A Look at the History and Current Value of the Barber Half Dollar

For coin collectors, certain coins stand out for their rarity, their interesting history, and their beauty. The Barber Half Dollar is one such coin, and finding one in good condition today is a coin lover’s dream come true. Here’s a look at the Barber Half Dollar’s unique history and current value.

Origins of the Barber Half Dollar

The Barber Half Dollar

In 1890, the Mint Act established that the United States Mint could only change the appearance of its coins after they had been in circulation for 25 years. A year later, the half dollar became eligible for a makeover, and in 1892, there appeared a new half dollar, designed by the Mint’s Chief Engraver, Charles E. Barber. The so-named Barber Half Dollar was born, and it would only be issued until 1915, with just under 2 million coins produced each year.

A Unique American Coin

Composed of 90% silver and 10% copper, they portrayed Lady Liberty wearing a wreath on its obverse and an eagle clutching arrows and an olive branch on its reverse. This silver coin was impressive in its day for its intricacy, simplicity, and clean design. During its time in circulation, it was an important part of American history. It was one of the most used coins by American settlers venturing west, as they needed a currency that was literally worth its weight to trade for much-needed goods and services on the frontier.

The Barber Half Dollar Today

Because a relatively small number of Barber Half Dollars were produced, and because many were lost or badly damaged during America’s westward expansion, finding one in good shape today is a pretty rare pleasure. Depending on where it was minted—which could be Philadelphia, Denver, New Orleans, or San Francisco—its year, and its condition, it could be worth anywhere from a few dollars up to thousands of dollars. It’s hard to predict the future value of rare coins, but there’s a chance that good Barber Half Dollars could be worth even more in the coming decades.

At Atlanta Gold & Coin Buyers, we buy and sell a variety of rare and historic coins, plus gold, silver, and platinum. Request an appraisal today, or give us a call at 404-236-9744 for more information about our inventory.

Tony Davis
Tony Davis