Coin Specifications

Category: Seated Liberty Half Dollars (1839-1891)
Mint: Philadelphia
Obverse Designer: Christian Gobrecht
Reverse Designer: Christian Gobrecht
Composition: Silver
Fineness: 0.9000
Weight: 13.3600g
ASW: 0.3866oz
Melt Value: $6.04 (7/17/2019)
Diameter: 30.6mm
Edge: Reeded
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1839 DRAPERY 50C MS obverse 1839 DRAPERY 50C MS reverse
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Description & Analysis

Since Liberty seems to be hunched over in the No Drapery version of this coin type, a couple of quick changes were made before many pieces had been struck. The billowing gown to the left of Liberty's shield was reduced in size, while a three folds of drapery were added beneath her left elbow, and these fixes gave the figure a more balanced posture. Interestingly, the half dollar obverse was not further modified in 1840, when the other Seated Liberty coins all got makeovers courtesy of sculptor Robert Ball Hughes. Thus, the half dollar alone stayed faithful to Christian Gobrecht's original work.

The Wiley-Bugert book also postulated that reduction of the gown was performed to improve striking quality, but this is unlikely, as there is no prominent feature on the opposite side of the coin that would be affected by such a change. Indeed, both issues are often poorly struck overall.

This version comprised the majority of 1839 Seated Liberty Half Dollars. Examples are far from common, but they are more readily available across all grades than the No Drapery sub-type.

Three die marriages have been noted for the 1839 Drapery edition, these from unique pairings of three obverse dies and a like number of reverses. There is little collector interest in obtaining all known varieties of this somewhat scarce issue. Two different collars have been documented, as well, one having 144 reeds and the other 148.

GRADE SUMMARY

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Price Guide

Last Updated: 6/20/2019

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

1839 DRAPERY 50C MS
  GVGFVFXF505355586061626364656667686970
Base $ 60.00 85.00 125 195 350 520 585 715 970 1480 1610 1850 2500 5400 18000 - - - - -
$ - - 600 740 975 - - - - - - - - -

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Census

 
NGC GRADE SUMMARY

Total Graded: 180
Low Grade: PrAg
Average Grade: 53
High Grade: 65

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.
NGC CENSUS DETAIL Last Updated: 7/16/2019 1839 DRAPERY 50C MS
 PrAgGVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970Total
Base2-231710271392319-101115134-----178
-----------------------
---------------1------1
-----------------------
Total2-231710271392319-101115144-----179
 1 %-1 %2 %9 %6 %15 %7 %5 %13 %11 %-6 %6 %8 %8 %2 %----- 
1839 DRAPERY 50C MS Prooflike
 PrAgGVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970Total
Base------------2---------2
-----------------------
-----------------------
-----------------------
Total------------2---------2
 ------------100 %--------- 

Auction Prices Realized

A random selection of coins is shown below.

Images
Date
Service
Grade
Auction House
Sale / Lot
Price
11/18/2001 PCGS AU 55   Teletrade Auction 1507, 1507/Lot# 1076 $392.40
2/20/2005 PCGS MS 62   Goldberg February 20-23, 2005 Pre-Long Beach Coin Auction, 28/Lot# 1229 $1,955.00
2/28/2005 NGC MS 61   Prooflike David Lawrence Rare Coins Internet-Only Auction #30, 34/Lot# 539 $1,437.50
11/29/2012 NGC XF 45   Heritage Auctions 2012 November 29 - December 2 US Coin Signature Auction - Houston Session(4), 1177/Lot# 9200 $282.00
6/8/2014 PCGS XF 40   GreatCollections GreatCollections Coin Auctions 06/08/2014, 202/Lot# 200076 $247.50
7/11/2014 NGC VF 30   Stack's Bowers August 2014 Chicago ANA, 6014/Lot# 6102 $123.38
10/10/2014 PCGS AU 55   Stack's Bowers November Baltimore 2014, 6039/Lot# 15184 $423.00
1/22/2017 PCGS AU 50   Heritage Auctions Internet Coin Auction Session(1), 131705/Lot# 29331 $493.50
2/27/2018 PCGS AU 50   Heritage Auctions Internet Coin Auction Session(1), 131810/Lot# 21526 $432.00


NGC Registry

NGC Registry Score 1839 50C MS DRAPERY
 PrAgGVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970
Base147163212304551745774916103613631558188621612368278135256616715211202177212828633928
15217924338661675582195611451428166719782230250630294555679585021337521243301670
0000008219561145142816671978223025063029455567958502133752124300
0000008699961254149317772069229926433277558669739852155482476400
Registry Image Gallery
Grade: AU 55
Points: 1363
Owner: 123cents
 
Grade: VF 30
Points: 551
Owner: Electric Peak
 
View the Registry Image Gallery

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