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Introduction


Half dollar coins, or 50 cents pieces as commonly called, have been produced nearly every year since the inception of the United States Mint in 1794. The US cent is the only coin produced more consistently than half dollar.

Despite hardly seen today, half dollar coins saw heavy throughout our history.  Just try finding a Barber Half Dollar in a condition better than VG.  Early Walking Liberty Halves are also typically quite worn.

Today, the half dollar is seldom used.  Most cash drawers no longer have a slot for them and sadly, if you have some and try to spend them, many younger cashiers will give them an odd look and ask their manager what it is.  I know as I will spend clad half dollars.

The death of the half dollar began in 1964 due to the assination of President John Kennedy in 1963.  So popular was the president, that there was action to immediately put his likeness of a coin.  The half dollar was chosen and when released in 1964, the coin was heavily hoarded.  In 1965, the dime and quarter changed to a clad composition while the Kennedy Half Dollar retained some silver going from 90% to 40%.  Of course these were hoarded as well.  Beginning in 1971, the Kennedy Half Dollar went to the clad composition, and millions upon millions were produced.  But by then the most consumers were used to life without the 50 cent piece and slowly vending machines, etc no longer accepted them and saldy, use of the half dollar slowly faded away.   Today, half dollars are only produced for Mint and Proof Sets. 

Recent Half Dollar Articles