Coin Specifications

Category: Seated Liberty Half Dollars (1839-1891)
Mint: Philadelphia
Mintage: 3,532,708
Obverse Designer: Christian Gobrecht
Reverse Designer: Christian Gobrecht
Composition: Silver
Fineness: 0.9000
Weight: 12.4400g
ASW: 0.3599oz
Melt Value: $10.53 (8/10/2020)
Diameter: 30.6mm
Edge: Reeded
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1853 ARROWS & RAYS 50C MS obverse 1853 ARROWS & RAYS 50C MS reverse
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Description & Analysis

The huge discoveries of gold in California in 1848 and then Australia shortly afterward drove down the price of this metal in relation to silver, for which there had as yet been any significant finds in the United States. The result was that a silver dollar soon became worth several cents more than a gold dollar, and this same condition applied proportionately to the fractional silver coins. No longer able to circulate at par, the silver pieces were either hoarded or sent overseas to be melted for their bullion value. Some found their ways to Canada and Latin America, where the scarcity of circulating coin trumped the modest discrepancy in market values.

Congress debated this crisis for several years, finally deciding to maintain the .900 fineness of the silver coins while reducing their weight about seven per cent. This was enough to make them worth slightly less than an equivalent face value in gold coins. To maintain the illusion of a dual standard, the silver dollar alone was left at its old weight, dooming it to become invisible in domestic commerce for years afterward.

To distinguish the new issue of fractional silver coins the Mint added opposed arrowheads at either side of the date. The quarter dollar and half dollar were further marked with a glory of rays around the eagle. Since these two features are found placed exactly on each and every coin, it is evident that the Mint created a new master die for both sides. This spared the Engraving Department having to hand punch the additional features into each working die.

The urgency of replacing the earlier series of half dollars in circulation prompted huge mintages of the "Arrows" coinage, and this issue is very common across all grades. Mint State pieces are reasonably available, yet gems are not often seen. The only varieties known are minor doubled-die reverses, but clashed dies are quite common. The 1853 Arrows half dollar is found with either 144 or 145 reeds.

GRADE SUMMARY

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Price Guide

Last Updated: 10/10/2019

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

1853 ARROWS & RAYS 50C MS
  GVGFVFXF505355586061626364656667686970
Base $ 50.00 55.00 85.00 135 325 635 735 845 1100 1500 1750 2300 3700 4900 23500 52500 95000 - - -
$ - - - 950 1250 - 1800 2650 3850 5950 29500 72000 - -

NGC Price and Value Guides Disclaimer

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: 1281
Low Grade: PrAg
Average Grade: 53
High Grade: 66

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, 66 series.
NGC CENSUS DETAIL Last Updated: 8/4/2020 1853 ARROWS & RAYS 50C MS
 PrAgGVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970Total
Base51328321501051798388149182436666474158----1281
-----------------------
------------1235------11
---------------1------1
Total51328321501051798388149182437686780158----1293
 0%1%2%2%12%8%14%6%7%12%14%0%3%5%5%6%1%1%---- 

NGC Registry

NGC Registry Score 1853 ARROWS & RAYS 50C MS
 PrAgGVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970
Base163183201298437820102813151433155818432161226827273406388575971034312178127571328116553
17018923334456588911241354147516531949219724212953356651228512109551237112932143720
0000001124135414751653194921972421295335665122851210955123711293200
0000001219139415161748205522322574318037256360942811566125641310600
Registry Image Gallery
Grade: MS 61
Points: 2268
Owner: JTO
 
Grade: AU 58
Points: 1941
Owner: dockj
 
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NGC Auction Central Disclaimer

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.