Coin Specifications

Category: Silver Commemoratives (1892-1954)
Mint: San Francisco
Mintage: 2,100
Catalog: KM-165.2
Obverse Designer: Augustus Lukeman
Reverse Designer: Augustus Lukeman
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

1938 S BOONE 50C MS obverse 1938 S BOONE 50C MS reverse


  
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VarietyPlus®

There are no NGC varieties for this coin.

Description & Analysis

Daniel Boone was once known by all as one of the first folk heroes of the United States. His service during the French and Indian War was followed by the exploration of the newly acquired Florida in 1763. Unfortunately Mrs. Boone did not appreciate the heat and humidity of the territory, so Boone commenced his explorations of Kentucky during 1769-1771. They attempted to establish a colony there in 1773, but were foiled by hostile Native Americans. He persevered two years later, however, establishing Boonesboro in 1775. While there were some hostilities between Boone and the Native tribes, he eventually made Peace with Chief Blackfish of the Chillicothe tribe, an event depicted on the commemorative coin.

In late spring of 1934, sculptor Augustus Lukeman was hired by the Kentucky Daniel Boone Bicentennial Commission to prepare designs for the coin honoring the frontiersman. Unfortunately for the commission, Lukeman ignored several of their artistic requirements for the coin, and eventually the Commission was forced to concede and simply run with the designs provided after minor changes. The obverse features a left-facing idealized portrait of Daniel Boone, along with United States of America and Half Dollar. On the reverse, full-length figures of Boone and Chief Black Fish face one another against a backdrop of the Boonesboro blockhouse at left and the rising sun at right. To the left is the inscription DANIEL BOONE BICENTENNIAL and to the right the words PIONEER YEAR are featured. The latter is a reference to the date 1934, which appears below the figures on coins minted in 1934 and above the phrase itself on pieces coined during part of 1935 and thereafter through 1938. IN GOD WE TRUST and E PLURIBUS UNUM are arranged around the upper periphery.


The act of May 26, 1934 called for the coining of up to 600,000 half dollars honoring the bicentennial of Boone’s birth. The money raised was to be used in restoring four historic sites associated with Boone and early Kentucky. There was nothing in the bill which specified the date or mint of the coinage, nor was any sales price dictated. Although not unusual in such legislation, these omissions would be exploited to their fullest by the Boone Commission during the commemorative coin mania of the next few years.

The initial coinage dated 1934 amounted to just 10,00 coins struck at the Philadelphia Mint. These were sold at $1.60 apiece by Secretary Dunn from an office in Lexington’s Phoenix Hotel. These sold reasonably well, yet a new striking of 10,010 halves from the Philadelphia Mint appeared the following year with the date 1935. This was followed by Denver and San Francisco Mint issues coined a couple of months later to the amount of 5,005 pieces each. The prices asked were $1.10, $1.50 and $1.50, respectively.

Of course, the reference to a pioneer year was now irrelevant, since that year (1934) no longer appeared on the coins. This was remedied later in 1935, when a small date 1934 was added above the inscription PIONEER YEAR per new legislation dated August 26, 1935. 10,010 examples of this variety were struck at Philadelphia, but the Denver and San Francisco Mints coined only 2,003 and 2,004 pieces, respectively. Highly publicized as rarities by Secretary Dunn, these were offered at a cost of $3.70 for the pair.

Collectors were understandably surprised by this development, and some a little annoyed, yet they had no choice but to order this extra issue if their sets were to be complete. Dunn, claiming that the offering of 2,000 pair had been oversubscribed, returned most of the checks sent him. Collectors and dealers quickly sensed that a fraud had been perpetrated against them, as so few persons received their coins from the Commission, yet a handful of dealers, Dunn included, just happened to have some available at their new market level of up to $50 for the pair!

This episode set the tone for future offerings of this and other “serial” commemoratives of the mid-to-late 1930’s. With nothing to prevent further issues of the Boone halves, new editions were put out annually in three-piece sets through 1938. Both prices and ordering options varied from year to year, creating much confusion and resentment. Congress finally put an end to this abuse in 1939 with the passage of a bill prohibiting the further minting of any commemorative coins authorized prior to that date.

GRADE SUMMARY

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Price Guide

Last Updated: 7/24/2015

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

1938 S BOONE 50C MS
  GVGFVFXF5053555861626364656667686970
Base $ - - 150 205 240 305 325 335 355 385 395 420 450 550 1025 1800 - - -
$ - - - - - - - 460 500 600 1175 3700 -

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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Census

 
NGC GRADE SUMMARY

Total Graded: 484
Low Grade: 55
Average Grade: 64
High Grade: 68


Upcoming Auctions


Auction Prices Realized

A random selection of coins is shown below.

Images
Date
Service
Grade
Auction House
Sale / Lot
Price
2/28/1996 PCGS MS 63   Teletrade Auction 0819, 819/Lot# 618 $239.80
9/17/2003 PCGS MS 67   Heritage Auctions 2003 September Long Beach Signature Sale #330, 330/Lot# 9244 $2,530.00
5/30/2005 PCGS MS 67   Goldberg May 30 - June 16, 2005 Pre-Long Beach Coin Auction, 31/Lot# 648 $2,185.00
7/5/2006 NGC MS 65   Heritage Auctions 2006 July Dallas, TX Coin Signature Auction #407, 407/Lot# 3111 $402.50
2/12/2009 NGC MS 66   David Lawrence Rare Coins Thursday - Internet Auction # 334, 340/Lot# 6228 $621.00
10/20/2013 PCGS MS 67   GreatCollections GreatCollections Coin Auctions 10/20/2013, 97/Lot# 134347 $5,226.10
1/12/2014 PCGS MS 63   GreatCollections GreatCollections Coin Auctions 01/12/2014, 180/Lot# 162933 $228.80
3/28/2014 PCGS MS 67   Stack's Bowers March 2014 Baltimore Auction, 6008/Lot# 6064 $1,057.50


NGC Registry

NGC Registry Score 1938 S BOONE 50C MS
 PrAgGVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970
Base3924294635026317057458298658829169419669821021106612061730228149351065018768
404440476545656718773841871893924949971995103611131381191431666840133560
00000077384187189392494997199510361113138119143166684000
000000801853876905933958977100810511159155520974050874500
1938 S BOONE 50C MS Prooflike
 PrAgGVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970
Base4234615005396767527948849219409751001102710441084113112781824334554171319423368
436474513585701766824896927952984101010331057110011801460233140368009165850
00000082489692795298410101033105711001180146023314036800900
000000854909934963992101810381071111512291642283847261060200
Registry Image Gallery
Grade: MS 68
Points: 6840
Owner: J & L
 
Grade: MS 67
Points: 2281
Owner: PetroKaz
 
View the Registry Image Gallery

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