Coin Specifications

Category: Seated Liberty Half Dollars (1839-1891)
Mint: Philadelphia
Mintage: 633,900
Obverse Designer: Christian Gobrecht
Reverse Designer: Christian Gobrecht
Composition: Silver
Fineness: 0.9000
Weight: 12.4400g
ASW: 0.3599oz
Melt Value: $6.34 (10/17/2019)
Diameter: 30.6mm
Edge: Reeded
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1870 50C MS obverse 1870 50C MS reverse
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Description & Analysis

Five years after the end of America's Civil War, the federal paper currency was still not trading at par with gold and silver coins, meaning that hard money remained nearly invisible within most of the nation. Only in the Far West did half dollar circulate freely, as paper money was shunned or even prohibited. Thus it was that the Philadelphia Mint coined only 633,900 1870 half dollars, and many of these were quickly exported for their bullion value or condemned to circulate in Canada or Latin America. It was in this year that the government of Canada began a program to expel the American issues and replace with its own new coinage.

The 1870(P) half dollar is slightly scarce in all grades, becoming much more so in grades XF and higher. Mint State survivors may number around a couple dozen, though a few are quite choice. The Wiley-Bugert book observes that some examples are weak at letters BER of LIBERTY.

Nine die marriages have been confirmed, these the product of seven each obverse and reverse dies used in multiple combinations. As was often the case for this coin series, the Philadelphia Mint utilized a wide variety of collar gauges. Four are known, these having 145, 146, 152 or 153 reeds, respectively.

A very minor repunched date variety is of little general interest but may be sought by series specialists.

GRADE SUMMARY

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Price Guide

Last Updated: 6/26/2019

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

1870 50C MS
  GVGFVFXF505355586061626364656667686970
Base $ 35.00 50.00 65.00 105 225 300 365 460 625 670 750 950 1610 2900 8100 13500 24000 - - -
$ - - - - - - - - - 4250 9850 - - -

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Census

 
NGC GRADE SUMMARY

Total Graded: 85
Low Grade: VG
Average Grade: 53
High Grade: 67

The chart showing 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: 10/8/2019 1870 50C MS
 PrAgGVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970Total
Base--32109963515145443-1---84
-----------------------
----------------1-----1
-----------------------
Total--32109963515145444-1---85
 --4 %2 %12 %11 %11 %7 %4 %6 %18 %1 %5 %6 %5 %5 %5 %-1 %--- 
1870 50C MS Prooflike
 PrAgGVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970Total
Base-------------1--------1
-----------------------
-----------------------
-----------------------
Total-------------1--------1
 -------------100 %-------- 

Auction Prices Realized

A random selection of coins is shown below.

Images
Date
Service
Grade
Auction House
Sale / Lot
Price
11/16/2008 PCGS VF 35   Teletrade Auction 2612, 2612/Lot# 1678 $138.00
10/17/2012 PCGS   Stack's Bowers The November 2012 Baltimore Auction - US and World Lots - Live and Internet Only Sessions, 144/Lot# 24701 $255.30
2/3/2013 PCGS MS 63   Goldberg February 3-6, 2013 The Pre-Long Beach Auction, 72/Lot# 1332 $1,006.25
2/23/2014 PCGS XF 45   GreatCollections GreatCollections Coin Auctions 02/23/2014, 182/Lot# 172937 $231.00
11/2/2014 PCGS AU 53   David Lawrence Rare Coins Internet Auction # 828, 837/Lot# 10382 $325.00
7/9/2015 PCGS MS 61   Heritage Auctions 2015 July 9 - 12 Summer FUN US Coins Signature Auction - Orlando Summer FUN Session(4), 1222/Lot# 7464 $517.00
7/9/2015 PCGS AU 58   Heritage Auctions 2015 July 9 - 12 Summer FUN US Coins Signature Auction - Orlando Summer FUN Session(4), 1222/Lot# 7465 $540.50


NGC Registry

NGC Registry Score 1870 50C MS
 PrAgGVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970
Base1021311942303366206637549001081127113451393147719693080437558599121143492278927615
1121522062654316346938039601144129613611421164123393512487069461086417162243980
000000693803960114412961361142116412339351248706946108641716200
0000007248511021120813201377144918052710394353648034126061997600
Registry Image Gallery
Grade: AU 58
Points: 1271
Owner: 123cents
 
Grade: VF 35
Points: 336
Owner: ddr70
 
View the Registry Image Gallery

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