Coin Specifications

Category: Silver Commemoratives (1892-1954)
Mint: Philadelphia
Mintage: 20,978
Catalog: KM-179
Obverse Designer: Carl L. Schmitz
Reverse Designer: Carl L. Schmitz
Composition: Silver
Fineness: 0.9000
Weight: 12.5000g
ASW: 0.3617oz
Melt Value: $5.11 (11/27/2015)
Diameter: 30.6mm
Numismatic specification data provided by Krause Publications NumisMaster.
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1936 DELAWARE 50C MS obverse 1936 DELAWARE 50C MS reverse

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There are no NGC varieties for this coin.

Description & Analysis

The 1936 Delaware Tercentenary half dollar was struck in commemoration of the first European community to take hold and thrive in the state. While this technically occurred in 1638, apparently the Delaware Swedish Tercentenary Commission thought that 1936 was close enough. Considering Delaware was the first state to ratify the Constitution of the fledgling United States, the 300th anniversary of the first settlement there was clearly a worthy cause for commemoration.

Legislation was passed on May 15th, 1936 which authorized no less that 25,000 coins to be struck at a single mint with a single date. Clearly the coin was not, unlike many other commemoratives of the era, to be a greed-driven venture. The commission then set to work finding a design. Instead of simply hiring a known artist, an open competition was held, which brought in 40 entries vying for a $500 prize. The competition was judged by the Mint’s Chief Engraver John R. Sinnock and by noted sculptor Dr. Robert Tait McKenzie. Carl L. Schmitz, a German-American who was born in France, was selected for his designs featuring two important motifs from Delaware history.

The obverse features the Swedish ship the Kalmar Nykel which transported the first immigrants to Delaware. Below it is the motto E PLURIBUS UNUM and the legend LIBERTY. Arranged in arcs around the periphery are DELAWARE TERCENTENARY and the commemorative dates 1638 1938. These inscriptions are separated by three diamonds, a reference to Delaware’s motto “The Diamond State” and to its three counties. The reverse is dominated by an elevation view of the Old Swedes Church, claimed to be the oldest remaining Protestant house of worship in the United States. Above it are the Sun’s rays piercing through a cloud, while below are the motto IN GOD WE TRUST and the intended date of coining, 1936. Arranged around the periphery are UNITED STATES OF AMERICA and HALF DOLLAR.

A total of 25,000 Delaware halves were coined in March of 1937 in Philadelphia. They were sold by the Commission for $1.75 each, a relatively high issue price for commemorative halves of the era. 4,022 pieces failed to sell and were returned to the mint for melting, which leaves a net mintage of only 20,978 pieces for the issue.


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Price Guide

Last Updated: 7/24/2015

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Total Graded: 2885
Low Grade: 53
Average Grade: 64
High Grade: 68

Upcoming Auctions

Auction Prices Realized

A random selection of coins is shown below.

Auction House
Sale / Lot
9/19/2005 NGC MS 67   Goldberg September 19-21, 2005 Pre-Long Beach Coin and Currency Auction, 32/Lot# 2179 $3,680.00
1/30/2006 NGC MS 65   David Lawrence Rare Coins Internet Auction # 72, 77/Lot# 1029 $349.60
9/7/2010 NGC MS 65   Teletrade Auction 2921, 2921/Lot# 1192 $301.00
5/30/2012 NGC MS 66   Heritage Auctions 2012 May 30- June 3 US Coins Signature Auction- Long Beach Session(5), 1171/Lot# 10898 $345.00
1/9/2013 PCGS MS 66   Heritage Auctions 2013 January 9-13 US Coin FUN Signature Auction - Orlando Session(9), 1181/Lot# 13743 $425.35
10/20/2013 PCGS MS 64   Heritage Auctions Internet Coin Auction Session(2), 131344/Lot# 20614 $223.25
11/17/2013 PCGS MS 65   GreatCollections GreatCollections Coin Auctions 11/17/2013, 101/Lot# 151488 $281.60
12/5/2013 NGC MS 66   Heritage Auctions 2013 December 5 - 8 US Coins Signature Auction - Houston Session(6), 1192/Lot# 9845 $478.23
10/10/2014 NGC MS 65   Stack's Bowers iAuction 3503, 6057/Lot# 20660 $117.50

NGC Registry

NGC Registry Score 1936 DELAWARE 50C MS
1936 DELAWARE 50C MS Prooflike
Registry Image Gallery
Grade: MS 68
Points: 6677
Owner: J & L
Grade: MS 67
Points: 4540
Owner: Chippewa
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