht
Composition: Silver
Fineness: 0.9000
Weight: 13.3600g
ASW: 0.3866oz
Melt Value: $5.67 (9/1/2015)
Diameter: 30mm
Edge: Reeded
Numismatic specification data provided by Krause Publications NumisMaster.
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1838 50C MS obverse 1838 50C MS reverse

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Description & Analysis

While the coming of steam power to the Philadelphia mint doubtless explains the introduction of Christian Gobrecht's first Reeded Edge Half Dollar in 1836, numismatists are at a loss to explain why the designer changed the reverse of his coin in 1838. Breen (1988) speculates that the denomination was changed from 50 CENTS to HALF DOL for uniformity with the Quarter and Silver Dollar. The Philadelphia Mint produced 3.5 million Halves in 1838, the highest total for any issue of this brief two-year type.

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


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Price Guide

Last Updated: 3/12/2015

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

1838 50C MS
Base $ 68.00 83.00 100.00 150 250 425 465 625 975 1375 1800 3150 5850 20000 37500 110000 - - -
$ 275 - 500 675 1050 1525 2000 3850 6400 22500 42500 130000 -

The World Coin Price Guide is independently compiled by Krause Publications’ NumisMaster. NGC makes this information available to its website visitors as a free service, but in no way does the information provided represent NGC’s official opinion or policy. For example, varieties listed in the World Coin Price Guide may not necessarily be recognized by NGC. Please contact NGC Customer Service with any questions.

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Total Graded: 1096
Low Grade: G
Average Grade: 55
High Grade: 67

Upcoming Auctions

Auction Prices Realized

A random selection of coins is shown below.

Auction House
Sale / Lot
1/8/1996 NGC AU 53   Teletrade Auction 0804, 804/Lot# 484 $207.10
2/20/2006 NGC MS 63   David Lawrence Rare Coins Internet Auction # 75, 80/Lot# 658 $1,725.00
2/14/2007 PCGS AU 58   Heritage Auctions 2007 Long Beach, CA Signature Coin Auction #430, 430/Lot# 3461 $920.00
12/2/2010 PCGS AU 50   Heritage Auctions 2010 December Houston Signature US Coin Auction Session(4), 1147/Lot# 7965 $345.00
9/4/2011 PCGS MS 62   Goldberg September 4-6, 2011 The Pre-Long Beach Auction, 65/Lot# 1240 $2,012.50
12/30/2012 PCGS AU 53   GreatCollections GreatCollections Coin Auctions 12/30/2012, 55/Lot# 92974 $462.00
6/3/2014 PCGS AU 50   Stack's Bowers June 2014 Baltimore, 6021/Lot# 4026 $401.85
10/8/2014 NGC AU 58   Heritage Auctions 2014 October 8 - 13 PNG New York Invitational US Coins Signature Auction - New York Session(5), 1210/Lot# 7928 $652.13

NGC Registry

NGC Registry Score 1838 50C MS
Registry Image Gallery
Grade: MS 67
Points: 12571
Owner: Heartland Collection
Grade: MS 62
Points: 3096
Owner: Half-collector
View the Registry Image Gallery

Related Articles

From the NGC Archives: 1838 Capped Bust Half Dollar

9/20/2011  — In 1836, Christian Gobrecht updated John Reichs's vintage design of 1807 for use with the mint's new steam presses.
View full article >
USA Coin Album: The Coinage of 1837, Part Three

1/14/2010  — This month, David W. Lange continues recalling a pivotal year in the history of United States coinage, with part three in his series.
View full article >

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