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Coin and Paper Money Collecting/$5 gold mintages and pricing


Hello Mr. Hylas,

I just stopped by at my local coin dealer and he had a beautiful rack of ms63 NGC graded $5 half eagles (no key dates)

He was selling them $700 a piece. I bought the earliest (and best looking) one he had. It was an 1881P.

I just looked at the mintages and see 5million+ were minted

I'm pretty confused, should I not have bought it due to such a high mintage compared to some of the others as low as 1million mintages, or are they equally as rare in MS63 grade.

They all costed the same, but some had 1/5 the numbers!

If they are equally as rare in MS63 grade, what caused this?

Does this mean that the other coins I could've got for a same price could go higher in value while my 1881 P remains lower?

Should I sell it back for a different date?

If you have any charts/info of MS63 $5 specimens left, please show me!

Thanks so much,


Hi Paul,

You can easily check the rarity of these coins by going to either the NGC website or the PCGS website.  Simply look at how many were graded in the particular grade you are looking to purchase.
Just because one coin has a higher mintage is not always indicative of the rarity.  Particular years may have a high original mintage but were later melted in quantity.  Other low mintage years may have been preserved better.

It's all about the surviving population, not the original mintage.  Look at both sights, not just oe, for a comprehensive idea of surviving populations for each year, then choose.

Good Luck!

Joe Hylas

Coin and Paper Money Collecting

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Joe Hylas


Numismatic professional with over 30 years experience can answer your questions about US coins, their values, how best to sell them and where to buy them. Interested in starting a collection? Find out which areas are undervalued and how to acquire those coins at the best price.


Ex-Head Precious Metals trader for Deak-Perera International with 42 offices worldwide. Industry experience since 1978. Has worked co-operatively with US Mint, Royal Canadian Mint, Austrian Mint, Chamber of Mines of South Africa, World Gold Council and Platinum Guild International. Professioanl numismatist specializing in US Coins. Always buying collections, will travel if size of collection warrants. Website: www.AllCoins.US

PCGS, NGC, Rotary

Physician's Money Digest

Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration

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Paul Harris Fellow

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