Coin Specifications

Category: Silver Commemoratives (1892-1954)
Mint: Philadelphia
Mintage: 16,923
Obverse Designer: William Marks Simpson and Majorie Emory Simpson
Reverse Designer: William Marks Simpson and Majorie Emory Simpso
Composition: Silver
Fineness: 0.9000
Weight: 12.5000g
ASW: 0.3617oz
Melt Value: $6.15 (10/18/2017)
Diameter: 30.6mm
Edge: Reeded
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1936 NORFOLK 50C MS obverse 1936 NORFOLK 50C MS reverse

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Description & Analysis

The Norfolk half dollar is yet another example of the commemorative coin series being used to honor events and/or anniversaries of strictly local significance. It was coined to commemorate the bicentennial of the city of Norfolk becoming a borough. As this anniversary approached, a civic group called the Norfolk Advertising Board sought a coin to mark the occasion. The senate, realizing the limited appeal, changed wording in the bill to authorize only a medal, not a coin. It was well-known that medals sold poorly in comparison to coins, so the Board refused to move forward. Eventually, they enlisted the help of Virginia Senator Carter Glass (who appears on the Lynchburg half dollar) to make another attempt. On June 28th, 1937 he succeeded in passing legislation authorizing the mintage of up to 25,000 half dollars was passed.

Models for the half dollar were created by the husband and wife team of William Marks Simpson (creator of the Antietam and Roanoke halves) and Majorie Emory Simpson. The extremely complex and crowded obverse depicts at its center the seal of the city of Norfolk, with a sailing ship placed atop a plow and three bundles of wheat. The various dates associated with the progress of this city are listed, along the anniversary date of 1936. The latter is flanked by scallop shells, and a circle of rope is likewise incorporated as a further reference to the city’s seaport heritage. The reverse of the Norfolk half is dominated by the Royal Mace, which was presented to the city in 1753 as a token of esteem from Lieutenant Governor Dinwiddie. The balance of the design includes the date of the original land grant and the coin’s value, as well as the various statutory legends and mottos found on all U. S. coins.

The entire mintage of 25,000 coins was struck in September of 1937 at the Philadelphia mint. Orders had already been taken for the coin, and the first 15,000 sold fairly quickly. However, a total of 8,077 coins were eventually returned to the mint for melting as they remained unsold, even at steep discounts. This left a net mintage of 16,923 for the issue.


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Price Guide

Last Updated: 11/30/2016

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

Base $ - - 250 300 375 390 400 410 420 430 440 450 460 470 500 565 650 1475 - -
$ - - - - - - - - - - - 620 775 6900

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Total Graded: 2755
Low Grade: 55
Average Grade: 65
High Grade: 69

Upcoming Auctions

Auction Prices Realized

A random selection of coins is shown below.

Auction House
Sale / Lot
7/24/2000 PCGS MS 66   Teletrade Auction 1337, 1337/Lot# 1592 $414.20
4/15/2003 NGC MS 67   Heritage Auctions Exclusively Internet Auction #23044, 23044/Lot# 13805 $471.50
2/1/2009 PCGS MS 64   Goldberg February 1-4, 2009 Pre-Long Beach Coin and Currency Auction, 51/Lot# 1953 $460.00
10/12/2009 NGC MS 65   David Lawrence Rare Coins Monday - Internet Auction # 418, 424/Lot# 946 $362.25
4/28/2010 NGC MS 66   Heritage Auctions 2010 April-May Milwaukee, WI CSNS US Coin Auction #1139, 1139/Lot# 10518 $431.25
5/27/2012 PCGS MS 66   Bonhams Coins and Medals, 19995/Lot# 1412 $362.00
10/17/2012 PCGS MS 67   Stack's Bowers The November 2012 Baltimore Auction - US and World Lots - Live and Internet Only Sessions, 144/Lot# 5062 $442.75
3/23/2014 PCGS MS 66   GreatCollections GreatCollections Coin Auctions 03/23/2014, 178/Lot# 180976 $390.50

NGC Registry

NGC Registry Score 1936 50C MS NORFOLK
Registry Image Gallery
Grade: MS 69
Points: 6156
Owner: J & L
Grade: MS 68
Points: 4860
Owner: Gregg Bingham
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