Half Dollars – 1853 Seated Half Dollar – Arrows and Rays

The 1853 is a highly desirable one-year type Seated Half Dollar with arrows at the date and rays on the reverse added to indicate a weight reduction from 13.36 grams to 12.44 grams.

While Arrows and Rays Halves are relatively available in the better grades of AU and lower-end Uncirculated, there are very few truly Gem, upper-end Mint State examples known.


Photos used with permission and courtesy of Heritage Auction Galleries

When vast quantities of California gold began arriving in the nation’s commercial centers, the overwhelming new supplies made silver overpriced in relation to gold or other currencies. The silver content of the nation’s coins exceeded their face value, leading to wholesale meltings. To alleviate the situation, the silver content of the nation’s minor coinage was somewhat lessened, to an amount less than their face value, indicated by arrows at the date and rays on the reverse. (Neophyte collectors sometimes believe that the 1873 Arrows coinage shows a further silver reduction, but in fact the opposite is true.)


Designer: Obverse by Thomas Sully, modified by Christian Gobrecht and Robert Ball Hughes, Reverse by Christian Gobrecht
Mintage: 3,532,708 and 10 Proofs
Denomintion: Half Dollar
Diameter: ±30 millimeters
Metal content: 90% Silver – 10% Copper
Weight: ±192 grains (±12.4 grams)
Edge: Reeded

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