Coin Specifications

Category: Silver Commemoratives (1892-1954)
Mint: Philadelphia
Mintage: 29,000
Catalog: KM-186
Obverse Designer: William Marks Simpson
Reverse Designer: William Marks Simpson
Composition: Silver
Fineness: 0.9000
Weight: 12.5g
ASW: 0.3617oz
Melt Value: $6.74 (8/30/2016)
Diameter: 30.6mm
Edge: Reeded
Numismatic specification data provided by Krause Publications NumisMaster.
Link to this coin

1937 ROANOKE 50C MS obverse 1937 ROANOKE 50C MS reverse

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There are no NGC varieties for this coin.

Description & Analysis

The story of the Lost Colony of Roanoke is a sobering reminder of how perilous a journey to the New World could be in the 16th century. Over 125 colonists from England simply disappeared without a trace. In honor of the 350th anniversary of their sacrifice, the Roanoke Colony Memorial Association was formed. The Association petitioned Congress for a commemorative coin, and on June 24th, 1936, legislation was passed calling for no fewer than 25,000 half dollars in commemoration of Roanoke as well as Virginia Dare, the first child of English decent to be born in the New World.

The Association selected sculptor William Marks Simpson, creator of the Antietam and Norfolk half dollars to design the coin. His obverse depicts a left-facing bust of Sir Walter Raleigh. To his left is the date, 1937. Many of the statutorily required mottos are crammed in the spaces above and around his bust, and below is the denomination, HALF DOLLAR. The reverse features Elinor Dare holding the baby Virginia Dare. Again, the reverse is very wordy. 1587-1937 is seen below the woman, and sailing ships flank the pair on either side. THE COLONIZATION OF ROANOKE ISLAND NORTH CAROLINA and THE BIRTH OF VIRGINIA DARE are arranged in two lines around the periphery of the coin.

While there was no maximum mintage imposed on this issue, there was a provision stating that none could be struck after July 1st. There were 25,000 coins were struck in January. This was followed by 25,000 more in June, which were most likely struck due to the fact that none could be struck after the end of that month. This second order proved excessive, however, as the sale of the coins (offered at $1.65 each by mail) quickly slowed. In the end, 21,000 coins were melted, leaving a net mintage of 29,000 coins.


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Price Guide

Last Updated: 7/24/2015

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

Base $ - - - 140 175 180 185 195 200 205 210 215 235 245 250 340 985 5850 - -
$ - - - - - - - - - - 265 425 1650 -

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Total Graded: 3871
Low Grade: 40
Average Grade: 65
High Grade: 68

Upcoming Auctions

Auction Prices Realized

A random selection of coins is shown below.

Auction House
Sale / Lot
6/6/2001 PCGS MS 65   Teletrade Auction 1445, 1445/Lot# 1564 $174.40
3/20/2006 NGC MS 64   David Lawrence Rare Coins Internet Auction # 79, 84/Lot# 1094 $230.00
1/31/2010 PCGS MS 66   Goldberg January 31 - February 3, 2010 Pre-Long Beach Coin and Currency Auction, 57/Lot# 1597 $242.00
9/2/2012 PCGS MS 65   Bonhams Coins and Medals, 20038/Lot# 1264 $175.00
4/24/2013 PCGS MS 66   Heritage Auctions 2013 April 24 - 28 CSNS US Coin Signature Auction - Chicago Session(9), 1184/Lot# 9607 $305.50
9/7/2014 PCGS MS 66   GreatCollections GreatCollections Coin Auctions 09/07/2014, 191/Lot# 212577 $227.00
10/10/2014 PCGS MS 66   Stack's Bowers November Baltimore 2014, 6039/Lot# 16170 $188.00
1/7/2015 PCGS MS 67   Heritage Auctions 2015 January 7 - 12 FUN US Coins Signature Auction - Orlando Session(9), 1216/Lot# 12150 $646.25

NGC Registry

NGC Registry Score 1937 ROANOKE 50C MS
1937 ROANOKE 50C MS Prooflike
Registry Image Gallery
Grade: MS 68
Points: 4793
Owner: Chippewa
Grade: MS 68
Points: 4793
Owner: Gregg Bingham
View the Registry Image Gallery

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