Coin Specifications

Category: Barber Half Dollars (1892-1915)
Mint: San Francisco
Mintage: 1,686,411
Obverse Designer: Charles E. Barber
Reverse Designer: Charles E. Barber
Composition: Silver
Fineness: 0.9000
Weight: 12.5000g
ASW: 0.3617oz
Melt Value: $6.80 (2/24/2020)
Diameter: 30.6mm
Edge: Reeded
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1899 S 50C MS obverse 1899 S 50C MS reverse
Images Courtesy of Heritage Auctions (
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Description & Analysis

This issue is moderately scarce in all grades. Most circulated to the point where they grade Good at best, and problem-free examples in the popular grades of F through VF are particularly elusive. Due to the unique chapter in American history, there is an abundance of coins Details grading AU and MS. There are the Philippine export pieces sent to that archipelago following the Spanish-American war for the use of both occupation forces and the indigenous population. These circulated just a few years before an entirely new series of Philippine coins debuted in 1903. Hoarded by the locals as good silver, the half dollars dates 1898-S, 1899-S and 1900-S were mostly repatriated after World War II, by which time they'd become quite deeply toned. Most were then improperly cleaned, leaving a fairly small population of coins that receive numeric grades.

Mint State survivors fall into the category of ex-Philippine coins that are either Details graded or at the low end of MS grading. The small number of gems are pieces which have come from other sources, most likely specimens obtained by collectors directly from the mint in 1899. That practice is well documented, though few availed themselves of that opportunity at the time.

Varieties are limited to date and mintmark positions, though this issue is known with either the S mintmark of 1892-98 (sharp serifs) or the new one introduced this year (slightly rounded serifs). There seems to be little interest by collectors in securing both varieties.


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Price Guide

Last Updated: 7/10/2019

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

1899 S 50C MS
Base $ 40.00 60.00 120 200 315 430 455 520 750 845 1140 1480 2450 4000 5750 10600 21000 53000 - -
$ - - - - 760 - - - - - 6850 13500 - -

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Total Graded: 148
Low Grade: PrAg
Average Grade: 53
High Grade: 67

The chart showing PrAg series, G series, VG series, F series, VF series, 40 series, 45 series, 50 series, 53 series, 55 series, 58 series, 60 series, 61 series, 62 series, 63 series, 64 series, 65 series, 66 series, 67 series.
NGC CENSUS DETAIL Last Updated: 2/18/2020 1899 S 50C MS

NGC Registry

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