Coin Specifications

Category: Seated Liberty Half Dollars (1839-1891)
Mint: San Francisco
Mintage: 916,000
Obverse Designer: Christian Gobrecht
Reverse Designer: Christian Gobrecht
Composition: Silver
Fineness: 0.9000
Weight: 12.4400g
ASW: 0.3599oz
Melt Value: $6.71 (2/24/2020)
Diameter: 30.6mm
Edge: Reeded
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1863 S 50C MS obverse 1863 S 50C MS reverse
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Description & Analysis

Coinage of half dollars at the San Francisco Mint declined from the previous year, and this issue is less often seen in most grades. Problem-free examples grading XF and higher are scarce and highly desired. Many of the coins at the XF and AU levels are harshly cleaned, ex-Guatemala Hoard pieces that were probably unworn before their vigorous scrubbing. Certifiably Mint State coins are quite scarce, and gems are all but unknown.

Mint records reveal that the San Francisco Mint received 12 obverse dies and five reverses for the 1863-S half dollar. As usual, several of the obverse dies were not used, and just three have been identified by numismatists. When combined with a like number of reverses, the result was the four die marriages known today. Others may yet turn up, as it would have been difficult to strike nearly a million coins with so few dies. As it is, many coins reveal obvious erosion of the denticles from extended die use, a feature often seen on S-Mint half dollars of the 1860s.

The reverse dies were taken from the Type 2 hub first used at San Francisco the previous year. The mintmarks are all of the Small, Wide S seen in 1862, as well. One die features an unbroken letter, while the others reveal the top of the S either partially or fully broken. It may be that these represent progressive failure of the mintmark punch, but the unbroken S seems to have slightly different serifs. The perfect mintmark variety (WB-101) is scarcer than the others, but collectors have shown little interest in this distinction.

All 1863-S half dollars have either 140 or 141 reeds.


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Price Guide

Last Updated: 6/25/2019

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

1863 S 50C MS
Base $ 40.00 72.00 105 110 285 350 470 600 900 950 1080 1330 2750 5375 14500 27500 - - - -
$ - - - - - - - - 3150 5700 - - - -

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Total Graded: 142
Low Grade: G
Average Grade: 55
High Grade: 66

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.
NGC CENSUS DETAIL Last Updated: 2/18/2020 1863 S 50C MS

NGC Registry

NGC Registry Score 1863 S 50C MS
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Grade: VF 20
Points: 381
Owner: 123cents
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