Coin Specifications

Category: Seated Liberty Half Dollars (1839-1891)
Mint: Philadelphia
Mintage: 1,100
Obverse Designer: Christian Gobrecht
Reverse Designer: Christian Gobrecht
Composition: Silver
Fineness: 0.9000
Weight: 12.5000g
ASW: 0.3617oz
Melt Value: $6.50 (9/17/2019)
Diameter: 30.6mm
Edge: Reeded
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1879 50C PF obverse 1879 50C PF reverse
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Description & Analysis

The near suspension of circulating coinage for the fractional silver pieces which went into effect this year put speculative pressure on the proofs, and this accounts for the much higher than usual sales. As a result, the 1879 proof half dollar is more commonly seen than those of earlier years, and gems are sufficiently available to meet the demand from date collectors. Cameo proofs are likewise more available than usual, but their totals still remain modest across all grades.

Interestingly, Walter Breen provided a total of 620 proofs in both his proof book (1977) and his general encyclopedia (1988). He indicated that the proof half dollars of 1879 were delivered in three batches of 250, 120 and 250. He added that 480 proof half dollars of previous years were on hand at the Philadelphia Mint as of January, 1879 and that these were sold during 1879. Adding these coins to the 620 figure for 1879-dated halves nearly matches the 1150 total currently found in reference books, so it's now uncertain exactly how many proof half dollars dated 1879 were actually coined and sold.

Unlike 1878, where proof half dollars bearing the old reverse hub are merely rumored, it's a proven fact that both old and new reverses are seen for 1879. Two die marriages bearing the Type 1 reverse are known, along with a single marriage having the Type 2 reverse. Collectors have shown no interest in obtaining examples of both, as proof coins are rarely collected by varieties.

GRADE SUMMARY

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Price Guide

Last Updated: 4/15/2019

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

1879 50C PF
  GVGFVFXF505355586061626364656667686970
Base $ - - - - - - - - - 600 780 935 1280 1790 3700 5550 13000 38000 - -
$ - - - - - - - - 1450 2200 4650 - - -
1879 50C PF Cameo
  GVGFVFXF505355586061626364656667686970
Base $ - - - - - - - - - - - 1275 1600 2300 4350 6600 19500 - - -
$ - - - - - - - - - 2600 4950 - 22500 -
1879 50C PF Ultra Cameo
  GVGFVFXF505355586061626364656667686970
Base $ - - - - - - - - - - - - 2500 - - - - - - -
$ - - - - - - - - 2750 - - - - -

NGC Price and Value Guides Disclaimer

Census

 
NGC GRADE SUMMARY

Total Graded: 314
Low Grade: 55
Average Grade: 63
High Grade: 68

The chart showing 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 PF
 PrAgGVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970Total
Base---------1-625505374331752--266
------------------3---3
--------------11------2
-----------------------
Total---------1-625505475331782--271
 ---------0 %-2 %9 %18 %20 %28 %12 %6 %3 %1 %-- 
1879 50C PF Cameo
 PrAgGVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970Total
Base------------3351111861--48
---------------11-3---5
---------------21-1---4
-----------------------
Total------------33514138101--57
 ------------5 %5 %9 %25 %23 %14 %18 %2 %-- 

Auction Prices Realized

A random selection of coins is shown below.

Images
Date
Service
Grade
Auction House
Sale / Lot
Price
1/25/2004 PCGS PF 62   Goldberg January 25-28, 2004 Pre-Long Beach Coin and Currency Auction, 23/Lot# 2382 $632.50
6/27/2005 NGC PF 63   David Lawrence Rare Coins Auction 43: The Cook Family Collection, 47/Lot# 968 $687.70
3/7/2011 PCGS PF 61   Teletrade Auction 3026, 3026/Lot# 1401 $718.75
2/7/2013 NGC PF 63   Heritage Auctions 2013 February 7 -8 & 10 US Coin Signature Auction - Long Beach Session(1), 1182/Lot# 3524 $1,086.88
9/25/2013 PCGS PF 66   Heritage Auctions 2013 September 25 - 29 US Coins Signature Auction - Long Beach Session(2), 1189/Lot# 3889 $4,112.50
3/9/2014 PCGS PF 63   GreatCollections GreatCollections Coin Auctions 03/09/2014, 167/Lot# 156607 $1,320.00
5/25/2014 PCGS PF 64   Stack's Bowers iAuction 3483, 6032/Lot# 22341 $1,615.63
6/23/2014 PCGS PF 68   Heritage Auctions 2014 June 23 The Eugene H. Gardner Collection of US Coins Signature Auction - New York Session(1), 1213/Lot# 30542 $30,550.00


NGC Registry

NGC Registry Score 1879 50C PF Cameo
 PrAgGVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970
Base1100113411711208124612851325136614061450149315381686184321612671352543196753712977609985
1111114611831221125912981339137914211464150815871738194923312956379051306878733985020
0000001339137914211464150815871738194923312956379051306878733900
0000001352139314351479152316371791205525013240405459427004755000
1879 50C PF Ultra Cameo
 PrAgGVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970
Base1581162816761724177318251876192919822038209421502339254027542948315233663591382742275669
1597164416921740179018421894194720012057211322132406261128193016322334413670396047080
0000001894194720012057211322132406261128193016322334413670396000
0000001911196420192075213122762473268328833084329535163748409400
1879 50C PF
 PrAgGVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970
Base8939239549861019105310871123115711961233127113811609202925103324395257478686941511970
9039339659971030106410991134117012081246130814571749218927813533455067278929102670
0000001099113411701208124613081457174921892781353345506727892900
0000001111114611831221125813441533188923503053374351497706917200
Registry Image Gallery
Grade: PF 68
Points: 8686
Owner: Malibu Collector
 
Grade: PF 68 CA
Points: 7129
Owner: First Strike Society
 
View the Registry Image Gallery

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