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: $5.93 (7/24/2019)
Diameter: 30.6mm
Edge: Reeded
Link to this coin

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.

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.

1863 S 50C MS
  GVGFVFXF505355586061626364656667686970
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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Census

 
NGC GRADE SUMMARY

Total Graded: 141
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: 7/23/2019 1863 S 50C MS
 PrAgGVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970Total
Base-243101014181725-915101021----141
-----------------------
--------------1-------1
-----------------------
Total-243101014181725-915111021----142
 -1 %3 %2 %7 %7 %10 %1 %6 %12 %18 %-6 %11 %8 %7 %1 %1 %---- 

Auction Prices Realized

A random selection of coins is shown below.

Images
Date
Service
Grade
Auction House
Sale / Lot
Price
6/25/1997 PCGS AU 50   Teletrade Auction 0957, 957/Lot# 1488 $152.60
2/24/2003 NGC MS 65   Goldberg February 24-25, 2003 Coin Auction, 17/Lot# 556 $6,038.00
6/9/2013 PCGS VF 35   GreatCollections GreatCollections Coin Auctions 06/09/2013, 78/Lot# 113108 $160.71
2/23/2014 PCGS MS 62   David Lawrence Rare Coins Internet Auction # 792, 801/Lot# 548 $1,700.00
7/26/2015 NGC XF 40   Stack's Bowers iAuction 3534, 6113/Lot# 20277 $282.00
8/9/2015 PCGS Genuine AU   Heritage Auctions Internet Coin Auction Session(2), 131533/Lot# 25977 $246.75
1/4/2017 PCGS AU 58   Heritage Auctions 2017 January 4 - 9 FUN US Coins Signature Auction - Session(7), 1251/Lot# 9720 $1,069.25
3/12/2017 NGC Details VF Details  Heritage Auctions Internet Coin Auction Session(1), 131712/Lot# 25445 $109.00
12/13/2018 NGC MS 64   Heritage Auctions 2018 December 13-14 US Coins Signature Auction Session(1), 1282/Lot# 3450 $4,320.00
3/27/2019 NGC Details XF Details  Heritage Auctions Internet Coin Auction Session(1), 131914/Lot# 21487 $144.00


NGC Registry

NGC Registry Score 1863 50C MS S
 PrAgGVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970
Base115522027238167472580293311521284142115831969280738526324786112544201813270538971
5217723730847969175184610061196133014751712224831554676683694221509024356347940
0000007518461006119613301475171222483155467668369422150902435600
00000077688910791240137515291840252835045500734910983176352853000
Registry Image Gallery
Grade: XF 40
Points: 674
Owner: Mongo88
 
Grade: VF 20
Points: 381
Owner: 123cents
 
View the Registry Image Gallery

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