Coin Specifications

Category: Seated Liberty Half Dollars (1839-1891)
Mint: Philadelphia
Mintage: 2,887,400
Obverse Designer: Christian Gobrecht
Reverse Designer: Christian Gobrecht
Composition: Silver
Fineness: 0.9000
Weight: 12.4400g
ASW: 0.3599oz
Melt Value: $6.18 (11/20/2019)
Diameter: 30.6mm
Edge: Reeded
Link to this coin

1861 50C MS obverse 1861 50C MS reverse
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Description & Analysis

The minting of half dollars in Philadelphia finally rebounded in 1861, after modest production during the two preceding years. this issue is very common across all grades through MS-64. The great availability of MS and AU coins is due mostly to widespread hoarding of all silver and gold coins following the onset of America's Civil War this same year. The nation's banks suspended specie payments (gold and silver coin) by the end of that year, as the newly-issued USA and CSA paper currency was not redeemable on demand. It quickly depreciated, driving all precious metal coinage from circulation. Since unworn 1861(P) half dollars are found sharply struck from unworn dies, this issue is a favorite with collectors seeking a high grade type coin.

Some 24 die marriages had been identified by Wiley and Bugert, these comprised of 24 obverses and a like number of reverse dies. An amazing total of four different collars were revealed. These have reed counts of 143, 145, 152 or 153. This is the first year in which all of the reverse dies used were taken from the new hub of 1858 with its shallow relief and long base to letter L in HALF.

A minor repunched date (RPD) is the only variety known, a remarkable situation given the large number of dies needed for this production.

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.

1861 50C MS
  GVGFVFXF505355586061626364656667686970
Base $ 50.00 60.00 75.00 100.00 145 290 350 430 510 600 735 900 1180 1780 4850 12750 31000 - - -
$ - - - - - - - 1030 1400 2650 6200 15600 - -

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Census

 
NGC GRADE SUMMARY

Total Graded: 503
Low Grade: G
Average Grade: 58
High Grade: 67

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, 64 series, 65 series, 66 series, 67 series.
NGC CENSUS DETAIL Last Updated: 11/19/2019 1861 50C MS
 PrAgGVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970Total
Base-148291744282258776253864532243---503
---------------1-1----2
----------------1-----1
-----------------------
Total-148291744282258776253864542353---506
 -0 %1 %2 %6 %3 %9 %6 %4 %11 %15 %1 %5 %8 %13 %11 %5 %1 %1 %--- 

Auction Prices Realized

A random selection of coins is shown below.

Images
Date
Service
Grade
Auction House
Sale / Lot
Price
9/23/2007 PCGS MS 64   Goldberg September 23-26, 2007 Pre-Long Beach Coin and Currency Auction, 42/Lot# 2780 $1,552.50
7/5/2009 PCGS AU 53   Teletrade Auction 2714, 2714/Lot# 1745 $264.50
5/30/2010 PCGS MS 61   Bonhams Coins, Medals, and Banknotes, 18301/Lot# 1644 $8,775.00
2/22/2013 PCGS AU 55   Stack's Bowers The March 2013 Baltimore Auction, 181/Lot# 7199 $309.03
8/11/2013 PCGS VF 35   GreatCollections GreatCollections Coin Auctions 08/11/2013, 87/Lot# 129812 $143.00
8/5/2014 PCGS MS 64   Heritage Auctions 2014 August 5, 7 & 9 ANA US Coins Signature Auction - Chicago Session(3), 1208/Lot# 4450 $1,427.63
11/2/2014 PCGS XF 45   David Lawrence Rare Coins Internet Auction # 828, 837/Lot# 10357 $180.00
3/31/2015 PCGS   Stack's Bowers March 2015 Baltimore, 6065/Lot# 33149 $76.38
11/10/2015 NGC MS 62   Stack's Bowers November 2015 Baltimore, 6110/Lot# 26074 $646.25
1/16/2019 NGC Details AU Details  Heritage Auctions Internet Coin Auction Session(1), 131904/Lot# 27502 $109.00


NGC Registry

NGC Registry Score 1861 50C MS
 PrAgGVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970
Base1135201230288539586745838974110312061321155820292699390264008058122291924823521
46157211249372555639776883101711371244140017152252310047356953944814569206720
00000063977688310171137124414001715225231004735695394481456900
000000692807929106011721283147918722476350155677505108391690800
Registry Image Gallery
Grade: MS 67
Points: 8058
Owner: Malibu Collector
 
Grade: MS 63
Points: 2029
Owner: ddr70
 
View the Registry Image Gallery

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