Description and Analysis

Seated Liberty Half Dollars
1865 S 50C MS

Description & Analysis

The 1865 San Francisco Mint half dollar is scarce in all but the lowest grades. Mint State coins are rare, while gems are all but unknown. Harshly cleaned AU examples are mostly attributable to the hoard of 1860s half dollars that was obtained from Guatemala during the 1950s, and 1865-S seems to have been the latest issue included in that stash.

The San Francisco Mint received no additional reverse dies for 1865, as there were sufficient dies on hand from previous years. Some 12 obverses were sent west, and seven of these have been identified. Paired with eight reverses, the result was a total of nine die marriages known for 1865-S. All were coined with collars having either 139 or 140 reeds.

The Small, Wide S with broken top seen on S-Mint half dollars of 1862-64 was used in only one die marriage during this year. The others featured a new style of mintmark known to numismatists as the Small, Thin S. The single variety having the old mintmark (WB-101) is quite scarce and will command some premium among specialists.