Coin Specifications

Category: Seated Liberty Half Dollars (1839-1891)
Mint: San Francisco
Mintage: 158,000
Obverse Designer: Christian Gobrecht
Reverse Designer: Christian Gobrecht
Composition: Silver
Fineness: 0.9000
Weight: 12.4400g
ASW: 0.3599oz
Melt Value: $6.35 (10/20/2019)
Diameter: 30.6mm
Edge: Reeded
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1857 S 50C MS obverse 1857 S 50C MS reverse
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Description & Analysis

Half dollar production receded a bit at the San Francisco Mint from the level of 1856. The 1857-S half dollar is a scarce issue across all grades, with Mint State survivors being rare. When found in higher grades, the typical example is well struck.

Remarkably, a dozen die pairs were shipped west for this year's mintage, but only a few of these were actually used in 1857. Just four die marriages are known from the pairing of four obverses with three reverses. Two marriages feature the Large S mintmark found on all 1855 and 1856 halves, while the other two reveal a new, Medium S mintmark from the new shipment. The latter style is the one most often seen, and specialists will pay a premium for 1857-S Large S coins.

Aside from the mintmark distinction, there are no collectible varieties for the issue. At least two collars were employed, these having 138 or 140 reeds, respectively. Since these numbers are both lower than for 1857(P) halves, they provide a useful authentication tool in distinguishing altered Philadelphia coins.

GRADE SUMMARY

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Price Guide

Last Updated: 6/21/2019

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

1857 S 50C MS
  GVGFVFXF505355586061626364656667686970
Base $ 100.00 250 405 540 1500 2000 2650 3250 4800 5750 8250 14250 21000 32500 36500 80000 - - - -

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Census

 
NGC GRADE SUMMARY

Total Graded: 40
Low Grade: G
Average Grade: 50
High Grade: 63

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.
NGC CENSUS DETAIL Last Updated: 10/8/2019 1857 S 50C MS
 PrAgGVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970Total
Base-1316-101265-122-------40
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Total-1316-101265-122-------40
 -3 %8 %3 %15 %-25 %3 %5 %15 %13 %-3 %5 %5 %------- 

Auction Prices Realized

A random selection of coins is shown below.

Images
Date
Service
Grade
Auction House
Sale / Lot
Price
2/10/2008 NGC VF 25   Goldberg February 10-13, 2008 Pre-Long Beach Coin and Currency Auction, 44/Lot# 322 $300.00
4/26/2010 PCGS XF 40   Teletrade Auction 2844, 2844/Lot# 1794 $862.50
9/7/2011 PCGS VF 20   Heritage Auctions 2011 September Long Beach Signature US Coin Auction Session(4), 1159/Lot# 7825 $632.50
1/8/2012 PCGS XF 40   Heritage Auctions Internet Coin Auction Session(1), 131203/Lot# 22335 $920.00
7/7/2013 PCGS Genuine VF   GreatCollections GreatCollections Coin Auctions 07/07/2013, 82/Lot# 122033 $237.60
7/27/2013 NGC AU 55   Stack's Bowers The August 2013 Chicago ANA World's Fair of Money , 192/Lot# 2169 $1,915.25
6/29/2014 PCGS MS 62   GreatCollections GreatCollections Coin Auctions 06/29/2014, 187/Lot# 166994 $16,700.00
8/3/2014 NGC Details XF Details  Heritage Auctions Internet Coin Auction Session(1), 131432/Lot# 23130 $399.50
11/2/2014 PCGS VF 30   David Lawrence Rare Coins Internet Auction # 828, 837/Lot# 10347 $525.00


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