Coin Specifications

Category: Silver Commemoratives (1892-1954)
Mint: Philadelphia
Mintage: 50,000
Obverse Designer: Anthony de Francisci
Reverse Designer: Anthony de Francisci
Composition: Silver
Fineness: 0.9000
Weight: 12.5000g
ASW: 0.3617oz
Melt Value: $6.09 (9/26/2017)
Diameter: 30.6mm
Edge: Reeded
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1920 MAINE 50C MS obverse 1920 MAINE 50C MS reverse

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There are no NGC varieties for this coin.

Description & Analysis

While Maine was settled by French colonists as early as 1604, it wasn’t until March 15th, 1820 that Maine became the 23rd state. 100 years later, Maine Representative John Peters sought the striking of a coin to commemorate the anniversary. With little debate on the subject, Congress authorized the mintage of up to 100,000 Maine Centennial half dollars on May 10th, 1920. Proceeds for the sale were to be used to help defray the costs of the centennial celebrations to be held in the state capital Portland.

Sketches were submitted to the Commission of Fine Arts, which were then forwarded to sculptor-member James Earle Fraser, of Buffalo nickel fame. He thought the designs were amateurish, but they were still used. Anthony De Francisci, a student of Fraser who would soon sculpt the Peace dollar, completed the plaster models that June and they were approved by the Commission on July 9th of the same year. The design is lackluster at best, and many believe both sides look like they should be reverses.

The obverse of the Maine Centennial half dollar features the state seal. A shield bearing a moose and a pine tree is at center, with a farmer and a sailor to the left and right of it, respectively. The Latin motto DIRIGO (I direct) is on a scroll above, with a star above it. Below the shield is a banner inscribed MAINE. The legend UNITED STATES OF AMERICA and the value HALF DOLLAR are arranged in arcs around the periphery. The reverse is dominated by a wreath of pine branches. The words MAINE CENTENNIAL 1820-1920 are arranged within it. Above are the statutory legends E PLURIBUS UNUM and LIBERTY; below is the motto IN GOD WE TRUST.

The Philadelphia Mint struck 50,000 Maine halves in the late summer of 1920, but unfortunately they arrived after the Centennial Celebration in Portland. However, about half of that mintage was sold by the State Treasurer before the end of 1920. No further coins were struck, and by 1929, all 50,000 of the coins on hand had been distributed. Although the Maine Centennial half dollar fell victim to poor design and even worse timing, the program was free of the scandal and controversy which plagued many other commemorative issues.


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Price Guide

Last Updated: 11/30/2016

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

1920 MAINE 50C MS
Base $ - - 70.00 78.00 95.00 120 130 135 140 150 160 170 190 260 475 875 5400 - - -
$ - - - - - - - - 210 320 600 2500 10000 -

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Total Graded: 2908
Low Grade: PrAg
Average Grade: 64
High Grade: 68

Upcoming Auctions

Auction Prices Realized

A random selection of coins is shown below.

Auction House
Sale / Lot
5/27/2007 NGC MS 65   Goldberg May 27-30, 2007 Pre-Long Beach Coin and Currency Auction, 41/Lot# 1260 $660.00
11/15/2007 NGC MS 64   David Lawrence Rare Coins Thursday - Internet Auction # 195, 201/Lot# 6690 $195.50
6/9/2008 PCGS MS 65   Teletrade Auction 2540, 2540/Lot# 1791 $380.80
7/7/2011 NGC MS 65   Heritage Auctions 2011 July Orlando Summer FUN Signature US Coin Auction Session(5), 1157/Lot# 10202 $299.00
5/30/2012 NGC MS 66   Stack's Bowers The June 2012 Baltimore Auction, 137/Lot# 3356 $471.50
8/2/2012 PCGS MS 66   Heritage Auctions 2012 August 2-5 US Coins Signature Auction- Philadelphia Session(2), 1173/Lot# 3808 $2,585.00
4/21/2013 PCGS Genuine UNC   GreatCollections GreatCollections Coin Auctions 04/21/2013, 71/Lot# 111244 $91.09
  NGC MS 64   Bonhams $128.00
10/2/2016 PCGS MS 64   Heritage Auctions Internet Coin Auction Session(1), 131641/Lot# 23751 $176.25

NGC Registry

NGC Registry Score 1920 MAINE 50C MS
1920 MAINE 50C MS Prooflike
Registry Image Gallery
Grade: MS 67
Points: 4583
Owner: J & L
Grade: MS 67
Points: 4583
Owner: Rob8
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