Coin Specifications

Category: Early Halves (1794-1839)
Mint: Philadelphia
Mintage: 29,890
Obverse Designer: Robert Scot
Reverse Designer: Robert Scot
Composition: Silver
Fineness: 0.8920
Weight: 13.4800g
ASW: 0.3866oz
Melt Value: $6.90 (3/26/2017)
Diameter: 32.5mm
Edge: Lettered
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1802 O-101 50C MS obverse 1802 O-101 50C MS reverse

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Description & Analysis

O-101, R.3. For a series with so many die varieties and even subvarieties, the 1802 half dollar mintage is a lesson in contradiction, as the 29,890 pieces recorded struck were produced from a single die pair. There are no others known for the date, and after 205 years it is highly unlikely, although not impossible, that any others will be found. The year 1827 hold the series record for the greatest number of die marriages. The 28 obverse dies and 34 reverse dies were married in 49 different combinations to produce the 5.5 million pieces for the year, for an average of more than 112,000 halves per pair. In the case of the 1802, then, it is little wonder that the Mint personnel even saw fit to reuse master dies from 1801 to produce the working dies for 1802: After all, that mintage amounted to only one-quarter of the average mintage for a single die pair in 1827.

The 1802 also bears the distinction of being the only Draped Bust half that is a single-variety year. (The 1815, a Capped Bust design, is a single-variety year as well.) While the reasons for the relatively small mintage are lost to posterity, it bears mentioning that the other silver denominations produced during the year, the half dime and dime, are also small by series standards, with the half dime a legendary rarity. (The difference, of course, is that most yearly mintages of the early half dime and dime were on the smallish side, while the silver half dollar, along with the large cent and gold half eagle, was one of the three workhorse coinage denominations of early U.S. commerce.)

Mint State coins of this issue are quite rare.

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


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Price Guide

Last Updated: 5/27/2015

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

1802 O-101 50C MS
Base $ 1200 1800 2525 4150 7800 18750 25000 42500 53500 60000 72500 150000 - - - - - - - -
$ - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

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Total Graded: 101
Low Grade: G
Average Grade: VF
High Grade: 58

Upcoming Auctions

Auction Prices Realized

A random selection of coins is shown below.

Auction House
Sale / Lot
8/26/1996 NGC VF 25   Teletrade Auction 0870, 870/Lot# 1573 $654.00
8/9/2007 NGC VF 35   David Lawrence Rare Coins Thursday Sale - Internet Auction # 167, 172/Lot# 5718 $5,290.00
1/9/2008 PCGS AU 53   Heritage Auctions 2008 January Orlando, FL (FUN) Signature Coin Auction #454, 454/Lot# 2851 $21,850.00
1/30/2011 PCGS AU 53   Goldberg January 30 - February 3, 2011 The Pre-Long Beach Coin and Currency Auction, 62/Lot# 1416 $13,225.00
5/27/2012 PCGS VF 30   Bonhams Coins and Medals, 19995/Lot# 1038 $4,446.00
5/30/2012 NGC VF 30   Stack's Bowers The June 2012 Baltimore Auction, 137/Lot# 2654 $3,737.50
8/8/2013 PCGS AU 58   Heritage Auctions 2013 August 8 - 10 US Coins Signature Auction - Rosemont Session(5), 1188/Lot# 5633 $70,500.00
3/30/2014 NGC Details AU Details  GreatCollections GreatCollections Coin Auctions 03/30/2014, 184/Lot# 182977 $6,704.50
4/22/2015 NGC VF 25   Heritage Auctions 2015 April 22 - 26 CSNS US Coins Signature Auction - Chicago Session(3), 1219/Lot# 4378 $3,290.00
8/13/2015 PCGS   Stack's Bowers 2015 Chicago ANA, 6104/Lot# 10101 $61,687.50

NGC Registry

NGC Registry Score 1802 O-101 50C MS
1802 O-101 50C MS Prooflike
Registry Image Gallery
Grade: VF 30
Points: 1393
Owner: goldsaint
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