US Coins

Market Analysis: Beautiful Barber halves in Heritage Dec. 5 auction

The Barber half dollar series, minted between 1892 and 1915, is challenging to complete, and though it has no significant key dates like the 1901-S Barber quarter dollar in that series, even problem-free Very Fine circulated examples of common date halves can approach $100 in price.

Heritage offered a handsome group of the half dollars at its final U.S. Coin Signature Auction of the year in Dallas, including a beautifully toned 1899-S Barber half dollar graded Mint State 67 by Numismatic Guaranty Corp. that sold for $10,800.

The San Francisco Mint issue is not a rarity in the series until one gets to top grades. This one is among the prettiest, with “lively blue, violet, and reddish-gold toning” on both sides, while “Pearlescent-silver centers provide an attractive contrast to the lustrous patina.” A sole MS-68 example certified by Professional Coin Grading Service is the finest-known; the offered MS-67 half dollar is one of four like-graded coins at NGC.

The typical 1899-S Barber half dollar is boldly struck, with solid luster and nice eye appeal. This one benefits from a nearly complete strike, with only a bit of softness in the right upper portion of the shield on the reverse.

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