Coin Specifications

Category: Seated Liberty Half Dollars (1839-1891)
Mint: Philadelphia
Mintage: 3,532,708
Catalog: KM-79
Obverse Designer: Christian Gobrecht
Reverse Designer: Christian Gobrecht
Composition: Silver
Fineness: 0.9000
Weight: 12.44g
ASW: 0.3599oz
Melt Value: $5.87 (5/29/2016)
Diameter: 30.6mm
Edge: Reeded
Numismatic specification data provided by Krause Publications NumisMaster.
Link to this coin

1853 ARROWS & RAYS 50C MS obverse 1853 ARROWS & RAYS 50C MS reverse

Expand All    Collapse All

Description & Analysis

The vast quantities of gold that flooded the eastern United States in the late 1840s had a deleterious effect on the country's silver coins. As the price of the staple coinage metal rose sharply when reckoned in terms of gold dollars, it was not long before speculators started their usual hoarding and/or melting practices. By 1850, there were few coins in circulation between the lowly cent and the gold dollar. In an effort to rectify this grave coinage situation, Mint Director George N. Eckert proposed that Congress lower the weights of the silver coins to ensure that their face value remained above their bullion value. Despite reservations, Congress authorized this plan in the Mint Act of February 21, 1853. The half dollar's new weight was 12.44 grams, a sufficient enough reduction from its former weight of 13.36 grams to ensure that the denomination remained in circulation. To distinguish these new half dollars from their predecessors, Eckert ordered that arrows be placed on either side of the date and rays added around the eagle. With these features, the Philadelphia Mint delivered the first 80,000 examples of its lighter half dollar on May 21. By the end of the year, a respectable total of 3,532,708 specimens were produced by the parent mint alone.

Description and Analysis courtesy of Heritage Auctions and may not be republished without written permission.


Loading... Working...

Use the scroll bar at the bottom of this box to view a summary of the NGC Price Guide, NGC Census, Auction Prices Realized and NGC Registry Scores for each grade.

There was no data found for this Coin.

Select Designation


Select Grade

*To view the Census details for this coin, please sign in or sign up.

Price Guide

Last Updated: 9/16/2015

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

Base $ 38.00 50.00 75.00 120 290 565 675 850 1125 1700 2375 3850 5750 26000 67500 95000 - - -
$ 320 - 725 950 1225 - 2800 4300 6750 29000 - - -

NGC Price and Value Guides Disclaimer



Total Graded: 1131
Low Grade: PrAg
Average Grade: 53
High Grade: 66

Upcoming Auctions

Auction Prices Realized

A random selection of coins is shown below.

Auction House
Sale / Lot
6/24/2001 PCGS MS 63   Teletrade Auction 1451, 1451/Lot# 1079 $3,531.00
9/2/2012 NGC XF 45   Goldberg September 2-5, 2012 The September 2-5, 2012, 70/Lot# 928 $288.00
12/16/2012 PCGS VF 35   GreatCollections GreatCollections Coin Auctions 12/16/2012, 53/Lot# 90314 $132.01
3/17/2013 PCGS XF 45   GreatCollections GreatCollections Coin Auctions 03/17/2013, 66/Lot# 101088 $330.00
7/27/2013 NGC AU 55   Stack's Bowers The August 2013 Chicago ANA World's Fair of Money , 192/Lot# 30588 $571.05
11/24/2013 PCGS VF 35   David Lawrence Rare Coins Internet Auction # 779, 788/Lot# 590 $210.00
1/8/2014 PCGS AU 53   Heritage Auctions 2014 January 8 - 12 FUN US Coin Signature Auction - Orlando Session(7), 1201/Lot# 9021 $705.00
1/29/2015 NGC MS 64   Heritage Auctions 2015 January 29 - February 1 Long Beach Expo US Coins Signature Auction - Long Beach Session(2), 1217/Lot# 3859 $3,290.00

NGC Registry

NGC Registry Score 1853 ARROWS & RAYS 50C MS
Registry Image Gallery
Grade: MS 64
Points: 4217
Owner: BillJones
Grade: MS 63
Points: 3386
Owner: Senator32
View the Registry Image Gallery

Related Articles

There are no related articles for this coin.

NGC Auction Central Disclaimer