Coin Specifications

Category: Silver Commemoratives (1892-1954)
Mint: Philadelphia
Mintage: 950,000
Catalog: KM-117
Obverse Designer: Charles E. Barber
Reverse Designer: George T. Morgan
Composition: Silver
Fineness: 0.9000
Weight: 12.5000g
ASW: 0.3617oz
Melt Value: $5.39 (8/2/2015)
Diameter: 30.6mm
Numismatic specification data provided by Krause Publications NumisMaster.
Link to this coin

1892 COLUMBIAN 50C MS obverse 1892 COLUMBIAN 50C MS reverse

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Description & Analysis

The 1892 and 1893 Columbian half dollars were the first commemorative coins issued by the United States. They were coined to commemorate the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago. This event, also known as the Chicago World's Fair, was to be held in 1892.

With the cost of the fair ballooning, an enterprising manager of the expo suggested that souvenir half dollars be produced and sold for $1 each to help cover the cost of the exposition. The bill to produce the coin was passed on August 5th of 1892 and called for the mintage of no more than 5 million half dollar coins.

The striking of these coins began with special proof issues on November 19th of 1892 to national fanfare. So great was the fervor that the company that produced the Remington typewriter paid an astounding $10,000 for the first coin struck, an amount equal to nearly a quarter of a million dollars today!

However, these coins are not usually worth nearly that much today aside from the few survivors in very high grade. With a mintage of 950,000 in 1892 and a further 1,550,405 produced in 1893, the Columbian Exposition Half Dollar is the most common type of the entire classic commemorative series.


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Price Guide

Last Updated: 7/24/2015

Click on a price to see historical prices, comparison charts and trends.

Base $ - - 16.15 16.25 17.25 17.50 18.50 21.00 29.00 48.00 58.00 80.00 160 585 1600 18000 42500 - -
$ - - - - - - - 85.00 225 900 3000 36000 -

The World Coin Price Guide is independently compiled by Krause Publications’ NumisMaster. NGC makes this information available to its website visitors as a free service, but in no way does the information provided represent NGC’s official opinion or policy. For example, varieties listed in the World Coin Price Guide may not necessarily be recognized by NGC. Please contact NGC Customer Service with any questions.

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Total Graded: 5482
Low Grade: PrAg
Average Grade: 63
High Grade: 68

Upcoming Auctions

Auction Prices Realized

A random selection of coins is shown below.

Auction House
Sale / Lot
10/8/1994 NGC MS 64   Heritage Auctions 1994 October Long Beach Signature Sale #124, 124/Lot# 5964 $121.00
2/5/2006 PCGS MS 64   Goldberg February 5-8, 2006 Pre-Long Beach Coin and Currency Auction, 34/Lot# 305 $132.00
9/1/2010 NGC MS 63   Teletrade Auction 2917, 2917/Lot# 1700 $53.00
12/22/2013 PCGS VF 25   GreatCollections GreatCollections Coin Auctions 12/22/2013, 166/Lot# 151801 $15.00
3/21/2014 PCGS MS 66   Prooflike Heritage Auctions 2014 March 21 & 23 US Coins Signature Auction - San Francisco Session(3), 1198/Lot# 11823 $1,645.00
6/3/2014 PCGS MS 66   Prooflike Stack's Bowers June 2014 Baltimore, 6021/Lot# 4670 $779.03
10/12/2014 PCGS MS 65   Prooflike GreatCollections GreatCollections Coin Auctions 10/12/2014, 190/Lot# 226363 $300.00
11/2/2014 PCGS MS 64   David Lawrence Rare Coins Internet Auction # 828, 837/Lot# 10580 $85.00
4/22/2015 NGC MS 66   Heritage Auctions 2015 April 22 - 26 CSNS US Coins Signature Auction - Chicago Session(7), 1219/Lot# 8669 $540.50

NGC Registry

NGC Registry Score 1892 COLUMBIAN 50C MS
1892 COLUMBIAN 50C MS Prooflike
Registry Image Gallery
Grade: MS 67
Points: 5585
Owner: Gregg Bingham
Grade: MS 67
Points: 5585
Owner: Richard Schultz
View the Registry Image Gallery

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