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SERIES: Liberty Head $2 1/2 1840-1907
LEVEL: Year, MintMark, & Major Variety

1856-S $2.50 (Regular Strike)

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PCGS MS65

PCGS MS64

PCGS AU58
PCGS #:
7781
Diameter:
18.00 millimeters
Designer:
Christian Gobrecht
Weight:
4.18 grams
Edge:
Reeded
Mintage:
72,120
Metal Content:
90% Gold, 10% Copper
Auction Record:
$85,188 • PCGS MS67 • 9-16-2015 • Ira & Larry Goldberg
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16,000
Rarity and Survival Estimates (Explain)
Grades Survival
Estimate 
Numismatic
Rarity 
Relative Rarity
By Type 
Relative Rarity
By Series 
All Grades 175 R-7.2 68 / 147 TIE 68 / 147 TIE
60 or Better 15 R-9.3 78 / 147 TIE 78 / 147 TIE
65 or Better 3 R-9.8 27 / 147 TIE 27 / 147 TIE
Condition Census (Explain) Show more rows
Pos Grade Thumbnail Pedigree and History
1 MS67 PCGS grade  

S.S. Central America - Goldbergs 9/2015:1352, $85,187.50

2 MS65 PCGS grade

Goldbergs 9/2010:2772, $25,300

2 MS65 PCGS grade  
4 MS64 PCGS grade
4 MS64 PCGS grade
Condition Census (Explain) Show fewer rows
Pos Grade Thumbnail Pedigree and History
1 MS67 PCGS grade  

S.S. Central America - Goldbergs 9/2015:1352, $85,187.50

2 MS65 PCGS grade

Goldbergs 9/2010:2772, $25,300

2 MS65 PCGS grade  
4 MS64 PCGS grade
4 MS64 PCGS grade
4 MS64 PCGS grade  
4 MS64 PCGS grade  
8 MS63 PCGS grade  
8 MS63 PCGS grade  
8 MS63 PCGS grade  

Ron Guth: The 1856-S $2.50 is close in rarity to the 1857-S, but it is almost twice as common as the 1859-S.  Approximately two to three dozen Mint State examples are known, most of which grade from MS61 to MS64.  The finest example is a PCGS MS67 that was recovered from the wreck of the S.S. Central America -- it is but one of a tiny handful of MS67 Quarter Eagles from the pre-Civil War era.  This date usually comes with a nice frosty luster.

The mintmark on the 1856-S Quarter Eagles appears in at least two widely different position.  Most often, the mintmark is wedged tightly into the area between the eagle's right talon (viewer's left) and the fletch of the arrow.  Other times, it is seen almost touching the upper left serif of the D. 


David Akers (1975/88): Moderately scarce as a date (certainly more so than the relatively high mintage figure of 71,120 might indicate) and extremely rare in strictly uncirculated condition. I would be surprised if as many as half a dozen mint state pieces exist. The finest that I have seen was the piece in the 1974 ANA Sale that realized $2500.