Silver Half Dollars

Silver Half Dollars

1892-1915 Barber Half Dollar

We pay $7.50 for most scrap Barber Half Dollars in good condition. However, some Barber Half Dollars are worth much more and we will inspect your Barber Half Dollars to tell you if it is a rare and valuable coin. For example, “S” mint coins are highly prized by collectors. Find an 1904-S, 1901-S or 1907-S in good condition and it is worth hundreds. Better preserved examples, in higher “Grades” are easily worth thousands.

This page will give you an approximate value of your Barber Half Dollarsminted from 1892 to 1915. If your Barber Half Dollar is worn due to being used in commerce, it is considered “circulated.” If it was never circulated, then it is classified as “uncirculated.” Some Barber Half Dollars are very valuable even in well worn condition and you will not increase a coin’s value by cleaning it. In fact, cleaned Barber Half Dollars are worth considerably less. Coin dealers will recognize a Barber Half Dollars that has been cleaned immediately. Therefore, never clean your Barber Half Dollars!

Market Analysis

Barber Half Dollars are moderately collected and demand tends to be fairly steady. Therefore, values and prices for lower end circulated Barber Half Dollars also tend to be fairly stable. But don’t expect to walk in to a coin shop with a cigar box of Barber Half Dollars from your grandfather and have the coin dealer dig through them to pull out the nice ones. If you want top dollar for your Barber Half Dollars, you need to sort them and organize them so the dealer can quickly see what you have.

Key Dates, Rarities and Varieties

The following Barber Half Dollars in any condition, are worth considerable more than common Barber Half Dollars. As such, these coins are occasionally counterfeited or altered from common Barber half dollars. Therefore, before you start celebrating your new found fortune, have the following coins authenticated by a reputable coin dealer or third party grading service. 1892-O 1892-S 1893-S 1897-O 1897-S 1904-S 1914

Mint Marks

Barber Half Dollars were produced at four different mints: Philadelphia (no mint mark), Denver (D), New Orleans (O) and San Francisco (S). The mint mark is located on the reverse of the coin, just below the eagles tail feathers and above the “D” in DOLLAR.

10 Most Valuable Barber Half Dollars

Below is a list of the most valuable Barber Half Dollars in order from highest to lowest value (Updated: 2014). Barber Half Dollarsin great condition is hard to come by. The stats below are based off of Barbers in good to great condition. Coins not in such a condition should be discounted by a percentage. 1.1904 S Barber Half Dollar – Worth $19,850 2.1901 S Barber Half Dollar – Worth $8,350 3.1907 S Barber Half Dollar – Worth $6,650 4.1901 O Barber Half Dollar – Worth $6,000 5.1896 O Barber Half Dollar – Worth $5,650 6.1893 S Barber Half Dollar – Worth $4,600 7.1904 O Barber Half Dollar – Worth $4,050 8.1897 O Barber Half Dollar – Worth $4,000 9.1897 S Barber Half Dollar – Worth $4,000 10.1902 O Barber Half Dollar – Worth $3,850


1916-1947 Walking Liberty Half Dollar

By comparison, a bag of pre-1965 90% silver dimes or quarters will yield about 715 ounces of silver when smelted. Further, a $1,000 face bag of circulated pre-1965 U.S. 90% silver dimes or quarters weighs right at 55 pounds on a bathroom scale, whereas a bag of half dollars weighs a little more than 55 pounds.

All pre-1965 half dollars (Walking Liberty, Franklin, and Kennedy) carry higher premiums than dimes and quarters for several reasons. One, half dollars suffered less wear than dimes and quarters; therefore, half-dollars will yield a few more ounces of silver when smelted. When silver prices are low, those few more ounces are of little importance. But, as silver prices move higher, the additional ounces become more significant.

The main reason half dollars sell at premiums to dimes and quarters is that half dollars are more popular with silver investors. Half dollars are more popular for a couple of reasons. One, the Mint turned out far fewer half dollars than dimes and quarters; two, $1,000 face in half dollars is easier to count than dimes and quarters. Another possible reason for the half-dollar’s popularity is that they approach in size the immensely popular American silver dollars.

Walking Liberty halves: Investor Favorites

Walking Liberty halves are favored over Franklin half dollars and Kennedy half dollars because fewer Walking Liberty half dollars exist. (Despite approximately 477 million Walking Liberty halves being minted, they are relatively scarce today.) Franklin and Kennedy half-dollars are generally always available for purchase. Bags of Walking Liberty halves are not always available.

Finally, and it almost goes without saying, Walking Liberty half-dollars are popular because of the Walking Liberty on the front of the coins and the imposing American eagle that stands magnificently on the back of the coins. The Walking Liberty design is such a favorite that the U.S. Mint selected the Walking Liberty to grace the Mint’s Silver Eagles, when they were introduced in 1986. Silver Eagles are the world’s best selling 1-oz. government-minted pure silver coins, with more than 165 million having been sold.

Although Walking Liberty half dollars show considerable wear, they still have visible dates. (Coins that have lost their dates are sent to a refinery, where they are refined and converted into pure silver for other uses.)


1948-1963 Franklin Half Dollar

Franklin half dollars are silver half dollars that offer a pure silver play with the kick of coins, which can pick up premiums in markets with heavy public participation. Franklin half dollars bear likeness of Benjamin Franklin, hence their names. The reverse carries the image of the Liberty Bell.

Ben Franklin half dollars are 90% silver and 10% copper. Each coin, when minted, contained 0.36169 ounce of silver. A bag ($1,000 face — 2,000 coins) of circulated Franklin half dollarsweighs right at 55 pounds on a bathroom scale and will yield 718-720 ounces of silver if smelted. Between 1948 and1963, the U.S. Mint produced approximately 309.4 million Benjamin Franklin half dollars.

Silver Half Dollar Market

In the 1970s, investors who bought circulated silver half dollars received mixes of Franklin half dollars, Kennedy, and Walking Liberty half dollars , but mostly Franklin and Kennedy coins. Generally, bags of silver half dollars carried no premiums over dimes and quarters, as all pre-1965 U.S. 90% silver coins were abundant.

By the 1980s, the smelting of 90% coins became commonplace. Still, bags of 90% silver coins were plentiful. Yet following the 1980s melt, silver half dollarssometimes picked up premiums over dimes and quarters.

During the 1990s, after a decade of heavy smelting of 90% coins, silver half dollars often sold at premiums to dimes and quarters. When silver half dollarsdidn’t sell at premiums to dimes and quarters in ’90s, it was during periods of little interest in silver, such as in the early 1990s before silver enjoyed a run-up.

Silver Half Dollar Premiums

Y2K buying in 1999 put premiums on all 90% silver coins, and silver half dollars sold at solid premiums over dimes and quarters. However, during the Y2K wash-out in 2000 and early 2001, when people who had bought in 1999 began dumping, silver half dollars did not carry premiums.

People who bought because of Y2K did so because they feared a collapse of the world’s economy, not because of silver’s supply/demand fundamentals or because they knew the dangers of paper money and wanted an alternative. So, when Y2K became a nonevent, 90% silver coins poured into the market. That selling, however, was short lived.

By 2001, silver half dollars began picking up premiums over dimes and quarters. By summer 2002, a strong demand for silver half dollars caused them to be separated into bags of Franklin, Kennedy, and Walking Liberty silver half dollars. Walking Liberty silver half dollars picked up the largest premiums followed by the Franklin half dollars, and then the ’64 Kennedy half dollars.

Basically, investors who buy bags of junk U.S. 90% silver coins are making silver bullion investments. However, certain types of 90% silver coins have the potential to pick up premiums when the public comes heavily to the silver market. Franklin half dollars are among those special coins.

Ben Franklin Half Dollars are unique

Ben Franklin half dollars are unique because they were minted using only 90% silver. This is true also for Walking Liberty silver half dollars and Mercury dimes. In contrast, Roosevelt dimes and Washington quarters have been turned out with a 90% alloy (pre-1965 dates) and with a cupro-nickel alloy (1965 to current dates). Kennedy silver half dollars have been minted with three alloys: 90% silver for the 1964 coins, 40% silver for the 1965-1969 dates, and a cupro-nickel alloy since 1970.

Because Ben Franklin half dollars were minted with only 90% silver, you do not have to look at their dates to know that they are 90% silver. That is one reason Franklin half dollars and Mercury dimes carry premiums over other circulated 90% coins. Walking Liberty half dollars carry still higher premiums because of the popular Walking Liberty design on the front and because they are in short supply.


1964 Silver Kennedy Half Dollars

The 1964 Kennedy 90% silver half dollars have been held in esteem since they were introduced. The coins carry the image of a popular president who had been assassinated only a few years before their release, and 1964 Kennedy half dollarswere the last 90% half dollar coins minted. Consequently, Americans began hoarding Kennedy half dollars immediately on their release. In fact, people worldwide hoarded 1964 JFK half dollars.

Further increasing the popularity of 1964 Kennedy half dollars, in 1965 the U.S. Mint removed all silver from dimes and quarters. However, not wanting to disdain a popular president who had been assassinated, the Mint continued to put silver in JFK half dollars, but at a reduced amount.

Kennedy Half Dollars 1965-1969

Kennedy half dollar coins dated 1965-1969 contain only 40% silver and are known as 40% clad half dollars. The Mint’s removing silver from dimes and quarters, and reducing the silver content of half dollar coins to 40%, heightened the hoarding of all 90% silver coins but especially 1964 Kennedy half dollars.

JFK Half Dollars, the cheapest

For several reasons, circulated 1964 Kennedy half dollars are cheaper than either the Walking Liberty half dollars or the Franklin half dollars , the other two half dollarscommonly available. Although minted only one year, 277.3 million 1964 JFK half dollars were produced.

By comparison, only about 477 million Walking Liberty half dollars were minted during their 32-year life. And, during their 16 years of use, only 309.4 million Franklin half dollars were minted.

Consequently, 1964 Kennedy half dollars never circulated widely, which meant that few became worn enough be destroyed by the Mint as had millions of Walking Liberty half dollars and Franklin half dollars. So, today, Kennedy half dollars are more abundant than Walking Liberty half dollars and Franklin half dollars.

Half Dollar Coins Silver Content

A pre-1965 half dollar contained 0.36169 ounce of silver when minted, which means a $1,000 face bag (2000 coins) contained 723 ounces. However, because of wear, a bag of half dollars ($1,000 face) and will net 718-720 ounces of silver if smelted. A bag of dimes or quarters will yield about 715 ounces. A bag of 90% silver half dollars weighs right at 55 pounds on a bathroom scale.

Uncirculated Kennedy Half Dollars

Bags of BU (brilliant uncirculated) condition Kennedy half dollar coins are sometimes available. When available, they can carry premiums of $400 to $600 a bag over bags of circulated Kennedy half dollars.

Buying and Selling Kennedy Half Dollars

Because of the popularity of 1964 Kennedy half dollars, Gold Kings buys and;sells them. We usually have a supply of 1964 Kennedy half dollar coins on hand, and we stand ready to buy more.


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