Tag Archives: half dollars

Early American Half Dollars for Collectors

At one point in history, the U.S. half dollar was the workhorse of the American economy. Today, these medium-sized coins are highly desirable among many coin collectors. Here’s a short guide to early American half dollars:

Flowing Hair Half Dollars

America’s first half dollar was minted between 1794 and 1795. It’s size and weight were based on the Spanish dollar, which was used frequently in the Americas at this time. The obverse side featured a profile of Liberty with windswept hair. The reverse featured an eagle with wings raised, standing within a wreath. In good condition, Flowing Hair halves can be worth thousands of dollars.


Draped Bust Half Dollars

The Draped Bust half dollar was issued from 1796 to 1807. This piece of ancient coinage included a new rendition of Liberty, with her loose hair tired in a ribbon. On the reverse, beamed a smaller eagle within a wreath. This coin was produced in fairly large numbers, particularly after 1804 when the dollar coin was suspended. By far the most common date of the Draped Bust half dollar is 1806, although, there are a few 1801, 1802 and 1803 coins still circulating today.


Capped Bust Half Dollars

Following the Drapped Bust half dollar was the Capped Bust design. This coin was introduced by Chief Engraver of the U.S. Mint, William Kneass. The Capped Bust series pictured Liberty donning a cloth cap on her head, while the reverse side contained the smaller eagle with a shield. Up until 1836, the edge of the fifty-cent coin featured the denomination. However, partway through 1836 the coin’s edge was replaced with a simpler reeded style.


Liberty Seated Half Dollars

The Seated Liberty design was crafted by noted portraitist Thomas Sully and executed by U.S. Mint engraver Christian Gobrecht. Seated Liberty halves remained in production for more than 50 years, from 1839 through 1891. This series featured Liberty seated on her rock, with a liberty cap on a pole in her hand while the other hand rested on a shield inscribed LIBERTY. The reserve side depicts an eagle clutching an olive brand and arrows. Amid the religious Civil War years, the motto IN GOD WE TRUST was added to the reserve in 1866 and continued through the end of the series.


Barber Half Dollars

Following the Seated Liberty, the U.S. Treasury was looking for a refreshed design. As a result, these Liberty Head half dollars were minted between 1892 and 1916 by Charles Barber. More commonly known as “Barber half dollars,” the obverse side features Liberty’s profile, wearing a cap and laurel wreath on her head. On the reverse is a Heraldic Eagle. Thirteen starts appear on both sides to represent the 13 original colonies.

barber-half-dollarGary Dyner is the owner of Great American Coin Company. Connect with him on


What Are My Coins Worth?

We often get asked the question: “What are my coins worth?” Well, the answer depends on a couple different things. For instance, your coin’s weight, metal composition and base metal prices. We’ve created this guide for people who are unfamiliar with coins but want to find out about certain coin values. Keep in mind, this is just appraisal value. It’s very difficult to tell the actual value of a coin without seeing it in person. The true value of your coin may differ slightly, depending on its condition and the current market.

Indian Penny, 1894Indian Head Cents

The Indian Head one-cent coin was produced by the United States Mint from 1859-1909. Also known as the Indian Penny, this coin displays the head of Liberty wearing a feather head dress of a Native American and the year of production. This copper penny is worth 50 cents to $3.00.

Lincoln Wheat Pennies

Lincoln wheat pennies were produced at three different mints: Philadelphia (no mintmark), Denver (D) and San Francisco (S) from 1909 to 1958. Depending on its condition, this pretty penny is worth between 2 and 5 cents. However, if you come across a very rare 1909-S VDB Lincoln wheat penny, consider yourself lucky. It can be worth between $964 and $2479!

Buffalo Nickels

The Buffalo nickel is a copper five-cent piece produced by the United States Mint from 1913 to 1938. This unique coin contains a Native American on one side and an American bison on the other. Because the coin is subjected to wear, it can be worth 25 cents to $1.00.

Jefferson War Nick1943 Jefferson Silver war nickelels

From 1942 to 1945, nickel was a strategic war material for the United States. During these years, nickels were struck in a copper-silver-manganese alloy. Commonly referred to as “war nickels,” these coins are worth 50 cents to $1.00.

Barber Dimes

Barber dimes were minted between 1892 and 1916. Designed by United States Bureau of the Mint Chief Engraver Charles E. Barber, the term ‘dime’ comes from the French word disme, which literally means, “tenth part.” Made of 90 percent silver, these small coins can range from $1.60 to $5.00.

Roosevelt Dimes Silver

Minted after the 32nd President of the United States, Roosevelt silver dimes were issued between 1946 to 1964. Also made of 90 percent silver, these coins range from $1.50 to $2.00. Roosevelt dimes are still made for circulation by the U.S. Mint today, however, not in silver.

Standing Liberty Quarters

1925 Standing Liberty Quarter FrontProduced by the United States Mint from 1916 to 1930, the Standing Liberty quarter is made of 90 percent silver. This coin displays Liberty carrying an upraised shield in her left hand and an olive branch in her right hand. With the exception of 1923-S Standing Liberty quarters, this coin is worth between $4.00 and $10.00.

Washington Quarters Silver

Minted after the 1st President of the United States, Washington silver quarters were produced from 1932 to 1964. All quarters without mintmarks are made at the main Mint in Philadelphia. Rare mintmarks to look for include Denver (D) and San Francisco (S). Also made of 90 percent silver, this coin can range from $4.00 to $6.00.

Franklin Half Dollars

The Franklin half-dollar was issued by the United States Mint from 1948 to 1963. This fifty-cent piece features Founding Father and inventor, Benjamin Franklin, on the obverse side. The reverse side contains a small eagle to right of the liberty bell. Made of 90 percent silver, this coin is estimated between $7.00 and $15.00.

Kennedy Half DolUSA - Kennedy half dollar.lars Silver

The Kennedy half-dollar was first minted in 1964 as a memorial to the assassinated President John F. Kennedy. This fifty-cent coin is 90 percent silver and worth from $7.00 to $15.00. Between 1965 and 1969, the Kennedy half-dollar was made of 40 percent silver and can range from $3.00-$5.00.

Morgan Dollars

The Morgan dollar was issued by the United States Mint from 1878 to 1904, and then again in 1921. This coin is named after its designer, Assistant Engraver George T. Morgan. Unless you have graciously stumbled upon the 1889‑CC Morgan dollar, which is the most rare of the Carson City Mint Morgans, this coin is worth between $15.00 and $30.00.

Peace Dollars

The Peace Dollar was minted from 1921 to 1928, and again in 1934 and 1935 by the United States Mint. Numismatists began to lobby the Mint to issue a coin that memorialized the peace following World War I. This is the last U.S. dollar coin to be struck for circulation in silver and is worth between $15.00 and $25.00.

Gary Dyner is the owner of Great American Coin Company. Connect with him on