Tag: silver coins

Half Dollars – Draped Bust Small Eagle Half Dollar, 1796-1797

Half Dollars – Draped Bust Small Eagle Half Dollar, 1796-1797

Description: The Draped Bust half dollar was introduced after only two years of production of the previous design. The simple portrait of Liberty on the Flowing Hair type was criticized as being an inappropriate representation, not dignified with her wildly flowing hair more aboriginal than aristocratic. The eagle was especially vilified; one letter writer compared […]

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Half Dollars – Draped Bust Heraldic Eagle Half Dollar, 1801-1807

Half Dollars – Draped Bust Heraldic Eagle Half Dollar, 1801-1807

Description: The Draped Bust Small Eagle half dollar type was minted for two years, as was the Flowing Hair type that preceded it. No half dollars were minted from 1798 through 1800, and when the series resumed in 1801 the design was changed again. The obverse was essentially the same, but the eagle on the […]

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Half Dollars – Capped Bust, Lettered Edge Half Dollar, 1807-1836

Half Dollars – Capped Bust, Lettered Edge Half Dollar, 1807-1836

Description: Two half dollar series are called “Bust Halves”, the earlier Draped Bust type that ended in 1807 and the Capped Bust type that started in 1807 and ended in 1839. Capped Bust halves produced through 1836 have a lettered edge, but in 1836 the edge was changed to the familiar reeded style. Though there […]

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Half Dollars – Capped Bust, Reeded Edge Half Dollar, 1836-1839

Half Dollars – Capped Bust, Reeded Edge Half Dollar, 1836-1839

Description: In 1836 Christian Gobrecht completed work for new Capped Bust half dollar obverse and reverse dies in preparation for the transition from man- or animal-powered coinage presses to new steam-powered presses. The new coins were slightly reduced in weight and diameter, but the most significant change was the use of a restraining collar around […]

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Half Dollars – Liberty Seated Half Dollar, No Motto, No Drapery, 1839

Half Dollars – Liberty Seated Half Dollar, No Motto, No Drapery, 1839

Description: Capped Bust half dollars produced at the end of 1836 were some of the first coins made using new steam coinage presses and a close collar, which restricted expansion of the planchet during striking while at the same time giving a reeded edge to the coin. Capped Bust reeded edge halves were produced for […]

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Half Dollars – Liberty Seated Half Dollar, No Motto, With Drapery, 1839-1866

Half Dollars – Liberty Seated Half Dollar, No Motto, With Drapery, 1839-1866

Description: The Liberty Seated design was first seen on Christian Gobrecht’s silver dollar in 1836, the inaugural year of that three-year type that ended in 1839 (no dollars were produced in 1837). The soaring eagle on the reverse of the dollar was not used on smaller denomination coins, and when the Seated design appeared on […]

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Half Dollars – 1853 Seated Half Dollar – Arrows and Rays

Half Dollars – 1853 Seated Half Dollar – Arrows and Rays

Description: The 1853 is a highly desirable one-year type Seated Half Dollar with arrows at the date and rays on the reverse added to indicate a weight reduction from 13.36 grams to 12.44 grams. While Arrows and Rays Halves are relatively available in the better grades of AU and lower-end Uncirculated, there are very few […]

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Half Dollars – Liberty Seated Half Dollar, Arrows at Date, 1854-1855

Half Dollars – Liberty Seated Half Dollar, Arrows at Date, 1854-1855

Description: The Liberty Seated half dollar series is comprised of several subtypes. Rising silver prices that followed the influx of California gold into the monetary system in the late 1840s and early 1850s created a situation where the bullion value of silver coins was greater than the face value. To halt the melting of silver […]

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Half Dollars – Liberty Seated Half Dollar, Motto, With Drapery, 1866-1891

Half Dollars – Liberty Seated Half Dollar, Motto, With Drapery, 1866-1891

Description: The Civil War ended in May, 1865, with the surrender of the last Confederate troops. President Lincoln had been assassinated the previous month, and the nation was not only mourning his death but also the loss of over 600,000 husbands, sons, brothers, and friends. Twice as many soldiers had been killed by disease rather […]

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Half Dollars – Liberty Seated Half Dollar, Motto, With Drapery, Arrows, 1873-1874

Half Dollars – Liberty Seated Half Dollar, Motto, With Drapery, Arrows, 1873-1874

Description: The Mint Act of February 12, 1873, changed the weight of the half dollar by a minuscule amount, from 12.44 grams to 12.5 grams, in order to apply a metric uniformity to the coin’s weight. An arrow was again added to each side of the date to indicate the changed weight, the same reason […]

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Half Dollars – Barber Half Dollar, 1892-1915

Half Dollars – Barber Half Dollar, 1892-1915

Description: The Mint Act of 1890 allowed for change of coin designs every 25 years, and the dime, quarter, and half dollar were eligible for a redesign in 1891. An initial competition to come up with a new design was opened only to 10 eminent U.S. sculptors, but when those invited presented a list of […]

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Half Dollars – Liberty Walking Half Dollar, 1916-1947

Half Dollars – Liberty Walking Half Dollar, 1916-1947

Description: Charles Barber’s half dollar design was introduced in 1892, a beneficiary of the provision of the Mint Act of 1890 which allowed for the design of a coin to be changed every 25 years. And so it was in 1916 that Barber’s designs for the dime, quarter, and half dollar were also set aside; […]

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Half Dollars – Franklin Half Dollar, 1948-1963

Half Dollars – Franklin Half Dollar, 1948-1963

Description: The half dollar was eligible for a change in the early 1940s based on the Act of September 26, 1890, which specified that a coin design could be modified if it had been in use for a minimum of 25 years. Mint Director Nellie Tayloe Ross was interested in using Benjamin Franklin’s image on […]

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Half Dollars – Kennedy Half Dollar, Silver, 1964

Half Dollars – Kennedy Half Dollar, Silver, 1964

Description: Within a few days of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963, Mint Director Eva Adams notified Chief Engraver Gilroy Roberts of the Treasury Department’s intent to place Kennedy’s portrait on one of the U.S. silver coins. The tragic death of the dynamic and popular President was to result in […]

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Dollars – Flowing Hair Dollar, 1794-1795

Dollars – Flowing Hair Dollar, 1794-1795

Description: The dollar was authorized by the Mint Act of April 2, 1792, although production of the coins did not happen until November, 1794. The primary reason for the delay was the excessive bonding requirement specified by Congress: $10,000 apiece for the chief coiner and assayer, each of whose pay was $1,500 per year. Mint […]

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Dollars – Draped Bust Dollar, Small Eagle, 1795-1798

Dollars – Draped Bust Dollar, Small Eagle, 1795-1798

Description: The year 1795 was the second year of U.S. silver dollar production, and the coins produced were both the earlier Flowing Hair type and the newer Draped Bust type. The obverse was by Robert Scot, and though the Liberty portrait was used on the fractional copper and silver coins as well, it first appeared […]

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Dollars – Draped Bust Dollar, Heraldic Eagle, 1798-1804

Dollars – Draped Bust Dollar, Heraldic Eagle, 1798-1804

Description: Two reverse designs were used on 1798 dollars. The first displayed a smaller eagle surrounded by a wreath, the second a larger eagle in a style that copied the heraldry of the Great Seal of the United States. This second style also appeared on dimes in 1798, but not on half dimes until 1800, […]

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Dollars – Gobrecht Dollar 1836-1839

Dollars – Gobrecht Dollar 1836-1839

Description: The suspension of silver dollar production was lifted in 1831 under Mint Director Samuel Moore, enabling resumption of the mintage of a coin not made in this country since 1804. It wasn’t until 1835 however, under Mint Director Robert M. Patterson, that efforts to actually produce the coin moved forward. The dollar was considered […]

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Dollars – Liberty Seated Dollar No Motto, 1840-1866

Dollars – Liberty Seated Dollar No Motto, 1840-1866

Description: In the 1840 reelection campaign of president Martin Van Buren the phrase “O.K.” came into use, derived from the “Old Kinderhook” nickname that was in reference to his Kinderhook, New York birthplace. Despite the positive connotation today, the times were anything but OK. Concerned about the growing use of state bank notes to pay […]

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Dollars – Liberty Seated Dollar With Motto, 1866-1873

Dollars – Liberty Seated Dollar With Motto, 1866-1873

Description: The With Motto Seated dollar was the third of the type, following both the initial Gobrecht dollar with its dramatic soaring eagle on the reverse, and the No Motto Liberty dollar. As the nation moved closer to open conflict in the early 1860’s, Treasury Secretary Salmon P. Chase received a suggestion from a Pennsylvania […]

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Dollars – Trade Dollar, 1873-1885

Dollars – Trade Dollar, 1873-1885

Description: Though Gobrecht/Liberty Seated dollars were the first silver dollars produced for domestic use since 1804, most did not extensively circulate but were instead sent overseas as bullion. However, the U.S. dollar was devalued for that use because it was lighter in weight than competing Spanish or Mexican dollars. The problem was addressed by Congress […]

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Dollars – Morgan Dollar, 1878-1921

Dollars – Morgan Dollar, 1878-1921

Description: Though it might seem to be a modern phenomenon, the problem of uncirculating dollar coins has a long history. The metal value of these large silver coins often lead to them being melted as bullion rather than being spent for everyday commerce. In 1873 Congress responded to this recurring issue by suspending production of […]

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Dollars – 1921 Peace Dollar – High Relief

Dollars – 1921 Peace Dollar – High Relief

Description: The Peace Dollar is a silver United States dollar coin minted from 1921 to 1928, then again in 1934 and 1935. Early proposals for the coin called for a commemorative issue to coincide with the end of World War I, but the Peace Dollar was issued as a circulating coin. The original inspiration for […]

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