Coin Specifications

Category: Silver Commemoratives (1892-1954)
Mint: Philadelphia
Mintage: 2,100
Obverse Designer: Edward Everett Burr and Emily Bates
Reverse Designer: Edward Everett Burr and Emily Bates
Composition: Silver
Fineness: 0.9000
Weight: 12.5000g
ASW: 0.3617oz
Melt Value: $9.44 (4/21/2021)
Diameter: 30.6mm
Edge: Reeded
Link to this coin

1939 ARKANSAS 50C MS obverse 1939 ARKANSAS 50C MS reverse
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Description & Analysis

The Arkansas half dollar is a good example of a worthy project discredited through greed and poor management. It follows in the footsteps of other commemorative issues of the time with multiple date and mint-mark combinations that infuriated collectors of the day.
The story of this coin all began with the grand plans for marking the state of Arkansas’ 100th anniversary in 1936 in the state capitol. Noting the success of other states in funding such events through the sale of commemorative coins, a similar plan was devised by a state-appointed group calling itself the Arkansas Centennial Commission.

This commission got right to work, and a bill was quickly passed on May 14th, 1934, authorizing the coinage of up to 500,000 half dollars honoring the centennial of the state. The language of the Arkansas bill conveniently omitted any reference to a place or date of coinage, yet it specified that the coins were to be delivered only to the Commission or its designated agent “at such times as they shall be requested.” With so generous an authorization, the Commission could and did request that Arkansas halves be coined at all three mints and in several consecutive years. If this weren’t enough to aggravate collectors (who naturally sought completeness in their sets), the Commission’s clumsy and sometimes suspect handling of distribution further fueled the fires of resentment surrounding this and other “serial” commemoratives.

The commission selected Edward Everett Burr to design the coin, and Emily Bates was to put the design into plaster. Unfortunately, the design of this issue was not well received. In fact, after the first models were delivered, the Fine Arts Commission requested that both the artist and sculptor be replaced. However, after some reworking, the design was eventually approved and sent to the Medallic Art Company of New York for reduction to hubs. The obverse of the coin features the conjoined busts of a Quapaw Indian and Lady Liberty. The reverse is emblazoned with a large eagle in front of a rising sun with the name Arkansas above.

A total of 10,008 coins were coined in Philadelphia in May of 1935. They sold well, and an additional 3,000 were ordered later in the year. At the advice of prominent coin dealer B. max Mehl, small mintages were ordered from the Denver and San Francisco Mints, to the tune of 5,500 coins each. They were supposedly available for purchase from the Arkansas Centennial Commission for just $1, but unfortunately most of them had already been secretly sold to Mehl, who then retailed them for $2.75 each. . Subsequent issues, offered annually through 1939, were subject to the same unfair manipulations at ever-higher mark-ups. Such practices ultimately brought down the wrath of Congress. It passed a law on August 5, 1939, terminating the re-issue of all previously-authorized commemoratives.

In 1939, sales of the Arkansas Centennial half dollar once again floundered, with only 2100 sets distributed. Due to this low mintage, all 3 of the 1939 issues are the key dates of this commemorative issue.

GRADE SUMMARY

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Price Guide

Last Updated: 2/7/2020

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

1939 50C ARKANSAS MS
  GVGFVFXF505355586061626364656667686970
Base $ - - 100.00 135 175 225 230 235 245 280 290 300 320 360 725 2400 11500 - - -
$ - - - - - - - - - 415 1100 3150 - -

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: 472
Low Grade: 61
Average Grade: 64
High Grade: 67

The chart showing 61 series, 62 series, 63 series, 64 series, 65 series, 66 series, 67 series.
NGC CENSUS DETAIL Last Updated: 4/20/2021 1939 50C ARKANSAS MS
 PrAgGVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970Total
Base------------21070227123364---472
-----------------------
----------------14----5
-----------------------
Total------------21070227124404---477
 ------------0%2%15%48%26%8%1%--- 

NGC Registry

NGC Registry Score 1939 50C ARKANSAS MS
 PrAgGVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970
Base282308336366463563609674684695715783820847874100515833198456571381544727731
291317346398496578631677688702738795829856918119821213654542399081954229118
0000006316776887027387958298569181198212136545423990800
00000065268169170876080883886596113902660410962801267700
Registry Image Gallery
Grade: MS 65
Points: 1583
Owner: Jim Bazzell
 
Grade: MS 65
Points: 1583
Owner: Whidbey Island Collection
 
View the Registry Image Gallery

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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.