In 1856, employees at the New Orleans Mint cranked out over 2.6 million Half Dollars representing a total value of $1.329 miilion. Though most of those entered circulation, a large number were preserved by collectors in high grades. Today, dozens of 1856-O Half Dollars exist in a range of grades from MS62 to MS65, and smaller quantities are available in MS65 to MS66. Mid-range Mint State examples are quite affordable but, not unexpectedly, the 1856-O Half Dollar becomes an expensive condition-rarity in MS66.
The typical 1856-O Half Dollar shows weakness in some of the stars, the denticles on both sides, and perhaps in some of the reverse legends. Accordingly, coins with full strikes should command a nice premium.