Half Dollar Coin HistoryThe extensive history of the U.S. Halves dates back as far as the 1700s. In 1794, it began with the Flowing Hair Half Dollar, created by Robert Scot. In addition to the Flowing Hair, Scot designed the Draped Bust. The Draped Bust type has two distinct styles, the Small Eagle reverse and the Heraldic Eagle reverse. In 1807, John Reich designed the Capped Bust design that is incredibly popular with collectors today.
Popular Half Dollar CoinsIn 1836, Christian Gobrecht designed the Reeded Edge Half Dollar, the first U.S. coin made for circulation on the new steam press instead of the then-dated manual screw press. The steam press ensured that each coin received the same strike and diameter every time a press was made. The demise of the Reeded Edge fifty-cent piece in 1839 brought rise to the Liberty Seated Halves, a coin that stayed in production until 1891. The Liberty Seated Halves were the last denomination to bear Lady Liberty who was seated upon a rock, holding a shield in her right hand and a pole with a liberty cap in her left hand. By popular demand to replace the Liberty Seated Half Dollar, a competition was held to design the next coin in 1891. However, the judges of the competition deemed that no design was worthy of the honor. Later that year, Mint Chief Engraver Charles E. Barber designed the Barber Half.
Invest in Walking Liberty Coins1916 brought forth the Walking Liberty Half Dollar. Designed by Adolph A. Weinman, many believed the Walking Liberty Half Dollar to be America’s most beautiful Silver coin. However, the elegant design of Lady Liberty walking towards the sun eventually proved difficult to strike, triggering the mint to create a new coin, the Franklin Half Dollar. In 1948, The Franklin Half Dollar was coined. The Franklin Halves were significant because it was the first to place a portrait of an influential figure in American history on the obverse of the coin.
Kennedy Half Dollar CoinsFinally, the last and current coin minted is the Kennedy Half Dollar. After Kennedy had fallen in 1963, the public cried out for a coin to honor his legacy. As a result, the U.S. Mint produced the Kennedy Halves. The Kennedy Halve is significant because it is the last half dollar with a composition of 90% Silver. In early 1964, the public began hoarding Kennedy Halves as a memento of the late president and, consequently, the U.S. Mint adjusted the composition of the coin to 40% Silver and 60% copper clad in 1965 and eventually a copper-nickel clad with no Silver in 1971. A 1971 Half may not have as much monetary value as one previous to 1965 but it has tremendous historical significance and value. In 1992, Kennedy Halves were once again purchasable at its original 90% Silver composition to the general public. To this day, Kennedy Halves and other half dollars are highly sought after by collectors everywhere.
How Much is a Half Dollar Coin Worth?A contemporary half is worth its face value of fifty cents. Older half dollars have a greater value based on their Silver content, and certain half dollars have numismatic value. There are several half dollar coins from which to choose at APMEX at competitive prices. You can see the estimated coin values of Halves, and many others to empower your purchasing decision.
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Last Updated: 3/18/2019 1:55:44 PM ET
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