Coin Specifications

Category: Capped Bust Reeded Edge Half Dollars (1836-1839)
Mint: Philadelphia
Mintage: 3,546,000
Obverse Designer: Christian Gobrecht
Reverse Designer: Christian Gobrecht
Composition: Silver
Fineness: 0.9000
Weight: 13.3600g
ASW: 0.3866oz
Melt Value: $9.09 (11/25/2020)
Diameter: 30mm
Edge: Reeded
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1838 50C MS obverse 1838 50C MS reverse
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Description & Analysis

For 1838's half dollar coinage, the value was spelled as HALF DOL. in place of the former 50 CENTS. This put it in conformance with the Seated Liberty Half Dime and Dime, as well as the soon-to-be-adopted SL Quarter Dollar. It seems that with minor adjustments to the design this value could have been spelled in full, but awkward abbreviations (by current standards) were a hallmark of the 19th Century. An accompanying increase in the size of the reverse legend aggravated the space limitation.

This year's half dollar production was similar to that of the preceding year, but it was still somewhat lower than in the waning years of lettered edge coinage. It may have been that the "Hard Times" of 1837-41 reduced the demand for additional coins. While Mint State survivors are not truly rare, gems are in quite limited supply.

The use of 13 obverse dies with a similar number of reverses produced a known total of 16 die marriages. As in 1837, none of these varieties is of interest to anyone but series specialists, and popular catalogs have but a single line devoted to this date. The only rare marriage is Graham/Reiver-5. A bisecting crack formed on this variety's reverse die and likely resulted in its early removal from the press. Dick Graham reported just three examples of GR-5, but the publication of his book may draw out a few more pieces.

GRADE SUMMARY

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Price Guide

Last Updated: 9/8/2020

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

1838 50C MS
  GVGFVFXF505355586061626364656667686970
Base $ 80.00 90.00 110 155 250 425 500 625 975 1275 1375 1750 3150 5850 15500 32500 110000 - - -
$ 275 - 515 675 1050 - 1540 2000 3850 6400 22500 42500 130000 -

NGC Price and Value Guides Disclaimer

Disclaimer: The prices listed in the various NGC Price and Value Guides are compiled from a number of independent, third party sources in the numismatic community which NGC believes to be reliable. Prices provided are averages, not specific prices for individual coins. Further, because these prices are only updated from time to time, they do not reflect short term pricing trends, which are quite common and are often quite dramatic, given the volatile nature of the collectible coin marketplace. This is especially true for rare coins, where there are fewer sales and greater variations in sale prices. For all of these reasons, the prices in these guides are designed to serve merely as one of many measures and factors that coin buyers and sellers can use in determining coin values. These prices are not intended, and should not be relied upon, to replace the due diligence and — when appropriate — expert consultation that coin buyers and sellers should undertake when entering into a coin transaction. As such, NGC disclaims all warranties, express or implied, with respect to the information contained in the NGC Guides. By using the NGC Guides, the user agrees that neither NGC nor any of its affiliates, shareholders, officers, employees or agents shall have any liability for any loss or damage of any kind, including without limitation any loss arising from reliance on the information contained in the Guides.

Census

 
NGC GRADE SUMMARY

Total Graded: 1303
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: 11/24/2020 1838 50C MS
 PrAgGVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970Total
Base16101512491117829818725287310146691841---1303
------------1---------1
---------------7------7
-------------1--------1
Total16101512491117829818725287410246761841---1312
 0%0%1%1%9%7%9%6%7%14%19%1%6%8%4%6%1%0%0%--- 

NGC Registry

NGC Registry Score 1838 50C MS PL
 PrAgGVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970
Base1111111111111111111111
1111111111111111111111
0000001111111111111100
0000001111111111111100
1838 50C MS
 PrAgGVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970
Base2372653143665027259081028108813031683194920332335308040956820864412571130881407015109
2462813314115767869481048116014301772197721342583341850037428995312743134151441615864
00000094810481160143017721977213425833418500374289953127431341500
000000988106812311556186020052234283237575912803611262129161374300
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 >


NGC Auction Central Disclaimer

NGC Auction Central Disclaimer

Disclaimer: The auction prices realized listed in the NGC Auction Central are compiled from a number of independent, third party sources in the numismatic community which NGC believes to be reliable. The auction data listed by NGC may occasionally contain typographical or input errors that can result in incorrect prices realized appearing on the NGC website. Therefore, the prices realized listed in NGC Auction Central are designed to serve merely as one of many measures and facts that coin buyers and sellers can use in determining coin values. These prices are not intended, and should not be relied upon, to replace the due diligence and – when appropriate – expert consultation that coin buyers and sellers should undertake when entering into a coin transaction. As such, NGC disclaims all warranties, express or implied, with respect to the information contained in the NGC Auction Central. By using the NGC Auction Central, the user agrees that neither NGC nor any of its affiliates, shareholders, officers, employees or agents shall have any liability for any loss or damage of any kind, including without limitation any loss arising from reliance on the information contained in the NGC Auction Central.