90% Silver Half Dollar

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Half Dollar History

Half Dollars are an important denomination in US Coinage and have their origin as far back as the US Mint itself. Also referred to as the fifty-cent piece, the value of the Half Dollar is half of one dollar. It is the second largest US coin in circulation at present. The half dollar has traveled a long distance and has featured several beautiful designs throughout the history.

Dollar Timeline

The first US Mint was established in 1792 in Philadelphia, and the first silver half dollar was released in 1794,  the Flowing Hair Half Dollar. Below is the list of Half Dollars struck throughout the history of the US Mint, along with their starting and ending dates of production.

  • Flowing Hair (1794 – 1795)
  • Draped Bust (1796–1807)
  • Draped Bust, Small Eagle (1796–1797)
  • Draped Bust, Heraldic Eagle (1801–1807)
  • Capped Bust (1807–1839)
  • Capped Bust (Large Size), With Motto (1807–1836)
  • Capped Bust (Small Size), No Motto (1836–1839)
  • Seated Liberty (1839–1891)
  1. Seated Liberty, No Motto (1839–1866)
  2. Seated Liberty, With Motto (1866–1891)
  • Barber 1892–1915
  • Walking Liberty 1916–1947
  • Franklin 1948–1963
  • Kennedy 1964 (90% silver)  
  • Kennedy 1992–present (silver proof sets)

40% silver half dollars

  • Kennedy 1965–1969
  • Kennedy 1970 (collector sets only)
  • Kennedy 1976 (only collector sets produced with 40% silver)

Copper-nickel clad half dollars

  • Kennedy 1971–1974, 1977–1986, 1988–2001 (general circulation issues)
  • Kennedy 1987, 2002–present (collectors only)
  • Kennedy Bicentennial 1975–1976 (all dated 1776–1976)

Metal Composition of Half Dollars

  • The coins between 1794 – 1965 have 90% silver and 10% copper
  • The coins from 1965-1976 have 40% Silver.
  • Since 1971, there have been copper-nickel clad half dollars in circulation.

In the early 1960's when the price of silver started rising, people began to hoard silver coins that were in circulation which led to a shortage in circulation coins. When this pattern did not end, the government introduced the Coinage Act of 1965 to reduce the silver content from 90% silver and 10% copper to 40% silver and 60% copper. When there was no improvement of circulation coins available even after this act, as people were still hoarding the Kennedy 1/2 Dollar for its 40% silver content, in 1971, the US Mint introduced half dollars made from a combination of copper and nickel.

The US Mint stopped the production of 1/2 dollars for circulation and began to produce them only for collectors in  2002.

Popular Half Dollars

Half Dollars are one of the most popular coins among collectors. Since their inception through their cease of production, 1/2 Dollars have featured exceptional artwork and craftsmanship, which is why numismatic collectors love to collect these coins. Their fascinating history, their aesthetic appeal, and their silver content make them an attractive non-bullion investment. Although we are not mentioning all the 1/2 Dollars, we are mentioning some of the famous 1/2 Dollars throughout history below: The following is a non-comprehensive list of some of the most famous 1/2 Dollars throughout history:

  • Barber Half Dollars

One popular coin that collectors seek, the Barber Half Dollar was minted from 1892–1916. Lady Liberty, with her crown fashioned from olive branches, looks stunning on the obverse. The coin was designed by Charles Barber and met with mixed reviews when it was released. Although the numismatists of that time were displeased with the coin's design, today, numismatists strive to collect these coins. The coin's composition is 90% silver and 10% copper.

  • Walking Liberty Half Dollars

Walking Liberty Half Dollars put US Coinage on the map. The exceptional craftsmanship of its designer, Adolph A. Weinman, is credited with its artistically luxurious design. The intricately detailed design is aesthetically appealing and has been appreciated by numismatists since its inception.

  • Franklin Half Dollars

Featuring a non-resident for the first time, the obverse of the coin features a profile portrait of Benjamin Franklin, one of the Founding Fathers of America. Franklin Half Dollars are sought after not just by investors but also by collectors because this short-listed series was only issued from 1948 to 1963. Crafted from 90% silver and 10% copper, it broke the usual norms of US Mint of portraying only former presidents on half dollar coins.

  • Kennedy Half Dollar

Released a short while after the assassination of the beloved American president, John F. Kennedy, everybody wanted to own this coin in his memory, which led to a shortage of half-dollars in circulation. Only in the initial year of its release, 1964, did this coin have 90% silver content. When the silver price started rising, and with more and more people hoarding this coin leading to the shortage of circulation coins, the government minted Kennedy Half Dollars made of 40% silver and 60% copper between 1965 and 1969.

Impressive Shopping Options

Keeping in mind different client needs, we carry an array of 1/2 Dollar options. There are certified coins for collectors and bags and rolls of coins of different face value for investors to choose from. Our wide selection is made available to match budgets of all sizes.

Investing in Half Dollars

Since 1/2 dollars were less circulated compared to dimes and quarters, they experience less wear and tear,  hence a bag full of half dollars can yield a little bit more silver than the same weight of dimes or quarters can produce. Half dollars often cost a small sum more than dimes or quarters because their production was lower, but they make a worthwhile investment for a few reasons.  Firstly, because they are legal tender of the USA, they are widely recognized and hence easy to liquefy. Additionally, a bag of half dollars adds impressive divisibility to any investment portfolio. Finally, silver not only diversifies an investment portfolio but also stabilizes it.