Expert Comments

Ron Guth

The 1859-S had the lowest mintage of any Half Dollar produced at any of the U.S. Mints (New Orleans produced the most Half Dollars, followed by Philadelphia, then San Francisco).  Even so, the mintage was substantial enough to make the 1859-S Half Dollar reasonably common today, but because most of the coins were dumped into circulation on the West Coast -- where they were sorely needed -- far fewer were saved by collectors in nice condition.  The most frequently-seen Mint State grade is MS64 and Gems are very rare.  However, there are two standouts, both of which were once owned by Louis Eliasberg, and both of which were subsequently graded MS68 by PCGS.

Diameter
30.00 millimeters
Designer
Thomas Sully/Christian Gobrecht
Edge
Reeded
Mintage
566000
Weight
12.40 grams
Metal Content
90% Silver, 10% Copper
Country
The United States of America
Pop Higher
44
Pop Lower
146
Price Guide
PCGS Population
Auctions - PCGS Graded
Auctions - NGC Graded

Rarity and Survival Estimates

Grades
65 or Better 150 R-7.5 6 / 66 7 / 126 TIE
All Grades 50 R-8.5 32 / 66 TIE 51 / 126 TIE
60 or Better 6 R-9.7 22 / 66 TIE 41 / 126 TIE

Condition Census

Pos Grade Thumbnail Pedigree and History
1 MS68 PCGS grade

John G. Mills Collection - S.H. & H. Chapman 4/1904 - J. M. Clapp Collection - John M. Clapp Collection, sold intact in 1942 - Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr. - Bowers & Merena 4/1997:1980 - Goldbergs 2/2002:1015, $52,900 - Stack's/Bowers 11/2012:3145, not sold - Stack's/Bowers 6/2014:1438, $82,250

1 MS68 PCGS grade

Harlan P. Smith Collection - S.H. & H. Chapman 5/1906:708, $2.80 - John H. Clapp Collection, sold intact in 1942 - Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr. Collection - Bowers & Merena 4/1997:1981, $52,800 - Stellar Collection - Joseph O'Connor, sold privately in 6/2003 - Eugene H. Gardner Collection, Part III - Heritage 5/2015:98478, $47,000

3 MS66+ PCGS grade
4 MS66 PCGS grade MS66 PCGS grade

D.L. Hansen Collection

5 MS65 PCGS grade MS65 PCGS grade

Heritage 3/2016:4903, $7,637.50