Expert Comments

Ron Guth

In 1870, employees at the San Francisco Mint produced over one million Half Dollars.  This was larger than the Half Dollar production at the Philadelphia and Carson City Mints combined.  Nonetheless, because of the great distance between the San Francisco Mint and collectors back East, very few 1870-S Half Dollars ended up in collections.  This is best illustrated by comparing the 1870-S with the 1871, which has a slightly larger mintage than the 1870-S.  However, far more Uncirculated examples of the 1871 have survived compared with the 1870-S.  This large discrepancy can be attributed to the presence of far more collectors surrounding the Philadelphia Mint.

Less than two dozen Mint State 1870-S Half Dollars exist.  Most grade MS62.  Gems are extremely rare and none are known above MS65.

30.00 millimeters
Thomas Sully/Christian Gobrecht
12.40 grams
Metal Content
90% Silver, 10% Copper
The United States of America
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Price Guide
PCGS Population
Auctions - PCGS Graded
Auctions - NGC Graded

Rarity and Survival Estimates

65 or Better 400 R-6.2 9 / 45 21 / 126 TIE
All Grades 25 R-9.0 8 / 45 29 / 126 TIE
60 or Better 3 R-9.8 3 / 45 TIE 18 / 126 TIE

Condition Census

Pos Grade Thumbnail Pedigree and History
1 MS65 PCGS grade

Usibelli Collection - Heritage 1/2014:5255, $67,562.50

1 MS65 PCGS grade

Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr. - Bowers & Merena 4/1997:2013 - Richard Genaitis Collection - Heritage 10/2001:6991 - Eugene H. Gardner Collection - Heritage 10/2014:98510, $55,812.50

3 MS64 PCGS grade MS64 PCGS grade

Dick Osburn Collection - Stack's/Bowers 8/2011:7102, $34,500

3 MS64 PCGS grade
3 MS64 estimated grade