Coin Specifications

Category: Seated Liberty Half Dollars (1839-1891)
Mint: Philadelphia
Mintage: 1,377,600
Obverse Designer: Christian Gobrecht
Reverse Designer: Christian Gobrecht
Composition: Silver
Fineness: 0.9000
Weight: 12.5000g
ASW: 0.3617oz
Melt Value: $8.92 (10/20/2020)
Diameter: 30.6mm
Edge: Reeded
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1878 50C MS obverse 1878 50C MS reverse
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Description & Analysis

The massive production of fractional silver coins that occurred 1875-77 had the unintended effect of creating a redundancy of small silver. This was aggravated by the ever-falling price of silver during that decade, which brought out of hiding millions of earlier issues that had been hoarded or exported during the years of depreciated paper money that commenced in 1862. While many writers have claimed that the onset of heavy silver dollar coinage in 1878 overworked the mints to the point that they were unable to make more fractional silver coins, this is not what put the brakes on half dollar production that year. The fact was that there were already too many coins in Treasury vaults, and they were in violation of an 1875 law which limited the total value of fractional silver and fractional paper in circulation to 50 million dollars. A demand for additional half dollars would not appear until 1891, the final year of the Seated Liberty type.

The 1878(P) half dollar is not a rare or even scarce coin in overall numbers, but it is less often seen than Philadelphia Mint halves dated 1875-77. Many examples have incomplete strikes, and gems (MS-65 and higher) are rare.

The 1993 Wiley-Bugert book reported six die marriages consisting of five obverse and six reverse dies. More will likely appear when the Bugert Die Registry for Philadelphia halves of this period is published. Three collar gauges are known, these having 152, 153 and 156 reeds, respectively.

GRADE SUMMARY

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Price Guide

Last Updated: 6/27/2019

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

1878 50C MS
  GVGFVFXF505355586061626364656667686970
Base $ 42.00 60.00 105 125 215 300 340 360 490 520 625 915 1530 1850 5100 15100 - - - -
$ - - - - 510 - - - - 2275 - 19000 - -

NGC Price and Value Guides Disclaimer

Disclaimer: The prices listed in the various NGC Price and Value Guides are compiled from a number of independent, third party sources in the numismatic community which NGC believes to be reliable. Prices provided are averages, not specific prices for individual coins. Further, because these prices are only updated from time to time, they do not reflect short term pricing trends, which are quite common and are often quite dramatic, given the volatile nature of the collectible coin marketplace. This is especially true for rare coins, where there are fewer sales and greater variations in sale prices. For all of these reasons, the prices in these guides are designed to serve merely as one of many measures and factors that coin buyers and sellers can use in determining coin values. These prices are not intended, and should not be relied upon, to replace the due diligence and — when appropriate — expert consultation that coin buyers and sellers should undertake when entering into a coin transaction. As such, NGC disclaims all warranties, express or implied, with respect to the information contained in the NGC Guides. By using the NGC Guides, the user agrees that neither NGC nor any of its affiliates, shareholders, officers, employees or agents shall have any liability for any loss or damage of any kind, including without limitation any loss arising from reliance on the information contained in the Guides.

Census

 
NGC GRADE SUMMARY

Total Graded: 126
Low Grade: G
Average Grade: 55
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: 10/13/2020 1878 50C MS
 PrAgGVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970Total
Base-243154947101716109167-----124
-----------------------
---------------2------2
-----------------------
Total-243154947101716109187-----126
 -2%3%2%12%3%7%3%6%8%13%1%5%8%7%14%6%----- 
1878 50C MS PL
 PrAgGVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970Total
Base------------1---1-----2
-----------------------
-----------------------
-----------------------
Total------------1---1-----2
 ------------50%---50%----- 

NGC Registry

NGC Registry Score 1878 50C MS
 PrAgGVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970
Base115121226535152756372578380210361179133315311928238538176685635396761492023269
5117123029441053961774478988010841230139916632080286247736685746111424177030
0000006177447898801084123013991663208028624773668574611142400
0000006717647969581131128214651796223333405729668585681317200
Registry Image Gallery
Grade: AU 55
Points: 802
Owner: Heymikep
 
Grade: XF 45
Points: 563
Owner: Kenneth Forsythe
 
View the Registry Image Gallery

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NGC Auction Central Disclaimer

NGC Auction Central Disclaimer

Disclaimer: The auction prices realized listed in the NGC Auction Central are compiled from a number of independent, third party sources in the numismatic community which NGC believes to be reliable. The auction data listed by NGC may occasionally contain typographical or input errors that can result in incorrect prices realized appearing on the NGC website. Therefore, the prices realized listed in NGC Auction Central are designed to serve merely as one of many measures and facts that coin buyers and sellers can use in determining coin values. These prices are not intended, and should not be relied upon, to replace the due diligence and – when appropriate – expert consultation that coin buyers and sellers should undertake when entering into a coin transaction. As such, NGC disclaims all warranties, express or implied, with respect to the information contained in the NGC Auction Central. By using the NGC Auction Central, the user agrees that neither NGC nor any of its affiliates, shareholders, officers, employees or agents shall have any liability for any loss or damage of any kind, including without limitation any loss arising from reliance on the information contained in the NGC Auction Central.