Coin Specifications

Category: Seated Liberty Half Dollars (1839-1891)
Mint: San Francisco
Mintage: 566,000
Obverse Designer: Christian Gobrecht
Reverse Designer: Christian Gobrecht
Composition: Silver
Fineness: 0.9000
Weight: 12.4400g
ASW: 0.3599oz
Melt Value: $5.90 (7/19/2019)
Diameter: 30.6mm
Edge: Reeded
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1859 S 50C MS obverse 1859 S 50C MS reverse
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Description & Analysis

The San Francisco Mint's coining of half dollars rose modestly from 1858's total, and this issue is slightly scarce in lower circulated grades, scarcer still grading XF or AU and genuinely rare at the Mint State level. Gems are all but unknown. Most examples are sharply struck, those some having the Medium S mintmark are known from worn dies.

As in 1858, the San Francisco Mint requested no additional reverse dies, the many shipped during 1854-57 being adequate to its needs. It did request and receive 12 obverse dies, six of which have been confirmed on surviving coins. Paired with seven reverses, the result was a total of eight die marriages confirmed to date. All but one of the reverse dies bear the Large S mintmark, but the sole Medium S die was paired with two obverses and is only slightly more scarce than its big brother.

Aside from the two mintmark sizes, the only variety is a very minor repunched date. This obverse (WB-6) was paired with both Large S and Medium S reverses, but there is little collector interest outside of dedicated specialists.

All 1859-S half dollar feature the Type 1 Reverse hub of 1842, and this would remain true for the next several years of S-Mint half dollars. The surfeit of reverse dies on hand meant that dies of the new hub would not be employed before 1862.

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.

1859 S 50C MS
  GVGFVFXF505355586061626364656667686970
Base $ 48.00 75.00 130 140 415 650 715 975 1280 1400 1750 2400 3750 7300 14000 26000 - 67500 - -
$ - - - - - - - - 4250 8000 - 30000 - -

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Census

 
NGC GRADE SUMMARY

Total Graded: 67
Low Grade: VG
Average Grade: 58
High Grade: 66

The chart showing 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: 7/16/2019 1859 S 50C MS
 PrAgGVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970Total
Base--1144732512-637732----67
-----------------------
---------------6------6
-----------------------
Total--1144732512-6371332----73
 --1 %1 %5 %5 %10 %4 %3 %7 %16 %-8 %4 %10 %18 %4 %3 %---- 

Auction Prices Realized

A random selection of coins is shown below.

Images
Date
Service
Grade
Auction House
Sale / Lot
Price
5/30/2011 PCGS Genuine Genuine   Teletrade Auction 3075, 3075/Lot# 1316 $103.50
9/4/2011 NGC Details AU Details  Goldberg September 4-6, 2011 The Pre-Long Beach Auction, 65/Lot# 1259 $322.00
7/7/2013 PCGS Genuine XF   GreatCollections GreatCollections Coin Auctions 07/07/2013, 82/Lot# 121904 $116.60
7/27/2013 NGC MS 65   Stack's Bowers The August 2013 Chicago ANA World's Fair of Money , 192/Lot# 2172 $5,581.25
11/1/2013 PCGS AU 55   Heritage Auctions 2013 November 1 - 3 US Coin Signature Auction - New York Session(5), 1191/Lot# 7811 $499.38
6/29/2014 PCGS MS 64   David Lawrence Rare Coins Internet Auction # 810, 819/Lot# 144 $7,600.00
2/6/2015 PCGS MS 66   Stack's Bowers 2015 Americana Auction, 6070/Lot# 2045 $19,975.00
3/3/2016 PCGS MS 65   Heritage Auctions 2016 March 3 - 6 ANA US Coins Signature Auction - Dallas Session(3), 1233/Lot# 4903 $7,637.50


NGC Registry

NGC Registry Score 1859 50C MS S
 PrAgGVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970
Base1155220320515838891101311381290165820092124249532814431624880588200141772144926069
52177253385623856932105511891413177520472248275736645037685181051019216601229890
00000093210551189141317752047224827573664503768518105101921660100
00000097210961239153518922086237130194048564274558153121851902500
Registry Image Gallery
Grade: AU 55
Points: 1290
Owner: ddr70
 
Grade: VF 30
Points: 515
Owner: crowhill collection
 
View the Registry Image Gallery

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