Value of a Seated Liberty Half Dollar

Value of Seated Liberty Half Dollars:

When it was first minted and released for circulation in 1839, the Seated Liberty Half Dollar was not met with an enthusiastic reception. Instead, these silver half dollars failed to create any spark amongst collectors and were used just as normal circulation coins of the time. Skip ahead 172 years to 2011, and we all wish that more of these unique half dollars were collected and preserved. Since a majority of these half dollars were released and used in circulation frequently, there are very few surviving specimens of Mint state condition. That alone translates into high numismatic values for Seated Liberty Half Dollars that have survived in near perfect condition. Covered in this article are a history, composition and values for the Seated Liberty Half Dollars.

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1842 Seated Liberty Half Dollar Medium Date. Photo Courtesy: coinpage.com
1842 Seated Liberty Half Dollar Medium Date. Photo Courtesy: coinpage.com

History of the Liberty Seated Half Dollar:

  • As a replacement for the Capped Bust Half Dollar, the Liberty Seated Half Dollar was first released for circulation in 1839. During this year, the initial half dollars depicted a portrait of Liberty wearing drapery that did not hang from the elbow of the arm holding the flag. Later that same year, the design was changed to depict drapery hanging from the elbow. This design is known as Variety 1.
  • In 1853, there were two additions to the design of the Liberty Seated Half Dollar. On the obverse of the coins, on either side of the date, arrowheads were added. The other addition was done to the reverse of the coins where rays were added behind the eagle. This style is known as Variety 2.
  • For the years of 1854-1855, Liberty Seated Half Dollars remained minted with the arrows, but the rays around the eagle were removed. These coins are known as Variety 3.
  • For the years of 1856-1866, the design was changed back to exhibit no arrows or rays. These coins were minted to the same specifics of the Variety 1 half dollars.
  • In the year 1866, the Motto, ‘In God We Trust’ was added to the reverse of the coin. It was prominently featured above the reverse eagle.
  • The final change to the Liberty Seated Half Dollar came in 1873 when arrows were added back to either side of the date. This was done to show that the Half Dollars were heavier, weighing in at 12.5 Grams instead of 12.44 Grams. In 1875, these arrows were again removed and the half dollar continued its regular mintage until 1891.

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Seated Liberty Half Dollar Reverse. Photo Courtesy: coinpage.com
Seated Liberty Half Dollar Reverse. Photo Courtesy: coinpage.com

Composition and Melt Value of Liberty Seated Half Dollars:

1839-1853 and 1856-1866

  • Weight – 13.36 Grams
  • Metal Composition – 90% Silver, 10% Copper
  • Melt Value – $17.04

1853-1855 and 1866-1873

  • Weight – 12.44 Grams
  • Metal Composition – 90% Silver, 10% Copper
  • Melt Value – $15.87

1873-1891

  • Weight – 12.50 Grams
  • Metal composition – 90% Silver, 10% Copper
  • Melt Value – $15.95

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Value of Liberty Seated Half Dollars:

Although Liberty Seated Half Dollars were met with mixed reactions, today they have become highly collected and have a huge demand. On top of high demand for collectors, other factors such as the price of silver, has helped to ensure top prices for these half dollars. Shown below is a list of values for key and semi key dates from the Liberty Seated Half Dollar collection.

When it comes to your Liberty Seated Half Dollar value, the condition of your coin is extremely important. If you’re unsure of how to tell the condition of your coin, familiarizing yourself with the Coin Grading Scale is a great start.

1855 O Seated Liberty Half Dollar Arrows at Date. Photo Courtesy: coinpage.com
1855 O Seated Liberty Half Dollar Arrows at Date. Photo Courtesy: coinpage.com

Numismatic vs. Melt Value:

During the recent uptick of silver prices, many people are handing over their silver coins for cash, but is it worth it? For Liberty seated Half Dollars, the answer is no. These silver half dollars are so uncommon that even the most common date in rough G-4 condition will pull a numismatic (collectors) value double that of the current silver prices.

Key Date Liberty Seated Half Dollars:

  • 1842O – Small date, Small letters. Valued at $600-25,000+
  • 1850 – Valued at $250-4,000.
  • 1851 – Valued at $300-3,000
  • 1852 – Valued at $400-2,000+
  • 1855S – Valued at $350-15,000+
  • 1886 – No Motto. Valued at $250-10,000
  • 1870CC – Valued at $900-25,000+
  • 1873 – Open 3. Valued at $2,900-15,000+
  • 1874CC – Valued at $400-19,000
  • 1878CC – Valued at $400-20,000
  • 1878S – Valued at $15,000-100,000+
  • 1879 – Valued at $275-1,100
  • 1880 – Valued at $275-1,100
  • 1881 – Valued at $275-1,100
  • 1882 – Valued at $275-1,100
  • 1883 – Valued at $275-1,100
  • 1884 – Valued at $325-1,100
  • 1885 – Valued at $400-1,200
  • 1887 – Valued at $500-1,500
  • 1888 – Valued at $275-1,100
  • 1889 – Valued at $275-1,100
  • 1890 – Valued at $295-1,100

Semi Key Date Liberty Half Dollars:

  • 1840 – Medium Letters. Valued at $150-6,000+
  • 1852O – Valued at $100-7,000+
  • 1871CC – Valued at $200-40,000+
  • 1872CC – Valued at $100-30,000+
  • 1873CC – Valued at $175-45,000+
  • 1873CC – With Rays & Arrows. Valued at $150-15,000+

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As seen from above, there is great value to be had within the Seated Liberty Half Dollar Collection. Thank you for reading my hub, and if you're still interested in just more than the value of Seated Liberty Half Dollars, I've included my other articles on United States Coinage.

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Comments 2 comments

Alladream74 profile image

Alladream74 5 years ago from Oakland, California

Very interesting information on coin collection.Thanks


BJC profile image

BJC 4 years ago from Florida

I know very little about coin collecting :( However, my dad was an avid collector and perusing through your hubs took me down memory lane - thanks for the journey.

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