Coin Specifications

Category: Liberty Head $5 (1839-1908)
Mint: San Francisco
Mintage: 268
Obverse Designer: Christian Gobrecht
Reverse Designer: Christian Gobrecht
Composition: Gold
Fineness: 0.9000
Weight: 8.3600g
AGW: 0.2419oz
Melt Value: $312.34 (1/16/2019)
Diameter: 21.6mm
Edge: Reeded
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1854 S $5 MS obverse 1854 S $5 MS reverse
1854-S $5 certified by NGC in 2018
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Description & Analysis

The San Francisco Mint was authorized in 1852 but did not commence coining until two years later. Dies for all gold and silver denominations (save for the three-cent piece) arrived in the Golden Gate city March 15, 1854. It was one month later to the day that the first coins were struck---mighty double eagles. Indeed, this denomination and the $10 eagle were the coins most desired by depositors, and only token numbers of quarter eagles and half eagles were minted that year. The latter two were included among the first delivery to depositors on April 19, but a mere 246 and 268 coins, respectively, were struck. Perhaps coined as just souvenirs of the new mint, it appears that nearly all were circulated and lost over time. A mere four specimens are known today of the five-dollar piece, with the fourth not surfacing until 2018.

Just a single die pair is known for the 1854-S half eagle, and it's likely that all of this issue were coined in a single day. Curiously, two of the four survivors, including the coin pictured, feature a partial filling of numeral 4 in the date, this die cavity evidently becoming slightly clogged during the brief press run. Also seen is a die-clash impression on the reverse from Liberty's neck.

The finest 1854-S half eagle known is that formerly from the famed Louis Eliasberg, Sr. collection, a coin nearly Mint State and free of damage. It remains in private hands. The Smithsonian Institution's example was donated to the it from the estate of Josiah K. Lilly, and it carries a distinguished provenance of Waldo Newcomer and Colonel E. H. R. Green. Similar in overall appearance to the first, it displays some cuts and scrapes. A third piece was purchased from the 1962 auction of the Samuel W. Wolfson collection by Willis DuPont, and it, too, was once owned by the acquisitive Colonel Green. Taken along with many other coins is a 1967 armed robbery of the DuPont home in Cocoanut Grove, Florida, it has never been seen since that time. The photos in the Wolfson catalog reveal a coin that would likely grade About Uncirculated. Finally, there is the specimen illustrated, which was purchased with some reservations by a New England resident who suspected it must be a counterfeit or alteration. Subsequent examination by NGC's experts proved otherwise. It has no provenance prior to 2018, yet is likewise just lightly worn.


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Price Guide

Last Updated: 4/19/2018

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1854 S $5 MS
Base $ - - - - 3000000 4000000 4250000 4500000 4750000 - - - - - - - - - - -
$ - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

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Total Graded: 1
Low Grade: 45
Average Grade: 45
High Grade: 45

The chart showing 45 series.
NGC CENSUS DETAIL Last Updated: 1/14/2019 1854 S $5 MS
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NGC Registry

NGC Registry Score 1854 $5 MS S Prooflike
1854 $5 MS S
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