Coin Grading Guide
In its more than 200 years of producing coins, the United States Mint has created dozens of coin types across numerous denominations. Some of these denominations are now obsolete, the coins which represented them having long ago passed from circulation. Each, however, remains an object of great interest to collectors, yet useful information about the technical aspects of these coins and tips on selecting the optimum specimens may not easily be found in print.
From 1996 to 2002, NGC Research Director, David W. Lange, wrote a series of columns for The Numismatist, the monthly publication of the American Numismatic Association. Each entry featured a different type of United States coin, and Dave shared with readers his insights into the technical and aesthetic qualities that defined it, while also providing helpful tips to guide collectors in selecting examples which best represented that particular design. These columns have now been thoroughly updated and are presented here for the benefit of NGC’s customers.
It may seem that little needs to be said about common coins such as Roosevelt Dimes or Lincoln Cents, yet a reading of these articles will reveal aspects of these series that the casual collector tends to overlook. In the case of more rare and less often seen coin types, such as early gold pieces or odd denominations, the insights presented will enable collectors to gain a hands-on perspective that we at NGC are privileged to know from examining some of America’s rarest and most desirable coins. We hope you will enjoy this unique review of our nation’s coinage.
- Flowing Hair Half Dollars (1794-1795)
- Draped Bust Half Dollars (1796-1807)
- Capped Bust Half Dollars (1807-1836)
- Reeded Edge Half Dollars (1836-1839)
- Liberty Seated Half Dollars (1839-1891)
- Barber Half Dollars (1892-1915)
- Walking Liberty Half Dollars (1916-1947)
- Franklin Half Dollars (1948-1963)
- Kennedy Half Dollars (1964-Date)