The Victoria 50 Cents series is one of (if not thee) most difficult series to collect in Canadian coinage. Though minted for 12 different years from 1870 to 1901, each year had small production of coins resulting in only 1,533,036 produced for the entire series.
To complicate matters, most pieces were heavily circulated leaving very few coins available to collectors in a condition of almost uncirculated (AU) or better. An example of any year in a condition of AU or better carries a significant premium for collectors.
The obverse, designed by Leonard C. Wyon, features the young bust image of Queen Victoria facing left. On the outer periphery are the words "VICTORIA DEI GRATIA REGINA" (latin for "By the Grace of God, Queen") and "CANADA".
The reverse features a wreath & crown that encircles the words "50 CENTS" with the date below. Most coins were produced by the London Royal Mint but some years coinage was produced by the Heaton Mint. Heaton Mint issues are recognizable by the mint mark "H" located just below the ribbon bow.
General Market Notes
Excluding die & error varieties, the keys to the series is the 1890-H issue. The semi-key issues are the 1871-H, 1888, 1894, and 1899 issues.
Those looking for an under valued year be on the hunt for an 1901 issue, besides a mintage of only 80,000 the 1901 issue is also the last year of issue making it a popular coin among series collectors.