Coin Specifications

Category: Silver Commemoratives (1892-1954)
Mint: Denver
Mintage: 2,100
Obverse Designer: Augustus Lukeman
Reverse Designer: Augustus Lukeman
Composition: Silver
Fineness: 0.9000
Weight: 12.5000g
ASW: 0.3617oz
Melt Value: $10.50 (8/10/2020)
Diameter: 30.6mm
Edge: Reeded
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1938 D BOONE 50C MS obverse 1938 D BOONE 50C MS reverse
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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: 2/14/2020

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

1938 D 50C BOONE MS
  GVGFVFXF505355586061626364656667686970
Base $ - - 140 195 235 275 295 340 345 350 365 375 385 390 455 650 1300 11000 - -
$ - - - - - - - - - 425 525 875 2100 -

NGC Price and Value Guides Disclaimer

Disclaimer: The prices listed in the various NGC Price and Value Guides are compiled from a number of independent, third party sources in the numismatic community which NGC believes to be reliable. Prices provided are averages, not specific prices for individual coins. Further, because these prices are only updated from time to time, they do not reflect short term pricing trends, which are quite common and are often quite dramatic, given the volatile nature of the collectible coin marketplace. This is especially true for rare coins, where there are fewer sales and greater variations in sale prices. For all of these reasons, the prices in these guides are designed to serve merely as one of many measures and factors that coin buyers and sellers can use in determining coin values. These prices are not intended, and should not be relied upon, to replace the due diligence and — when appropriate — expert consultation that coin buyers and sellers should undertake when entering into a coin transaction. As such, NGC disclaims all warranties, express or implied, with respect to the information contained in the NGC Guides. By using the NGC Guides, the user agrees that neither NGC nor any of its affiliates, shareholders, officers, employees or agents shall have any liability for any loss or damage of any kind, including without limitation any loss arising from reliance on the information contained in the Guides.

Census

 
NGC GRADE SUMMARY

Total Graded: 478
Low Grade: 62
Average Grade: 65
High Grade: 69

The chart showing 62 series, 63 series, 64 series, 65 series, 66 series, 67 series, 68 series, 69 series.
NGC CENSUS DETAIL Last Updated: 8/4/2020 1938 D 50C BOONE MS
 PrAgGVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970Total
Base-------------2261101801253041-478
----------------11311-7
-----------------34---7
-----------------------
Total-------------2261101811293752-492
 -------------0%5%22%37%26%8%1%0%- 

NGC Registry

NGC Registry Score 1938 D 50C BOONE MS
 PrAgGVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970
Base37240443947760968472577482086590092594195897410131138147720485720654515037
3834164525216346987417898358779089309479639871055125116673272599593760
0000007417898358779089309479639871055125116673272599500
00000075880585088891793695296910001096136418584496627000
Registry Image Gallery
Grade: MS 69
Points: 9376
Owner: J & L
 
Grade: MS 67
Points: 2048
Owner: Bruce Young
 
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NGC Auction Central Disclaimer

NGC Auction Central Disclaimer

Disclaimer: The auction prices realized listed in the NGC Auction Central are compiled from a number of independent, third party sources in the numismatic community which NGC believes to be reliable. The auction data listed by NGC may occasionally contain typographical or input errors that can result in incorrect prices realized appearing on the NGC website. Therefore, the prices realized listed in NGC Auction Central are designed to serve merely as one of many measures and facts that coin buyers and sellers can use in determining coin values. These prices are not intended, and should not be relied upon, to replace the due diligence and – when appropriate – expert consultation that coin buyers and sellers should undertake when entering into a coin transaction. As such, NGC disclaims all warranties, express or implied, with respect to the information contained in the NGC Auction Central. By using the NGC Auction Central, the user agrees that neither NGC nor any of its affiliates, shareholders, officers, employees or agents shall have any liability for any loss or damage of any kind, including without limitation any loss arising from reliance on the information contained in the NGC Auction Central.