Coin Specifications

Category: Seated Liberty Half Dollars (1839-1891)
Mint: San Francisco
Mintage: 1,160,000
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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1868 S 50C MS obverse 1868 S 50C MS reverse
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Description & Analysis

Both silver and gold coins circulated freely in the Far West, so the San Francisco Mint continued to crank out substantial quantities of half dollars year after year. This was a remarkable feat, as several published accounts survive that detail the wholly inadequate facility in which these coins were produced. A new mint would not go into service for another six years.

This issue is common across all circulated grades, but it is quite rare in full Mint State. Survivors may be found with full details from fresh dies, but most 1868-S halves reveal the die erosion and blurred denticles so typical of S-Mint silver coins during the 1860s.

Mint records indicate that eight obverse dies were shipped to San Francisco for this coinage. The original batch of reverse dies with motto shipped there in 1866 must have dwindled by 1868, as 12 new reverses were sent from Philadelphia. To date, eight die marriages are known from the combining of seven obverses and six reverses. The remaining reverse dies would have been held over for the following year, but, of course, all 1868-dates obverses had to be destroyed in 1869. A single collar has been identified, this having 140 reeds.

No fewer than three MPD (misplaced date) varieties are known for the 1868-S half dollar. These are little known among collectors, as the duplicate numerals are fairly well hidden within the denticles below the date, but they are sought by series specialists.

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.

1868 S 50C MS
  GVGFVFXF505355586061626364656667686970
Base $ 60.00 80.00 120 155 300 360 440 600 715 1240 1500 2125 3000 4875 13000 20600 45000 - - -
$ - - - - - - - - - 5250 - - - -

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Census

 
NGC GRADE SUMMARY

Total Graded: 93
Low Grade: PrAg
Average Grade: 50
High Grade: 66

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.
NGC CENSUS DETAIL Last Updated: 10/8/2019 1868 S 50C MS
 PrAgGVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970Total
Base213181417568161142211----93
-----------------------
-----------------------
-----------------------
Total213181417568161142211----93
 2 %1 %3 %1 %9 %15 %18 %5 %6 %9 %17 %1 %1 %4 %2 %2 %1 %1 %---- 

Auction Prices Realized

A random selection of coins is shown below.

Images
Date
Service
Grade
Auction House
Sale / Lot
Price
1/16/2006 NGC AU 58   David Lawrence Rare Coins Internet Auction #70, 75/Lot# 689 $57.50
1/23/2006 NGC XF 45   Heritage Auctions 2006 January Dallas, TX The Jules Reiver Collection Signature Auction #390, 390/Lot# 21356 $195.50
10/4/2006 PCGS F 15   Teletrade Auction 2269, 2269/Lot# 1283 $89.60
9/23/2007 PCGS AU 53   Goldberg September 23-26, 2007 Pre-Long Beach Coin and Currency Auction, 42/Lot# 1404 $345.00
7/7/2013 PCGS Genuine AU   GreatCollections GreatCollections Coin Auctions 07/07/2013, 82/Lot# 122020 $159.50
7/27/2013 PCGS MS 64   Stack's Bowers The August 2013 Chicago ANA World's Fair of Money , 192/Lot# 4200 $3,525.00
8/8/2014 NGC XF 45   Stack's Bowers iAuction 3494, 6045/Lot# 21320 $182.13
4/22/2015 PCGS AU 50   Heritage Auctions 2015 April 22 - 26 CSNS US Coins Signature Auction - Chicago Session(7), 1219/Lot# 7885 $352.50
2/27/2018 PCGS XF 45   Heritage Auctions Internet Coin Auction Session(1), 131810/Lot# 21610 $336.00
5/15/2019 NGC Details XF Details  Heritage Auctions Internet Coin Auction Session(1), 131921/Lot# 27338 $138.00


NGC Registry

NGC Registry Score 1868 50C MS S
 PrAgGVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970
Base114320125539568472582090810211239133314502087255534675316668511153177532849834170
481622193024916987578499461094127013721662224328594083577281741335321335303890
000000757849946109412701372166222432859408357728174133532133500
000000788879983116613021411187523993163470062299664155532491600
Registry Image Gallery
Grade: XF 45
Points: 725
Owner: crowhill collection
 
Grade: VF 30
Points: 395
Owner: 123cents
 
View the Registry Image Gallery

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