Coin Specifications

Category: Seated Liberty Half Dollars (1839-1891)
Mint: New Orleans
Mintage: 1,290,000
Obverse Designer: Christian Gobrecht
Reverse Designer: Christian Gobrecht
Composition: Silver
Fineness: 0.9000
Weight: 12.4400g
ASW: 0.3599oz
Melt Value: $8.88 (10/20/2020)
Diameter: 30.6mm
Edge: Reeded
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1861 S 50C MS obverse 1861 S 50C MS reverse
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Description & Analysis

The San Francisco Mint coined nearly a million half dollars this year, its largest production to that time. Examples in the lower circulated grades are thus fairly common, while XF and AU pieces are only slightly scarce. At the Mint State level, however, this issue joins its forebears as a rare coin, with gems being exceedingly so. Harshly cleaned examples showing little or no wear remain from the so-called Guatemala Hoard that surfaced around 1956. These coins were evidently darkly toned, and the market of that time was dominated by a "bright is best" mindset. Had the hoard coins been preserved as found, modern conservation techniques may very well have created a number of additional gem specimens.

The typical 1861-S half dollar reveals considerable die erosion, as the higher than usual mintage seems to have been accomplished by running the dies far too long. The Philadelphia Mint shipped only six obverse dies for 1861-S half dollar production, while enough reverse dies of earlier years were on hand that no more were shipped until 1862. All of these display the old reverse hub of 1842, but both Large S and Medium S mintmarks are known. All six obverse dies have been identified by Wiley and Bugert, and these were paired seven times with the Large S reverses and three times with Medium S dies. The latter variety is slightly the more scarce but not enough to carry a premium price. These mintmark sizes represent the only collectible varieties for 1861-S.

GRADE SUMMARY

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Price Guide

Last Updated: 6/25/2019

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

1861 S 50C MS
  GVGFVFXF505355586061626364656667686970
Base $ 68.00 88.00 100.00 135 300 700 745 950 1030 1250 1450 2200 3650 5625 23700 33500 - - - -
$ - - - - - - - - - - 27000 36000 - -

NGC Price and Value Guides Disclaimer

Disclaimer: The prices listed in the various NGC Price and Value Guides are compiled from a number of independent, third party sources in the numismatic community which NGC believes to be reliable. Prices provided are averages, not specific prices for individual coins. Further, because these prices are only updated from time to time, they do not reflect short term pricing trends, which are quite common and are often quite dramatic, given the volatile nature of the collectible coin marketplace. This is especially true for rare coins, where there are fewer sales and greater variations in sale prices. For all of these reasons, the prices in these guides are designed to serve merely as one of many measures and factors that coin buyers and sellers can use in determining coin values. These prices are not intended, and should not be relied upon, to replace the due diligence and — when appropriate — expert consultation that coin buyers and sellers should undertake when entering into a coin transaction. As such, NGC disclaims all warranties, express or implied, with respect to the information contained in the NGC Guides. By using the NGC Guides, the user agrees that neither NGC nor any of its affiliates, shareholders, officers, employees or agents shall have any liability for any loss or damage of any kind, including without limitation any loss arising from reliance on the information contained in the Guides.

Census

 
NGC GRADE SUMMARY

Total Graded: 116
Low Grade: PrAg
Average Grade: 53
High Grade: 67

The chart showing PrAg series, 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: 10/13/2020 1861 S 50C MS
 PrAgGVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970Total
Base13541461246920-17812211---116
-----------------------
-----------------------
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Total13541461246920-17812211---116
 1%3%4%3%12%5%10%3%5%8%17%-1%6%7%10%2%1%1%--- 

NGC Registry

NGC Registry Score 1861 S 50C MS
 PrAgGVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970
Base147163237272423783838966112413331505179919892433300938855792754311764187783021936137
152188249322543801881101911941390160318622137262533014521637689501410222592321920
00000088110191194139016031862213726253301452163768950141022259200
000000923107112631448170119262285281735935156695910357164402640500
Registry Image Gallery
Grade: XF 40
Points: 783
Owner: TerryZman
 
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NGC Auction Central Disclaimer

NGC Auction Central Disclaimer

Disclaimer: The auction prices realized listed in the NGC Auction Central are compiled from a number of independent, third party sources in the numismatic community which NGC believes to be reliable. The auction data listed by NGC may occasionally contain typographical or input errors that can result in incorrect prices realized appearing on the NGC website. Therefore, the prices realized listed in NGC Auction Central are designed to serve merely as one of many measures and facts that coin buyers and sellers can use in determining coin values. These prices are not intended, and should not be relied upon, to replace the due diligence and – when appropriate – expert consultation that coin buyers and sellers should undertake when entering into a coin transaction. As such, NGC disclaims all warranties, express or implied, with respect to the information contained in the NGC Auction Central. By using the NGC Auction Central, the user agrees that neither NGC nor any of its affiliates, shareholders, officers, employees or agents shall have any liability for any loss or damage of any kind, including without limitation any loss arising from reliance on the information contained in the NGC Auction Central.