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SERIES: Liberty Seated Half Dollars 1839-1891
LEVEL: Year, MintMark, & Major Variety

1878-S 50C (Regular Strike)

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PCGS MS65

PCGS MS64

PCGS MS63
PCGS #:
6360
Diameter:
30.00 millimeters
Designer:
Thomas Sully/Christian Gobrecht
Weight:
12.50 grams
Edge:
Reeded
Mintage:
12,000
Metal Content:
90% Silver, 10% Copper
Auction Record:
$199,750 • PCGS MS64 • 6-23-2014 • Heritage
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Rarity and Survival Estimates (Explain)
Grades Survival
Estimate 
Numismatic
Rarity 
Relative Rarity
By Type 
Relative Rarity
By Series 
All Grades 50 R-8.5 1 / 45 3 / 126 TIE
60 or Better 15 R-9.3 6 / 45 TIE 21 / 126 TIE
65 or Better 3 R-9.8 3 / 45 TIE 18 / 126 TIE
Condition Census (Explain) Show more rows
Pos Grade Thumbnail Pedigree and History
1 MS66 PCGS grade  

Bowers & Ruddy 10/1977:552 - Robinson Collection - Stack’s 2/1982:1721 - Queller Family Collection - Stack's 10/2002:678, $161,000

2 MS65 PCGS grade

Stellar Collection

3 MS64 PCGS grade

Charles H. Patten Collection - Stack's 5/1973:418, $6,750 - James Bennett Pryor Collection - Bowers & Merena 1/1996:237, $70,400 - Dr. Robert W. Swan Collection - Bowers & Merena 3/2004:1510, $92,000 - Joseph C. Thomas Collection - Heritage 4/2009:2476, $184,000 - Eugene H. Gardner Collection - Heritage 6/2014:30521, $199,750

3 MS64 PCGS grade  
3 MS64 PCGS grade  
Condition Census (Explain) Show fewer rows
Pos Grade Thumbnail Pedigree and History
1 MS66 PCGS grade  

Bowers & Ruddy 10/1977:552 - Robinson Collection - Stack’s 2/1982:1721 - Queller Family Collection - Stack's 10/2002:678, $161,000

2 MS65 PCGS grade

Stellar Collection

3 MS64 PCGS grade

Charles H. Patten Collection - Stack's 5/1973:418, $6,750 - James Bennett Pryor Collection - Bowers & Merena 1/1996:237, $70,400 - Dr. Robert W. Swan Collection - Bowers & Merena 3/2004:1510, $92,000 - Joseph C. Thomas Collection - Heritage 4/2009:2476, $184,000 - Eugene H. Gardner Collection - Heritage 6/2014:30521, $199,750

3 MS64 PCGS grade  
3 MS64 PCGS grade  
3 MS64 PCGS grade  
3 MS64 estimated grade  
3 MS64 estimated grade  
9 MS63 PCGS grade

William Cutler Atwater Collection - B. Max Mehl 6/1946 - Reed Hawn Collection - Stack's 8/1973:289 - Douglas L. Noblet Collection - Bowers & Merena 1/1999:186, $63,000 - Dick Osburn Collection - Stack’s/Bowers 8/2011:7135, $184,000 - Richard Jewell Collection - Stack's/Bowers 8/2013:4245, $164,500

9 MS63 PCGS grade  

Donald E. Bently Collection - Heritage 3/2014:30054, $129,250

P. Scott Rubin: The 1878-S Half Dollar is a rare coin with an original mintage of only 12,000. 1878 was the last year in which Liberty Seated Half Dollars were made in large numbers, 1,377,600 were minted in Philadelphia and 62,000 were minted in Carson City that year. From 1879 to 1890 the mintage of Half Dollars ranged from a low of 4,400 to a high of 12,001, in the last year of Seated Liberty Half Dollar coinage 1891 the mintage was 200,000. All of the Half Dollars from 1879 to 1891 were struck only in Philadelphia.

It must have been evident to collectors that 1878-S Half Dollars were scarce because a larger than normal percentage of survivors are in high grades. The first auction of an 1878-S Half Dollar I am aware of took place in 1882 and since that time slightly less than half of all auction appearances of an 1878-S Half Dollar have been in About Uncirculated or better condition. One should not take this to mean that most of the 12,000 issued were saved. It is quite the opposite, very few of the original mintage has survived. It is estimated that no more than sixty examples of the 1878-S Half Dollar still exist in all grades.