Coin Specifications

Category: Silver Commemoratives (1892-1954)
Mint: Philadelphia
Mintage: 140,592
Catalog: KM-160
Obverse Designer: John Frederick Lewis and John Ray Sinnock
Reverse Designer: John Frederick Lewis and John Ray Sinnock
Composition: Silver
Fineness: 0.9000
Weight: 12.5g
ASW: 0.3617oz
Melt Value: $5.53 (2/9/2016)
Diameter: 30.6mm
Edge: Reeded
Numismatic specification data provided by Krause Publications NumisMaster.
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1926 AMERICAN SESQUICENTENNIAL 50C MS obverse 1926 AMERICAN SESQUICENTENNIAL 50C MS reverse


  
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There are no NGC varieties for this coin.

Description & Analysis

July 4th, 1926 marked the 150th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. To mark this important anniversary, the National Sesquicentennial Exhibition Association envisioned the release an entire series of commemorative coins. This plan was eventually pared back to just two coins however, a half dollar, and a $2.5 quarter eagle gold piece. The bill passed by Congress on March 3rd, 1925, authorized the striking of up to on million half dollars and 200,000 gold quarter eagles.

The chief sculptor-engraver of the U.S. Mint, John Ray Sinnock, was entrusted to design the coins. While his models for the quarter eagle were deemed satisfactory, the Exhibition Association didn’t approve of his half dollar designs. Therefore, they called on John Frederick Lewis, a local patron of the arts to sketch a design. These sketches were given to Sinnock who then translated them to the models.

The obverse of the half dollar features overlapping right-facing busts of George Washington, the nation's first president, and Calvin Coolidge, the White House's occupant at the time of the sesquicentennial. This design caused an uproar at the time as most people did not want living individuals depicted on U.S. coins. These portraits are surrounded by a multitude of coinage mottos. LIBERTY is above, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA is below, and IN GOD WE TRUST is in tiny letters to the right. The coin's reverse features a straightforward view of the Liberty Bell, with the dual dates 1776 and 1926 to the left and right, respectively. Above the bell is the motto E PLURIBUS UNUM. Circling the rim, within an interior border, are the inscriptions SESQUICENTENNIAL OF AMERICAN INDEPENDENCE and HALF DOLLAR. This reverse would reappear, in modified form, 22 years later on the Franklin half dollar.

For a reason lost to history, the designs are in extremely low relief, leading to one of the most poorly struck coins that the U.S. Mint has ever created. This low relief is rather unattractive, and undoubtedly hurt sales. Out of the 1,000,000 coins minted in May and June of 1926, only 140,592 were sold at the Sesquicentennial Exposition in Philadelphia held from June through November of that year. The remaining 859,408 coins were returned to the Mint to be melted.

GRADE SUMMARY

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Price Guide

Last Updated: 7/24/2015

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1926 AMERICAN SESQUICENTENNIAL 50C MS
  GVGFVFXF5053555861626364656667686970
Base $ - - - 40.00 50.00 75.00 78.00 82.00 87.00 100.00 105 155 300 2275 26000 - - - -
$ - - - - - - - 190 700 3500 - - -

NGC Price and Value Guides Disclaimer

Census

 
NGC GRADE SUMMARY

Total Graded: 4390
Low Grade: PrAg
Average Grade: 63
High Grade: 66


Upcoming Auctions

A random selection of NGC coins is shown below.

Images
Date
Grade
Auction House
Sale / Lot
2/9/2016 MS 64   Heritage Auctions Internet Coin Auction Session(2), 131606/Lot# 24151


Auction Prices Realized

A random selection of coins is shown below.

Images
Date
Service
Grade
Auction House
Sale / Lot
Price
7/26/2003 PCGS MS 64   Heritage Auctions 2003 July Baltimore, MD. Signature Sale #328, 328/Lot# 9538 $690.00
5/28/2006 PCGS MS 64   Goldberg May 28-31, 2006 Pre-Long Beach Coin and Currency Auction, 36/Lot# 445 $575.00
7/31/2008 NGC MS 63   David Lawrence Rare Coins Thursday - Internet Auction # 270, 276/Lot# 5157 $241.50
12/2/2010 NGC MS 64   Heritage Auctions 2010 December Houston Signature US Coin Auction Session(4), 1147/Lot# 9211 $207.00
4/10/2011 PCGS MS 63   Teletrade Auction 3045, 3045/Lot# 1685 $172.50
2/19/2012 NGC MS 64   GreatCollections GreatCollections Coin Auctions 02/19/2012, 8/Lot# 19363 $247.50
6/3/2014 NGC MS 64   Stack's Bowers June 2014 Baltimore, 6021/Lot# 4766 $220.90


NGC Registry

NGC Registry Score 1926 AMERICAN SESQUICENTENNIAL 50C MS
 PrAgGVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970
Base106119131147163201220288298311327351366381515820307534477756114832808251550
110123136152176207243291302316335356371426617157231994883899817016359050
00000024329130231633535637142661715723199488389981701600
000000265295307322343361376470718232333236320102412254900
Registry Image Gallery
Grade: MS 66
Points: 6294
Owner: J & L
 
Grade: MS 65
Points: 3904
Owner: Richard Schultz
 
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