Coin Specifications

Category: Seated Liberty Half Dollars (1839-1891)
Mint: Philadelphia
Mintage: 10,000
Obverse Designer: Christian Gobrecht
Reverse Designer: Christian Gobrecht
Composition: Silver
Fineness: 0.9000
Weight: 12.5000g
ASW: 0.3617oz
Melt Value: $6.38 (10/20/2019)
Diameter: 30.6mm
Edge: Reeded
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1881 50C MS obverse 1881 50C MS reverse
Images courtesy of Heritage Auctions (HA.com)
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Description & Analysis

As had been the norm since 1879, the Philadelphia Mint alone coined half dollars during 1881. Their production was limited to the number needed to satisfy demand from collectors and those seeking current coins for gift presentations. The Mint was also included to strike enough currency pieces to reduce speculation in the proofs, but the former likewise became items of speculative interest and were widely hoarded. Thus, Mint State survivors are relatively common, with a number of superb gems certified. Coins grading lower than About Uncirculated are actually scarce and highly sought by collectors attempting to grade match their overall sets.

Examples certified as either PL (prooflike) or DPL (deeply prooflike) are not unusual, as the dies were run for a very short time and lost their original brilliance gradually.

A single die pair is known, and all 1881 halves feature 156 edge 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.

1881 50C MS
  GVGFVFXF505355586061626364656667686970
Base $ 390 490 550 700 825 900 1000 1050 1100 1160 1200 1250 1500 2050 4200 7000 17500 - - -
$ - - - - - - - - - 2100 4800 7500 26000 -
1881 50C MS Prooflike
  GVGFVFXF505355586061626364656667686970
Base $ - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 20000 - - - -

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Census

 
NGC GRADE SUMMARY

Total Graded: 104
Low Grade: PrAg
Average Grade: 60
High Grade: 67

The chart showing PrAg series, 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.
NGC CENSUS DETAIL Last Updated: 10/8/2019 1881 50C MS
 PrAgGVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970Total
Base11448312225-211821582---90
---------------111----3
---------------13-----4
-----------------------
Total11448312225-211823992---97
 1 %1 %4 %4 %8 %3 %1 %2 %2 %2 %5 %-2 %11 %8 %24 %9 %9 %2 %--- 
1881 50C MS Prooflike
 PrAgGVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970Total
Base-------------33322----13
-----------------1----1
-----------------------
-----------------------
Total-------------33323----14
 -------------21 %21 %21 %14 %21 %---- 
1881 50C MS Deep 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
5/30/2005 PCGS MS 64   Goldberg May 30 - June 16, 2005 Pre-Long Beach Coin Auction, 31/Lot# 244 $2,875.00
11/14/2010 PCGS F 15   Teletrade Auction 2959, 2959/Lot# 1605 $460.00
10/20/2013 PCGS MS 65   GreatCollections GreatCollections Coin Auctions 10/20/2013, 97/Lot# 144051 $3,795.00
6/23/2014 NGC MS 67   Heritage Auctions 2014 June 23 The Eugene H. Gardner Collection of US Coins Signature Auction - New York Session(1), 1213/Lot# 30522 $9,400.00
11/2/2014 PCGS XF 40   David Lawrence Rare Coins Internet Auction # 828, 837/Lot# 10412 $605.00
3/27/2015 NGC MS 67   Stack's Bowers March 2015 Baltimore, 6065/Lot# 6062 $6,756.25
12/3/2015 PCGS MS 63   Heritage Auctions 2015 December 3 - 6 Houston Money Show US Coins Signature Auction - Houston Session(3), 1227/Lot# 4418 $1,057.50
12/3/2015 PCGS Genuine AU   Heritage Auctions 2015 December 3 - 6 Houston Money Show US Coins Signature Auction - Houston Session(4), 1227/Lot# 7615 $517.00


NGC Registry

NGC Registry Score 1881 50C MS Prooflike
 PrAgGVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970
Base111111591948103010841157120612211319147219633047351844445883793410899
1111119771097510481108117312111253137016352324320438264923656689220
00000071097510481108117312111253137016352324320438264923656600
000000829100210661132118912161286142117992685336141355403725000
1881 50C MS
 PrAgGVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970
Base9691036108111241206133314041381142114881583160916781865196923193601443164735694770910631
991105110951151124813571404139414431520159216321740190020862746387851126473636686830
0000001404139414431520159216321740190020862746387851126473636600
0000001404140814661551160016551803193422023174415457926473703700
Registry Image Gallery
Grade: MS 62 PL
Points: 1354
Owner: Deepc5
 
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