Coin Specifications

Category: Seated Liberty Half Dollars (1839-1891)
Mint: Philadelphia
Mintage: 12,001
Obverse Designer: Christian Gobrecht
Reverse Designer: Christian Gobrecht
Composition: Silver
Fineness: 0.9000
Weight: 12.5000g
ASW: 0.3617oz
Melt Value: $5.88 (7/20/2019)
Diameter: 30.6mm
Edge: Reeded
Link to this coin

1888 50C MS obverse 1888 50C MS reverse
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Description & Analysis

Production of half dollars more than doubled over that of the several years previous, but this was not reflective of actual demand for additional coins in circulation. Treasury vaults were still filled with silver quarters and halves. The fact that mintages 1888-90 were the same each year indicates that the Mint was making a conscious effort to discourage speculation. Clearly, there were not 12,000 coin collectors in the USA at the time, but the low mintage issues made since 1879 were being actively hoarded for their potential rarity and value down the road.

The 1888 half dollar is only slightly more available than the several previous dates in Mint State, but worn pieces are available in greater numbers than for the 1879-87 halves.

All 1888 halves were produced using a single die pair and one collar 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.

1888 50C MS
  GVGFVFXF505355586061626364656667686970
Base $ 425 515 600 685 910 1000 1030 1100 1180 1230 1250 1440 1580 2400 4200 6300 16250 - - -
$ - - - - - - - - - - 5000 9200 19000 -

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Census

 
NGC GRADE SUMMARY

Total Graded: 127
Low Grade: VG
Average Grade: 61
High Grade: 67

The chart showing 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: 7/16/2019 1888 50C MS
 PrAgGVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970Total
Base--719374135-1773115149---124
------------------1---1
-----------------12---3
-----------------------
Total--719374135-17731151512---128
 --5 %1 %7 %2 %5 %3 %1 %2 %4 %-1 %5 %5 %24 %12 %12 %9 %--- 
1888 50C MS Prooflike
 PrAgGVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970Total
Base---------------2-1----3
-----------------------
-----------------------
-----------------------
Total---------------2-1----3
 ---------------67 %-33 %---- 

Auction Prices Realized

A random selection of coins is shown below.

Images
Date
Service
Grade
Auction House
Sale / Lot
Price
4/25/2002 PCGS MS 64   Heritage Auctions 2002 April Columbus, OH (CSNS) Signature Sale #288, 288/Lot# 6645 $1,380.00
7/30/2008 PCGS MS 67   Heritage Auctions 2008 July-August Baltimore, MD (ANA) US Coin Signature Auction #1114, 1114/Lot# 1700 $20,700.00
1/31/2010 NGC MS 66   Goldberg January 31 - February 3, 2010 Pre-Long Beach Coin and Currency Auction, 57/Lot# 1093 $4,830.00
12/12/2010 NGC VG 8   Teletrade Auction 2976, 2976/Lot# 1630 $253.00
9/23/2013 PCGS MS 66   Bonhams Coins and Medals, 20992/Lot# 2047 $7,020.00
6/27/2014 PCGS MS 66   Stack's Bowers June 2014 Baltimore, 6021/Lot# 1456 $5,581.25
9/7/2014 PCGS MS 65   David Lawrence Rare Coins Internet Auction # 820, 829/Lot# 639 $4,000.00
12/3/2015 PCGS Genuine UNC   Heritage Auctions 2015 December 3 - 6 Houston Money Show US Coins Signature Auction - Houston Session(4), 1227/Lot# 7621 $763.75
2/22/2018 PCGS MS 62   Heritage Auctions 2018 February 22 - 26 LB Expo US Coins Signature Auction - Long Beach Session(6), 1272/Lot# 8306 $1,080.00


NGC Registry

NGC Registry Score 1888 50C MS Prooflike
 PrAgGVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970
Base111111602966103010721131117011921312153117842913338641915501735710023
1111120172398710441091114411771232138516152160307036544627611982450
00000072398710441091114411771232138516152160307036544627611900
000000844100810581111115711841272145816992536322839225064673800
1888 50C MS
 PrAgGVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970
Base91097410811166128414441505147715211547158316391707169719072179354545126209527570879699
931101011091205133714641505149215301559160216621707176719982634386750786209587979580
0000001505149215301559160216621707176719982634386750786209587900
0000001505150615381571162016841707183720883090419056436209648300
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