Coin Specifications

Category: Seated Liberty Half Dollars (1839-1891)
Mint: Philadelphia
Mintage: 4,800
Obverse Designer: Christian Gobrecht
Reverse Designer: Christian Gobrecht
Composition: Silver
Fineness: 0.9000
Weight: 12.5000g
ASW: 0.3617oz
Melt Value: $6.55 (9/21/2019)
Diameter: 30.6mm
Edge: Reeded
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1879 50C MS obverse 1879 50C MS reverse
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Description & Analysis

From 1879 through 1890 there was no demand for additional half dollars, since Treasury vaults were filled with issues from earlier years. The Philadelphia Mint continued to make small numbers annually to provide souvenirs for mint tourists, coin collectors and those seeking to give the coins as gifts on special occasions. It was also deemed advisable to produce just enough pieces to prevent speculation in what otherwise would have been proof-only dates.

Despite its small mintage, the circulating edition of the 1879 half dollar is not rare. The coins were viewed as keepsakes from the outset, and those few worn pieces that exist were likely spent in later years by persons not aware of their status. These worn pieces are eagerly sought by date/mint collectors who cannot afford to collect MS coins for the entire series yet want to have matching sets of lesser coins. A highly disproportionate number of 1879 halves remain in Mint State, many of them prooflike or semi-prooflike gems. With such a low mintage, the dies retained a fairly fresh appearance throughout the press run.

Wiley and Bugert identified two marriages from equal numbers of obverse and reverse dies. A single collar was employed, this having 153 reeds.

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.

1879 50C MS
  GVGFVFXF505355586061626364656667686970
Base $ 450 510 550 640 815 850 900 925 1000 1130 1150 1250 1430 1800 3700 5700 14250 36500 - -
$ - - - - - - - - - 2100 4500 8650 25000 -

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Census

 
NGC GRADE SUMMARY

Total Graded: 252
Low Grade: G
Average Grade: 62
High Grade: 68

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, 66 series, 67 series, 68 series.
NGC CENSUS DETAIL Last Updated: 9/17/2019 1879 50C MS
 PrAgGVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970Total
Base-161814421015-13204050362881--248
-----------------32---5
-----------------3----3
-----------------11---2
Total-161814421015-132040503635111--258
 -0 %2 %0 %3 %0 %2 %2 %1 %4 %6 %-5 %8 %16 %19 %14 %14 %4 %0 %-- 
1879 50C MS Prooflike
 PrAgGVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970Total
Base-------------11--2----4
---------------12-----3
-----------------------
-----------------------
Total-------------11122----7
 -------------14 %14 %14 %29 %29 %---- 

Auction Prices Realized

A random selection of coins is shown below.

Images
Date
Service
Grade
Auction House
Sale / Lot
Price
2/20/2005 PCGS AU 58   Goldberg February 20-23, 2005 Pre-Long Beach Coin Auction, 28/Lot# 1278 $603.75
9/21/2005 NGC MS 64   Heritage Auctions 2005 September Long Beach Signature Auction #384, 384/Lot# 3256 $1,265.00
2/14/2010 PCGS MS 64   Teletrade Auction 2811, 2811/Lot# 1783 $1,610.00
7/7/2011 PCGS AU 55   Heritage Auctions 2011 July Orlando Summer FUN Signature US Coin Auction Session(4), 1157/Lot# 8400 $977.50
12/15/2013 PCGS MS 67   David Lawrence Rare Coins Internet Auction # 782, 791/Lot# 234 $15,500.00
3/31/2015 PCGS MS 92   Stack's Bowers March 2015 Baltimore, 6065/Lot# 33171 $793.13
  PCGS MS 65   Bonhams $3,276.00


NGC Registry

NGC Registry Score 1879 50C MS Prooflike
 PrAgGVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970
Base111111663105111001131117712061221129113451600282833403853497865548792
11111221792106711101146118612111244130914302009299835114228550373000
000000792106711101146118612111244130914302009299835114228550300
000000921108311201161119612161267132715152418316936824603602800
1879 50C MS
 PrAgGVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970
Base997106611101138120014101477146615311594164416681725180820722335363945266400876869619436
1020108111191159127014321477148815521611165216871753189621602770393551517189876877860
0000001477148815521611165216871753189621602770393551517189876800
0000001477150915731627166017061780198422473204423057757979876800
Registry Image Gallery
Grade: MS 67
Points: 7189
Owner: Malibu Collector
 
Grade: MS 61
Points: 1725
Owner: 123cents
 
View the Registry Image Gallery

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