1853 50C Arrows and Rays AU55 Certification #27897187, PCGS #6275
In 1853, the American Congress passed a Coinage Act that reduced the weights of the Half Dimes, Dimes, Quarter Dollars, and Half Dollars to correct the imbalance in the prices of gold and silver. To make the change obvious, arrowheads were placed on either side of the date and rays were placed throughout the reverse. Production of the new Half Dollars ballooned in 1853 to over 3.5 million coins -- a level unseen since ten years earlier. The New Orleans mint contributed another 1.3+ million coins. With the rays on the reverse, this became a one-year type coin (from 1854 to 1855, the rays were removed but the arrowheads remained). This date is very plentiful in most Mint State grades, but type collectors keep the price higher than usual. Numerous Gem examples remain, but Superb examples (those MS66 and better) are very scarce.