Despite wear, key 1878-S Seated Liberty half tops $19,000: Market Analysis

A few eye-catching lots at Heritage's ANA National Money Show auctions
By , Coin World
Published : 03/17/16
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An 1842 Seated Liberty, Small Date quarter dollar graded Proof 64 Cameo by Numismatic Guaranty Corp. sold for $88,125 and was the top lot at Heritage’s March 3 to 6 auctions held during the American Numismatic Association National Money Show in the auction firm’s hometown of Dallas. The rarity previously brought $126,500 when offered at Heritage’s April 19, 2008, Central States Numismatic Society auction and is one of just six confirmed examples. In total the auction brought more than $8 million.

Here is one of three other lots that caught my eye.

The Coin:

1878-S Seated Liberty half dollar, AG-3

The Price:


The Story:

The 1878-S Seated Liberty half dollar is a key to the entire Seated Liberty series with the common obverse design by Christian Gobrecht which includes silver half dimes, dimes, quarter dollars, half dollars, and dollars. The 20-cent piece has a similar design and is sometimes collected among the rest of the Seated Liberty series.

COIN VALUES: What your 1878-S Seated Liberty half dollar worth?

The 1878-S half dollar is rare because of its low mintage of just 12,000 pieces, of which today perhaps 60 or so examples are known in all grades. In the 1870s collectors hadn’t caught on to collecting coins by Mint marks, so few were saved at the time of issue and today most examples are well worn, such as the one that sold on March 4.

Graded About Good 3 by Professional Coin Grading Service, it had wear consistent with the grade, with design details merging into the rim, and LIBERTY on the shield worn smooth. Despite the wear, it had no other major problems and a bidder paid $19,975 for the tough San Francisco Mint half dollar.

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