Coin Specifications

Category: Barber Half Dollars (1892-1915)
Mint: San Francisco
Mintage: 847,044
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: $6.85 (8/24/2016)
Diameter: 30.6mm
Edge: Reeded
Numismatic specification data provided by Krause Publications NumisMaster.
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1901 S 50C MS obverse 1901 S 50C MS reverse

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There are no NGC varieties for this coin.

Description & Analysis

The January 1901 issue of The Numismatist contained fascinating information on the state of coin collecting at the dawn of the 20th century. If one is to take its words as indicative of the entire hobby, then we must assume that most budding numismatists at this time began their collections by gleaning copper and bronze cents from either general circulation or dealers' excess inventories. According to Augustus G. Heaton, whose article Old Information for New Subscribers and Collectors appeared in this issue, 'The collector finds in time all the bronze pieces from the present back to 1863, except for 1877, which is rare from its small issue.' Shifting his focus to the old copper large cents, Heath continues: 'The dates extend from 1793 to 1857 (with the single exception of 1815) and so many in a Poor condition still exist that, in large cities where dealers have accumulated them in quantities as a small bait, $5 would perhaps purchase the series except the rare 1793, 1799, and 1804...' To the early copper enthusiast, these words certainly seem like a dream come true. To the Barber half dollar specialist, however, such erudition represents a squandered opportunity. In 1901, an intelligent collector could have acquired one of the rarest issues in the entire series from a local west coast bank for face value. Carefully tucked away to preserve its original Mint State, this coin would command an extraordinary premium in today's marketplace. The issue in question is, of course, the low mintage 1901-S.

During the 1940s, dealers and collectors alike considered the 1901-S to be the rarest Barber half dollar in Mint State grades. Current population data, however, ranks this issue a close third behind the 1904-S and the 1896-O. Regardless of this realignment, the rarity of this issue in all Uncirculated grades should not be underestimated.

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


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Price Guide

Last Updated: 9/17/2015

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

1901 S 50C MS
Base $ 40.00 85.00 240 450 1075 1400 1650 1850 2200 2600 3150 3800 7850 12000 17000 25000 41000 - - -
$ - - - 2000 2400 - - 4200 8500 13500 19000 - 70000 -

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Total Graded: 104
Low Grade: PrAg
Average Grade: VF
High Grade: 67

Upcoming Auctions

Auction Prices Realized

A random selection of coins is shown below.

Auction House
Sale / Lot
1/12/2005 PCGS MS 65   Heritage Auctions 2005 Ft. Lauderdale FL. (FUN) Signature Sale #360, 360/Lot# 30224 $16,675.00
5/29/2011 NGC VF 25   Goldberg May 29 - June 1, 2011 The Pre-Long Beach Auction of US, World Coins and Currency, 63/Lot# 295 $288.00
8/11/2011 PCGS MS 65   Heritage Auctions 2011 August Chicago Signature US Coin & Platinum Night Auction Session(5), 1158/Lot# 7209 $14,950.00
11/30/2011 PCGS VG 10   Teletrade Auction 3182, 3182/Lot# 1329 $55.00
9/16/2012 NGC Details AG Details  Heritage Auctions Internet Coin Auction Session(2), 131239/Lot# 24715 $19.00
9/8/2013 PCGS MS 63   David Lawrence Rare Coins Internet Auction # 768, 777/Lot# 7241 $7,700.00
6/1/2014 PCGS VG 8   GreatCollections GreatCollections Coin Auctions 06/01/2014, 198/Lot# 187582 $110.00
1/25/2015 PCGS Genuine XF   Heritage Auctions Internet Coin Auction Session(1), 131505/Lot# 21423 $705.00
7/21/2015 PCGS   Stack's Bowers July 2015 Baltimore Auction, 6105/Lot# 32144 $199.75

NGC Registry

NGC Registry Score 1901 S 50C MS
Registry Image Gallery
Grade: VG 8
Points: 320
Owner: mikefromct
Grade: VG Details
Points: 160
Owner: McBlzr
View the Registry Image Gallery

Related Articles

Hub Changes in the Barber Silver Coins

7/1/2004 — Sharp-eyed collectors of Charles Barber's Liberty Head silver coins (1892-1916) are aware that circulated pieces dated 1901 and later must be graded a bit differently from earlier issues.
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