Coin Specifications

Category: Seated Liberty Half Dollars (1839-1891)
Mint: New Orleans
Obverse Designer: Christian Gobrecht
Reverse Designer: Christian Gobrecht
Composition: Silver
Fineness: 0.9000
Weight: 13.3600g
ASW: 0.3866oz
Melt Value: $6.80 (10/22/2019)
Diameter: 30.6mm
Edge: Reeded
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1840 (O) MED LETTERS 50C MS obverse 1840 (O) MED LETTERS 50C MS reverse
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Description & Analysis

This die mule featuring a normal 1840 obverse paired with a reverse of the Capped Bust type of 1838-39 remained a mystery for many years. While it was speculated that the Philadelphia Mint simply used a leftover reverse die either by accident or necessity, further study revealed this to be an issue of the New Orleans Mint. One clue was the slightly smaller than normal diameter, a figure associated with early O-Mint halves (see Lange, The Gobrecht Journal, July 1983 and November 1985). The second and definitive clue was the linking of the obverse die with other marriages of the 1840-O half dollar (see Bugert, TGJ March 1987). The lack of a mintmark was easily explained by the fact that Capped Bust coins carried obverse mintmarks.

Though not rare in overall numbers, this oddity is extremely popular with collectors and has long brought a strong premium. Mint State examples are extremely rare.

GRADE SUMMARY

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Price Guide

Last Updated: 3/29/2019

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

1840 (O) MED LETTERS 50C MS
  GVGFVFXF505355586061626364656667686970
Base $ 185 325 475 650 1350 1600 2150 2850 3300 4100 4600 6000 9400 18000 65000 87500 - - - -
$ - - - - - - - - - 23500 - - - -

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Census

 
NGC GRADE SUMMARY

Total Graded: 52
Low Grade: G
Average Grade: 45
High Grade: 65

The chart showing 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: 10/22/2019 1840 (O) MED LETTERS 50C MS
 PrAgGVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970Total
Base-4326792146-13-22-----52
-----------------------
-----------------------
-----------------------
Total-4326792146-13-22-----52
 -8 %6 %4 %12 %13 %17 %4 %2 %8 %12 %-2 %6 %-4 %4 %----- 

Auction Prices Realized

A random selection of coins is shown below.

Images
Date
Service
Grade
Auction House
Sale / Lot
Price
12/10/2001 PCGS XF 40   Teletrade Auction 1516, 1516/Lot# 1383 $463.25
7/27/2013 NGC MS 64   Stack's Bowers The August 2013 Chicago ANA World's Fair of Money , 192/Lot# 4112 $10,575.00
1/19/2014 NGC Details VF Details  Heritage Auctions Internet Coin Auction Session(2), 131404/Lot# 26577 $399.50
10/24/2014 NGC   Stack's Bowers iAuction 3505, 6059/Lot# 23202 $235.00
11/2/2014 PCGS VF 35   David Lawrence Rare Coins Internet Auction # 828, 837/Lot# 10303 $850.00
4/22/2015 NGC XF 45   Heritage Auctions 2015 April 22 - 26 CSNS US Coins Signature Auction - Chicago Session(3), 1219/Lot# 4467 $1,762.50
1/6/2016 PCGS VF 30   Heritage Auctions 2016 January 6 - 11 FUN US Coins Signature Auction - Tampa Session(7), 1231/Lot# 8142 $940.00
8/28/2019 NGC Details VF Details  Heritage Auctions Tuesday & Wednesday US Coins Weekly Online Auction Session(1), 131936/Lot# 21185 $408.00


NGC Registry

NGC Registry Score 1840 (O) MED 50C MS LETTERS
 PrAgGVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970
Base50253969594912711821190721062401280730573447367541114992624873741174517224256403870745786
51459178010561454185019732204253628903187352338204405541166238831135712002929996410670
0000001973220425362890318735233820440554116623883113571200292999600
00000020402303267229743317359939664698582969991028815398228353435100
Registry Image Gallery
Grade: AU 50
Points: 2106
Owner: Texas Coin Hunter
 
Grade: XF 40
Points: 1821
Owner: Fiddlehead
 
View the Registry Image Gallery

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Not What They Seem

9/21/2007 — In the years since the U.S. opened multiple mints, there have been a number of instances in which coins have been struck without a mintmark letter. NGC’s David Lange examines the history of these anonymous coins.
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