Coin Specifications

Category: Seated Liberty Half Dollars (1839-1891)
Mint: Philadelphia
Mintage: 744,900
Obverse Designer: Christian Gobrecht
Reverse Designer: Christian Gobrecht
Composition: Silver
Fineness: 0.9000
Weight: 12.4400g
ASW: 0.3599oz
Melt Value: $6.35 (10/20/2019)
Diameter: 30.6mm
Edge: Reeded
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1866 MOTTO 50C MS obverse 1866 MOTTO 50C MS reverse
Images Courtesy of Heritage Auctions (
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Description & Analysis

The motto IN GOD WE TRUST debuted on the two-cent piece in 1864 and was embraced by a public distraught over the Civil War. The U. S. Mint added it to all silver and gold coins large enough to accommodate it, and included among these was the half dollar. The motto was inscribed on a banner over the eagle on all 1866(P) half dollars and subsequent issues.

Coined at a time when silver coins were still at a substantial premium over paper money, this issue saw no domestic circulation until 10 years later, when the price of silver had fallen drastically. Most examples were exported as bullion shortly after minting, and 1866(P) half dollars are scarce in all grades. Coins grading XF and higher are highly sought by collectors. A fair number of Mint State pieces have survived, including several gems. Most of these are well struck, though low-relief details may be somewhat diminished through excessive polishing of the dies.

Wiley and Bugert identified eight die marriages as the products of eight obverse and seven reverse dies. An amazing five different collars were used for this issue with reed counts of 145, 150, 152, 153 and 154. As there was no such thing as a "master collar," these variations resulted from slight variances in the degree of turn while the collars were being machined in a lathe. The collecting of these coins by collar counts has never developed much of a following.

Two MPD (misplaced date) varieties are known for the 1866(P) half dollar, (FS-302/WB-102 and WB-103). Minor DDO (doubled-die obverse varieties are also known but have attracted little interest.


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Price Guide

Last Updated: 6/25/2019

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

1866 MOTTO 50C MS
Base $ 42.00 65.00 100.00 140 265 375 425 460 585 780 950 1370 2400 4000 6700 9500 34000 55000 - -
$ - - - - - - - - - - 7000 11000 - -

NGC Price and Value Guides Disclaimer



Total Graded: 129
Low Grade: PrAg
Average Grade: 55
High Grade: 68

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, 68 series.
NGC CENSUS DETAIL Last Updated: 10/8/2019 1866 MOTTO 50C MS
 1 %2 %2 %2 %14 %5 %8 %3 %2 %8 %12 %1 %5 %10 %6 %5 %8 %3 %2 %1 %-- 

Auction Prices Realized

A random selection of coins is shown below.

Auction House
Sale / Lot
11/7/2003 NGC MS 62   Heritage Auctions 2003 November Signature Sale #334, 334/Lot# 6661 $862.50
2/23/2005 PCGS F 12   Teletrade Auction 2005, 2005/Lot# 1483 $66.00
1/30/2011 PCGS Genuine Genuine   Goldberg January 30 - February 3, 2011 The Pre-Long Beach Coin and Currency Auction, 62/Lot# 1457 $345.00
7/27/2013 NGC MS 65   Stack's Bowers The August 2013 Chicago ANA World's Fair of Money , 192/Lot# 4193 $4,406.25
7/27/2013 PCGS MS 64   Stack's Bowers The August 2013 Chicago ANA World's Fair of Money , 192/Lot# 2180 $3,760.00
9/15/2013 NGC XF 40   GreatCollections GreatCollections Coin Auctions 09/15/2013, 92/Lot# 131204 $385.00
12/7/2014 NGC VF 30   David Lawrence Rare Coins Internet Auction # 833, 842/Lot# 218 $160.00
4/25/2019 PCGS MS 62   Heritage Auctions 2019 April 25 - 28 Central States (CSNS) US Coins Signature Auction - Chicago Session(5), 1294/Lot# 7582 $840.00

NGC Registry

NGC Registry Score 1866 50C MS MOTTO
Registry Image Gallery
Grade: MS 62
Points: 1886
Owner: 123cents
Grade: AU 50
Points: 847
Owner: TerryZman
View the Registry Image Gallery

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