Coin Specifications

Category: Seated Liberty Half Dollars (1839-1891)
Mint: San Francisco
Mintage: 1,004,000
Obverse Designer: Christian Gobrecht
Reverse Designer: Christian Gobrecht
Composition: Silver
Fineness: 0.9000
Weight: 12.4400g
ASW: 0.3599oz
Melt Value: $6.22 (8/17/2019)
Diameter: 30.6mm
Edge: Reeded
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1870 S 50C MS obverse 1870 S 50C MS reverse
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Description & Analysis

After a dip in production during 1869, the San Francisco Mint topped a million half dollars this year. Still this issue is slightly scarce in low grades and much more so in grades XF and higher. Mint State survivors are very elusive, and many display signs of die erosion from excessive use. To remove the resulting furrows in the fields, the dies were repolished, and this left them with diminished relief within the shallow design elements. Liberty's elbow drapery and her left foot may be partially abraded from the obverse.

Six die pairs were shipped to the San Francisco Mint for 1870's half dollar coinage, and it appears that not all were used. Only two obverse dies and three reverses have been identified, and they were employed in four die marriages. All 1870-S half dollars feature the Very Small S mintmark used in preceding years, and there are only positional varieties to distinguish these dies.

Two collars were used in this mintage, these having either 139 or 140 reeds. Aside from the several die marriages, there are no desirable varieties for 1870-S.

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 S 50C MS
  GVGFVFXF505355586061626364656667686970
Base $ 40.00 60.00 125 185 450 675 750 1000 1250 1500 1730 3650 4750 9250 22500 - - - - -
$ - - - - 1380 - - - 6750 - - - - -

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Census

 
NGC GRADE SUMMARY

Total Graded: 64
Low Grade: G
Average Grade: 45
High Grade: 65

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.
NGC CENSUS DETAIL Last Updated: 8/13/2019 1870 S 50C MS
 PrAgGVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970Total
Base-134119117252121221-----64
-----------------------
-----------------------
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Total-134119117252121221-----64
 -2 %5 %6 %17 %14 %17 %11 %3 %8 %3 %2 %3 %2 %3 %3 %2 %----- 

Auction Prices Realized

A random selection of coins is shown below.

Images
Date
Service
Grade
Auction House
Sale / Lot
Price
11/1/1999 NGC XF 40   Teletrade Auction 1230, 1230/Lot# 1399 $103.55
2/20/2005 PCGS MS 62   Goldberg February 20-23, 2005 Pre-Long Beach Coin Auction, 28/Lot# 1265 $4,025.00
1/9/2013 PCGS XF 40   Heritage Auctions 2013 January 9-13 US Coin FUN Signature Auction - Orlando Session(8), 1181/Lot# 10558 $392.45
7/27/2013 PCGS MS 62   Stack's Bowers The August 2013 Chicago ANA World's Fair of Money , 192/Lot# 4207 $3,877.50
11/15/2013 NGC XF 40   Heritage Auctions 2013 November 15 - 16 Selections from the Eric P. Newman Collection, Part II Signature Auction - New York Session(4), 1190/Lot# 34589 $705.00
6/29/2014 NGC Details VF Details  GreatCollections GreatCollections Coin Auctions 06/29/2014, 187/Lot# 175961 $70.00
9/4/2014 PCGS MS 62   Heritage Auctions 2014 September 4 - 6 Long Beach Expo US Coins Signature Auction - Long Beach Session(2), 1209/Lot# 4141 $2,585.00
11/2/2014 PCGS F 15   David Lawrence Rare Coins Internet Auction # 828, 837/Lot# 10384 $110.00
4/22/2015 PCGS AU 55   Heritage Auctions 2015 April 22 - 26 CSNS US Coins Signature Auction - Chicago Session(7), 1219/Lot# 7886 $883.60
3/6/2019 NGC F 12   Heritage Auctions Internet Coin Auction Session(1), 131911/Lot# 23782 $94.00


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