Coin Specifications

Category: Seated Liberty Quarters (1838-1891)
Mint: Philadelphia
Mintage: 15,210,020
Obverse Designer: Christian Gobrecht
Reverse Designer: Christian Gobrecht
Composition: Silver
Fineness: 0.9000
Weight: 6.2200g
ASW: 0.1800oz
Melt Value: $3.09 (10/17/2017)
Diameter: 24.3mm
Edge: Reeded
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1853 ARROWS & RAYS 25C MS obverse 1853 ARROWS & RAYS 25C MS reverse


  
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Description & Analysis

Early in 1853 Congress finally passed legislation lowering the weights of the nation's silver coins from half dime through half dollar, leaving the silver dollar at its existing standard and condemning it to non-circulation. This permitted the fractional coins to remain unmolested in commerce, as they no longer were profitable to export and melt.

To mark this change, opposed arrowheads were placed at either side of the date, and a glory of rays was added around the eagle on the half dollar and quarter dollar. These distinguishing marks alerted any recipients that such coins were of the new, lower weight. They also facilitated withdrawal of the new coins, should the old standard ever be restored.

Since the need to replace the heavier coins was so urgent, record numbers of fractional silver issues were minted in 1853, so many in fact that coin dealers specifically excluded this date from their want lists for the next 80 years. The 1853 quarter dollar with arrows and rays is thus a very common coin across all grades. Mint State survivors are fairly plentiful, and even gems are available with some regularity.

Over 100 dies each were prepared for both obverse and reverse of this large production, but the only variety of particular interest is the 1853/54 overdate. Though seemingly illogical, this old date over new date is explained by the fact that dies for the new year's coinage were being prepared during the final quarter of 1853, and the die sinker easily could have overpunched an 1853 dated die if one were needed immediately. It has also been proposed by researchers that the Mint prepared new master hubs for the arrows & rays coinage, as the great number of dies needed justified this extra effort to avoid hand punching these elements into each working die. The resulting obverse hub would have included the date, as well, and a dual punching of 1853-dated and 1854-dated hubs could also produce this overdate oddity.

GRADE SUMMARY

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Price Guide

Last Updated: 10/12/2016

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1853 ARROWS & RAYS 25C MS
  GVGFVFXF505355586061626364656667686970
Base $ 30.00 40.00 55.00 80.00 195 370 455 550 875 1125 1225 1550 2450 4250 16000 37000 65000 - - -
$ - - - - - - - 1800 3050 5000 - - - -

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Census

 
NGC GRADE SUMMARY

Total Graded: 1406
Low Grade: PrAg
Average Grade: 53
High Grade: 67


Upcoming Auctions


Auction Prices Realized

A random selection of coins is shown below.

Images
Date
Service
Grade
Auction House
Sale / Lot
Price
7/7/2008 NGC AU 55   David Lawrence Rare Coins Monday - Internet Auction # 263, 269/Lot# 386 $363.40
9/19/2010 NGC XF 40   Goldberg $345.00
5/27/2012 PCGS MS 64   Bonhams Coins and Medals, 19995/Lot# 1029 $3,159.00
11/25/2012 PCGS VF 35   Teletrade Auction 3387, 3387/Lot# 1844 $69.00
6/9/2013 NGC Details AU Details  Heritage Auctions Internet Coin Auction Session(2), 131325/Lot# 23129 $193.88
1/19/2014 PCGS XF 45   GreatCollections GreatCollections Coin Auctions 01/19/2014, 185/Lot# 165187 $177.10
8/1/2014 NGC VF 25   Stack's Bowers iAuction 3493, 6044/Lot# 20098 $47.00
10/5/2014 PCGS XF 45   Heritage Auctions Internet Coin Auction Session(2), 131441/Lot# 23646 $135.13
10/3/2016 PCGS AU 58   Heritage Auctions 2016 October 3 - 5 US Coins Signature Auction - Dallas Session(4), 1240/Lot# 7319 $517.00


NGC Registry

NGC Registry Score 1853 ARROWS 25C MS & RAYS Prooflike
 PrAgGVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970
Base98119131167288586739874117113381557168717992012270438116316896610721213323419355232
10512314320738763778497312261411160017241870224230734646719995511425825619412060
0000007849731226141116001724187022423073464671999551142582561900
000000829107212821484164317611941247334425481808210136177952990600
1853 ARROWS 25C MS & RAYS
 PrAgGVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970
Base89106119151265546692820110512651474159917071911257936506081866010372207503336754053
9411012918935859473491511581334151516351775213329364460694092301383124955402620
0000007349151158133415151635177521332936446069409230138312495500
00000077710101211140415571671184323563293527078009801172902916100
Registry Image Gallery
Grade: MS 62
Points: 1911
Owner: jhd
 
Grade: MS 62
Points: 1911
Owner: JTO
 
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