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: $6.67 (2/21/2020)
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.


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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
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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Total Graded: 69
Low Grade: VG
Average Grade: 55
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: 2/18/2020 1859 S 50C MS

NGC Registry

NGC Registry Score 1859 S 50C MS
Registry Image Gallery
Grade: AU 55
Points: 1290
Owner: ddr70
Grade: VF 30
Points: 515
Owner: crowhill collection
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