Coin Specifications

Category: Hawaii
Mint: San Francisco
Mintage: 26
Obverse Designer: Charles Barber
Reverse Designer: Charles Barber
Composition: Silver
Fineness: 0.9000
Weight: 12.5000g
Diameter: 30.5mm
Edge: Reeded
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1883 HAWAII 50C PF obverse 1883 HAWAII 50C PF reverse
Images courtesy of Heritage Auctions (HA.com)
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Description & Analysis

CS-4, "Hapalua." Upright 8s in the date. Very rare, just 26 proofs were struck in silver to honor King Kalakaua I. The fields are deeply mirrored on each side and the surfaces are mostly brilliant with just a hint of reddish-russet color around the margins. Don Medcalf (Hawaiian Money: Standard Catalog), lives in Honolulu and has studied sources in the state archives, explains that six silver proof sets were coined in September 1883, and another 20 sets were made the following year. Designed by Charles E. Barber. All pieces made for commerce were coined at San Francisco. Proofs were made at the proofing facility inside the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia. All interested collectors should read or re-read Walter Breen's account on pages 672-673 of his Complete Encyclopedia.
Proofs such as this pleasing specimen are indeed very special, above and beyond their tiny mintage number. Statehood was not even a remote thought in 1883, and the Philadelphia Mint's proofs were nothing but special pieces made on contract for a remote outpost, mostly dominated by an American fruit company. Thus, survivors of this rare issuance are nothing related to the lovely but more plentiful and often superb proofs of the regular U.S. coinage. Not at all. Few collectors saved them, and fewer still in America even had access to any, to acquire. They were portraiture commemoratives, in fact, and the portrait splendidly captured the Hawaiian motif. The king's "picture" is totally authentic.
David Kalakaua was elected by the Hawaiian legislature to replace the first elected king, Charles Lunalilo, who passed away in 1874 without successor. Kalakaua is remembered for wishing to bring his kingdom into the modern world, for his American leanings, and (for our purposes) even for wanting to cause a national coinage to be created. He took a European holiday in 1881, and out of his visits to various mints came a marvelously rare pattern struck at Paris, the so-called "5 Cent" piece. But nothing came of it. American foreign policy focused on the Hawaiian Islands at this time, for economic reasons (and potential military ones as well), and from this came the coinage of 1883. Sugar baron Claus Spreckels had more than the king's ear, and convinced him to contract with the United States to have a silver coinage made bearing his portrait. Barber produced master dies and hubs, and coins were minted to the same standards as regular U.S. silver, and paralleling the U.S. denominations although bearing Hawaiian names. Thus they were made from standard U.S. planchets.
The few proof sets were struck at Philadelphia, then operations were transferred to the mint at San Francisco for the commercial coinage beginning in November 1883 and concluded the following June. The last pieces made were additional proofs, created strictly for diplomatic purposes--to be presented to dignitaries (none for public sale). Each proof coin of this era is consequently a fascinating and very rare part of Hawaiian history, indelibly linked to the United States and to American numismatics. Opportunities to acquire one are rare today but not as rare as they were in 1883-1884, and it appears that relatively few collectors realize what a splendid opportunity each auction appearance truly is.

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


GRADE SUMMARY

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Price Guide

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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: 7
Low Grade: 63
Average Grade: 63
High Grade: 65

The chart showing 63 series, 64 series, 65 series.
NGC CENSUS DETAIL Last Updated: 10/20/2020 1883 HAWAII 50C PF
 PrAgGVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970Total
Base--------------2-------2
-----------------------
-----------------------
-----------------------
Total--------------2-------2
 --------------100%------- 
1883 HAWAII 50C PF CA
 PrAgGVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970Total
Base--------------311-----5
-----------------------
-----------------------
-----------------------
Total--------------311-----5
 --------------60%20%20%----- 

NGC Registry

NGC Registry Score 1883 HAWAII 50C PF CA
 PrAgGVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970
Base34113493357636613748383639254016410942034299439647565225602864397314778782838801953710318
3438352136043690377738663955404741404235433145164912549361656731747279528456904697970
0000003955404741404235433145164912549361656731747279528456904600
0000003986407841724267436446365069576063027022762981188628929200
1883 HAWAII 50C PF
 PrAgGVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970
Base3262334134223504358836733760384839384030412242174565502158016201705275127995849992179979
3288336834493532361637023789387839694061415443334717528159346485720576738163873894710
0000003789387839694061415443334717528159346485720576738163873800
0000003819390839994091418544494869554160686768735978348331897800
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Registry Image Gallery
Grade: PF 63
Points: 5801
Owner: Chesaboy
 
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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.