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Early Half Dollars

early half dollar
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Early Half Dollars

Early United States half dollars hold a prominent place in the numismatic world, representing a crucial chapter in American coinage history. These coins were minted during the 18th and 19th centuries, playing a pivotal role in the nation’s commerce and trade, while also showcasing remarkable design evolution. In this extensive exploration, we delve into the various half dollar series produced during this era, examining their designs, historical context, and their enduring allure for collectors.

The earliest half dollar series, known as the Flowing Hair half dollars, was struck from 1794 to 1795. These coins hold the distinction of being the first official silver half dollars minted by the United States. The obverse of these coins features a portrait of Liberty with flowing hair, and the reverse displays an eagle encircled by stars. The design, attributed to Robert Scot, exhibits the influence of neoclassical art, a prevailing style of the late 18th century. Due to their limited mintage and historical significance, Flowing Hair half dollars are highly sought after by collectors and enthusiasts. Their value in the numismatic market is primarily determined by factors like condition, rarity, and historical importance.

The subsequent series, the Draped Bust half dollars, were struck from 1796 to 1807. These coins marked the transition from the Flowing Hair design and featured a more refined depiction of Liberty with her hair draped in a more subdued manner. The reverse design remained consistent with an eagle and stars. The Draped Bust series underwent several modifications, leading to the introduction of the Small Eagle and Heraldic Eagle reverse designs. The Heraldic Eagle design, created by John Eckstein, features an eagle with a shield on its breast, symbolizing the strength and unity of the nation. Draped Bust half dollars are prized by collectors for their elegant design and historical importance, with their value influenced by factors similar to the Flowing Hair series.