Expert Comments

Ron Guth

Of all the coins made by the San Francisco mint in 1861, the Half Dollar had the highest mintage (the only other coin that came close was the 1861-S $20 gold piece).  However, this fact does not make the 1861-S Half Dollar necessarily rare.  Compared with other Civil War-era Half Dollars, the 1861-S is not as scarce as the 1864-S or the 1865-S, but nowhere near as common as the 1861 or 1861-O. 

Of the roughly three dozen Mint State examples certified by PCGS (as of October 2011), the most frequently-encountered grade is MS-64.  Gem 1861-S Half Dollars are very rare; the finest known is a single PCGS MS-66.

 

Diameter
30.00 millimeters
Designer
Thomas Sully/Christian Gobrecht
Edge
Reeded
Mintage
939500
Weight
12.40 grams
Metal Content
90% Silver, 10% Copper
Region
The United States of America
Pop Higher
36
Pop Lower
161
Price Guide
PCGS Population
Auctions - PCGS Graded
Auctions - NGC Graded

Rarity and Survival Estimates

Grades
65 or Better 550 R-5.9 26 / 66 47 / 126
All Grades 60 R-8.4 38 / 66 TIE 62 / 126 TIE
60 or Better 6 R-9.7 22 / 66 TIE 41 / 126 TIE

Condition Census

Pos Grade Thumbnail Pedigree and History
1 MS66 PCGS grade
2 MS66 estimated grade
3 MS65 PCGS grade
3 MS65 PCGS grade
3 MS65 PCGS grade