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: $6.25 (11/17/2017)
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 vast quantities of gold that flooded the eastern United States in the late 1840s had a deleterious effect on the country's silver coins. As the price of the staple coinage metal rose sharply when reckoned in terms of gold dollars, it was not long before speculators started their usual hoarding and/or melting practices. By 1850, there were few coins in circulation between the lowly cent and the gold dollar. In an effort to rectify this grave coinage situation, Mint Director George N. Eckert proposed that Congress lower the weights of the silver coins to ensure that their face value remained above their bullion value. Despite reservations, Congress authorized this plan in the Mint Act of February 21, 1853. The half dollar's new weight was 12.44 grams, a sufficient enough reduction from its former weight of 13.36 grams to ensure that the denomination remained in circulation. To distinguish these new half dollars from their predecessors, Eckert ordered that arrows be placed on either side of the date and rays added around the eagle. With these features, the Philadelphia Mint delivered the first 80,000 examples of its lighter half dollar on May 21. By the end of the year, a respectable total of 3,532,708 specimens were produced by the parent mint alone.

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


GRADE SUMMARY

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Price Guide

Last Updated: 8/3/2016

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1853 ARROWS & RAYS 50C MS
  GVGFVFXF505355586061626364656667686970
Base $ 45.00 50.00 78.00 125 300 635 735 825 1150 1550 1700 2450 3900 5200 26500 62000 100000 - - -
$ - - - 950 1250 - 1800 2800 4300 6350 29500 80000 - -

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Census

 
NGC GRADE SUMMARY

Total Graded: 1183
Low Grade: PrAg
Average Grade: 53
High Grade: 66


Upcoming Auctions


Auction Prices Realized

A random selection of coins is shown below.

Images
Date
Service
Grade
Auction House
Sale / Lot
Price
12/8/1997 NGC XF 45   Teletrade Auction 1004, 1004/Lot# 1428 $196.20
1/31/2010 PCGS AU 58   Goldberg January 31 - February 3, 2010 Pre-Long Beach Coin and Currency Auction, 57/Lot# 1079 $977.50
1/27/2013 PCGS VF 30   David Lawrence Rare Coins Internet Auction # 736, 745/Lot# 4195 $170.00
6/30/2013 PCGS Genuine AU   GreatCollections GreatCollections Coin Auctions 06/30/2013, 81/Lot# 121981 $234.30
11/1/2013 PCGS XF 45   Heritage Auctions 2013 November 1 - 3 US Coin Signature Auction - New York Session(5), 1191/Lot# 7808 $305.50
10/8/2014 PCGS AU 58   Heritage Auctions 2014 October 8 - 13 PNG New York Invitational US Coins Signature Auction - New York Session(1), 1210/Lot# 3537 $822.50
11/2/2014 NGC XF 40   Heritage Auctions Internet Coin Auction Session(1), 131445/Lot# 23413 $223.25
4/2/2015 NGC AU 55   Stack's Bowers iAuction 3528, 6097/Lot# 20266 $675.63
1/15/2017 PCGS VF 35   Heritage Auctions Internet Coin Auction Session(2), 131704/Lot# 27573 $170.38


NGC Registry

NGC Registry Score 1853 ARROWS 50C MS & RAYS
 PrAgGVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970
Base163183201298437820102813151433155818432161226827273406388575971034312178127571328116553
17018923334456588911241354147516531949219724212953356651228512109551237112932143720
0000001124135414751653194921972421295335665122851210955123711293200
0000001219139415161748205522322574318037256360942811566125641310600
Registry Image Gallery
Grade: MS 61
Points: 2268
Owner: JTO
 
Grade: AU 55
Points: 1558
Owner: G & R coins
 
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