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: $6.37 (10/21/2019)
Diameter: 30.6mm
Edge: Reeded
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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: 128
Low Grade: G
Average Grade: 61
High Grade: 67

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.
NGC CENSUS DETAIL Last Updated: 10/8/2019 1888 50C MS
 PrAgGVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970Total
Base-1719374135-1873114149---125
------------------1---1
-----------------12---3
-----------------------
Total-1719374135-18731141512---129
 -1 %5 %1 %7 %2 %5 %3 %1 %2 %4 %-1 %6 %5 %24 %11 %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
12/14/2003 NGC MS 67   Teletrade Auction 1818, 1818/Lot# 1136 $6,820.00
6/27/2005 NGC MS 63   David Lawrence Rare Coins Auction 43: The Cook Family Collection, 47/Lot# 956 $833.75
2/10/2008 PCGS G 4   Goldberg February 10-13, 2008 Pre-Long Beach Coin and Currency Auction, 44/Lot# 329 $276.00
9/23/2013 PCGS MS 66   Bonhams Coins and Medals, 20992/Lot# 2047 $7,020.00
9/25/2013 NGC Details VG Details  Heritage Auctions 2013 September 25 - 29 US Coins Signature Auction - Long Beach Session(7), 1189/Lot# 8349 $352.50
10/8/2014 PCGS MS 65   Heritage Auctions 2014 October 8 - 13 PNG New York Invitational US Coins Signature Auction - New York Session(4), 1210/Lot# 4770 $3,818.75
3/31/2015 PCGS AU 50   Stack's Bowers March 2015 Baltimore, 6065/Lot# 33172 $851.88
9/7/2017 PCGS MS 64   Heritage Auctions 2017 September 7 - 10 Long Beach Expo US Coins Signature Auction - Long Beach Session(1), 1259/Lot# 3476 $1,800.00
2/22/2018 PCGS VF 30   Heritage Auctions 2018 February 22 - 26 LB Expo US Coins Signature Auction - Long Beach Session(6), 1272/Lot# 8303 $840.00


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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