Barber Half Dollar: 1892-1915


Quick Coinage Facts

Years Minted: 1892-1915
Mints: Philadelphia, New Orleans, San Francisco, Denver
Composition: 0.900 silver, 0.100 copper
Diameter: 30.6 mm
Weight: 12.5 grams (0.3619 ounces of silver)
Total Mintage: 135,898,329
Edge: reeded


Designed by Chief Engraver Charles Barber, the quarter had a composition of 90% silver and 10% copper and made its first appearance in 1892. Though officially the name of the coin is the Liberty Head Half Dollar it has since been nicknamed the Barber Half after Chief Engraver Charles Barber.

The obverse design depicts an idealized form of Lady Liberty facing right wearing a Phrygian cap, a laurel wreath with a ribbon, and a headband with the inscription LIBERTY. Surrounding the design is the motto "IN GOD WE TRUST" & 13 stars on the outer periphery (representative of the original 13 states). The designer's initial "B" is located at the truncation of the neck.

The reverse design features an eagle with outstretched wings, a shield covering its breast, while holding an olive branch with thirteen leaves in its right claw and a bundle of thirteen arrows in its left (this design is almost identical to the Great Seal of the United States). There is a ribbon with the motto E PLURIBUS UNUM being held in the eagle's beak and thirteen stars are in the field. A mint mark for New Orleans (O), San Francisco (S) or Denver (D) is located at the bottom of the design below the tail feathers. Coins minted at the Philadelphia mint carried no mint marks.


General Market Notes

For those on a small budget examples in a grade of Very Good to Very Fine should be no problem for common years.

For years that may be potential sleepers look at the 1910, 1913, 1913-D, and 1913-S issues.

For the investor, the keys to the series (excluding proofs & errors) are the 1892-O, 1897-O, 1897-S, 1901-O, and 1904-O issues. The semi-keys are the 1892-S, 1893-S, 1914, and 1915 issues.

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