Mrs. Jackson was 10 years old when the United States celebrated its 200th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1976. Thus, she was of age to memorize the celebrations’ joy, bustles, and significance. She always remembered several facilities introduced to commemorate the US Bicentennial festivities, including the ceremonial coinage.

Her parents, members of the American Numismatic Society, instilled the idea and essence of keeping historically significant coins in her mind at an early age. Accordingly, she preserved three unused Bicentennial half-dollar coins in a piggy bank as early as July 5, 1976. She subsequently isolated ten Bicentennial half-dollar coins in her closet towards the end of 1977. Four decades later, she decides to unveil and auction off her Bicentennial half-dollar coins but wonders how much money they’ll fetch in contemporary times.

The Bicentennial (1776 to 1976) half-dollar coin is numismatically valuable to coin collectors, primarily due to its historical relevance. Hence, it has established a substantial market for coin dealers and collectors.

This comprehensive guide focuses on educating the holders and potential collectors of the 1776 to 1976 half-dollar coins on identifying, appraising, and trading the vintage collectibles. We’ll begin by quickly flipping the pages of history to the events that led to the launching of the Bicentennial coins.

After the read, you’ll appreciate the distinctive features and worth of the Bicentennial Half Dollar and realize how to determine its value.

History of the US Bicentennial Coins

History of the US Bicentennial Coins
@hobbythatipickedupinthelobby

In 1970, the United States American Revolution Bicentennial Commission, an independent American agency, suggested the country should mint special coins to mark its Bicentennial celebrations. The group pitched the idea to President Richard Nixon, and they decided the specific measures they should apply regarding the denominations and distribution of the coins. The House Committee on Banking and Currency later recommended the striking of double-dated memorial coins (1776 to 1976) for dollars, half-dollars, and quarters on July 24, 1973.

The US Treasury Department conducted an open design competition for the special image on the coins’ reverse side. The slated date for releasing the final design into circulation was July 4, 1975. When the contest ended in December 1973, the submitted list comprised about 884 images. Some designs were selected for the different denominations of the Bicentennial coins in March 1974.

The chosen designs include:

  • Dennis Williams’ image of the Liberty Bell and the Moon (following the country’s successful moon landings) – for the Bicentennial dollar
  • Seth Huntington’s Rendering of Independence Hall – for the Bicentennial half-dollar
  • Jack L. Ahr’s Revolutionary Drummer Boy – for the Bicentennial quarter

Several mints in the country minted the Bicentennial coins-including 1776 to 1976 half dollar-in 1975 and 1976.

A Brief Recap of 1776 to 1976 (Bicentennial) Half Dollar Coins: What Are Bicentennial Half Dollar Coins?

What Are Bicentennial Half Dollar Coins
@westcoastvarieties

The Bicentennial Half Dollar is the half-dollar denomination of the Bicentennial commemorative coin series. It was issued at a ceremony in Minneapolis on July 7, 1975, making it the first Bicentennial coin to be released. Within two years, the Denver and Philadelphia mints had struck 521,873,248 clad business strike Bicentennial half-dollar coins, and several others were minted for collectors.

In subsequent paragraphs, we’ll extensively discuss the mintage, features, and design of the Bicentennial halves to help you recognize the coins and tell them apart from modern replicas or counterfeits.

Mintage of the Bicentennial Half Dollar Coins: Where Were the Bicentennial Halves Minted?

The Bicentennial half-dollar coins were minted within 2 years (from 1975 to 1976) in three states of the country. Different mints struck hundreds of millions of Bicentennial halves within this period – regular copper-nickel clad coins for circulation and 40% silver coins for collectors. So, you may possess or find any of these varieties.

The three mints responsible for minting the Bicentennial half-dollar coins are:

  • The Philadelphia Mint
  • The Denver Mint
  • The San Francisco Mint

Let’s observe these mints through a broader lens.

The Philadelphia Mint

The Philadelphia Mint struck Bicentennial half-dollar coins for business use. These coins were composed of a copper-nickel clad.

The period between 1975 and 1976 saw the production of 234,308,000 business strike Bicentennial halves in Philadelphia. If your Bicentennial half-dollar coin experienced usage before preservation, it was possibly struck in the Philadelphia Mint.

The Denver Mint

The Denver Mint produced copper-nickel-clad Bicentennial half-dollar coins for commercial purposes like the Philadelphia Mint. However, this mint struck more Bicentennial halves than its Philadelphia counterpart – 287,565,248 business strike Bicentennial half-dollar coins. Hence, a coin initially released into circulation before storage was most likely minted in Denver.

San Francisco Mint

Unlike the other mints, the San Francisco Mint exclusively struck Bicentennial half-dollar coins for collectors. There are three versions of the San Francisco-minted Bicentennial halves – an uncirculated silver model, the silver proof sets, and the clad proof version. You can tell the difference between these models through their finish. Still, it’s certainly not San Francisco-minted if your coin has been used for business transactions before preservation.

You’ll learn how to discern the mint that struck a particular coin as we point out the features of the Bicentennial halves in the successive section.

Features of Bicentennial Half Dollar Coins

Features of Bicentennial Half Dollar Coins
@westcoastvarieties

Several elements make the Bicentennial half-dollar coins stand out from a regular 50-cent piece. We’ll look at these special features in this section.

You may identify a Bicentennial half-dollar coin through the following characteristics:

  • The coin’s depictions
  • The coin’s inscriptions
  • Its mint marks
  • The coin’s composition
  • The coin’s quality and durability
  • Mintage variety
  • Proof sets
  • Weight and diameter
  • The coin’s edge

Let’s see how these features define a Bicentennial half-dollar coin.

Note: Some characteristics like the depictions and inscriptions may vary if you have an error coin. Here, we lean towards a more general outlook of the coin’s features.

The Coin’s Depictions

The Bicentennial Half Dollar features a portrait of the 35th President of the United States, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, as the central motif of its obverse side (head), similar to the conventional 50-cent coin. However, the depiction on its reverse side (tail) is peculiar – a symmetrical front view of Independence Hall in Philadelphia. Built in 1753, the hall served as the signing venue of the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution.

Accordingly, you may distinguish between a regular Kennedy half-dollar coin and the Bicentennial equivalent through their reverse images, as the former features the Presidential Seal on its tail section.

The Coin’s Inscriptions

The Coin’s Inscriptions
@lferrari1982

The Bicentennial halves possess inscriptions on their obverse and reverse aspects, and some of these captions are unique to the commemorative coins. They bear the inscription ”LIBERTY” on top of the upper half of their obverse rim. Like the regular half-dollar coins, President Kennedy’s hair covers the lower portions of the letters “B,” “E,” and “R.”

The phrases “IN GOD” and “WE TRUST” are also engraved on the left and right sides of President Kennedy’s neck, respectively, forming the national motto “IN GOD WE TRUST.

Furthermore, the Bicentennial Half Dollar portrays the dual date “1776–1976” on the bottom of its obverse side, with the figure “1” in “1776” placed under the “G” in “GOD,” and the “6” in “1976” beneath the “R” in “TRUST.” This dual-date notation is distinctive to the Bicentennial coinage. The coin also possesses the inscription “GR”- the initials of Gilroy Roberts, the designer of the Kennedy Half Dollar’s obverse-above the “WE” on the right side of Kennedy’s bust truncation line.

On the obverse, the caption “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” occupies the top half of the right, with the spire of the Independence Hall separating the “E” and “S” of “STATES” and almost touching the coin’s edge. Meanwhile, the term “HALF DOLLAR” rests on the lower third of the rim, with 13 small stars adorning the top of the letters from “A” to “A.” The phrases “200 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE” and “E PLURIBUS UNUM” (The Latin rendition of “Out of Many, One” ) are on the left and right sides of the Independence Hall, respectively.

The building’s name “INDEPENDENCE HALL” sits underneath its image, while the caption “SGH”-the initials of Seth G. Huntington, the designer of the Bicentennial Half Dollar’s reverse-lies underneath the “E PLURIBUS UNUM” on the right side of the hall. Hence, you can use the obverse inscriptions to identify a Bicentennial half-dollar coin since the only captions it shares with the conventional 50-cent piece are the words “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” and “HALF DOLLAR.”

Mintmarks

You may tell where a Bicentennial half-dollar coin was minted through its mint marks. A Bicentennial half struck in the Philadelphia Mint will bear no mintmark. So, don’t assume a Bicentennial half with no mint mark is fake or an error coin; it may have originated from the Philadelphia Mint.

On the other hand, a 1776 to 1976 half-dollar coin minted in Denver or San Francisco will have a “D” or “S” mintmark on the right side of President Kennedy’s bust truncation line, respectively.

The Coin’s Composition

The different mints employed copper, nickel, and silver in producing the Bicentennial halves. However, a Bicentennial coin’s composition varies with where it was minted, its purpose, and its version. The coins minted in Philadelphia and San Francisco were intended for commercial purposes and composed of a copper-nickel clad – 75% copper and 25% nickel over the pure copper center.

Conversely, the coins struck in the San Francisco Mint were exclusively for collectors. The San Francisco Bicentennial halves included both uncirculated and proof sets.

On the one hand, the uncirculated version comprised a silver-clad alloy – 60% copper and 40% silver. On the other hand, the proof version included both silver-clad coins comparable to the uncirculated sets and clad coins with a similar composition to those minted in Philadelphia and Denver.

Quality and Durability

Due to the rush to produce the Bicentennial half-dollar coins for the country’s 200th-anniversary celebration, they weren’t struck with the best quality. These coins easily lost their glow and got dented if they weren’t well-preserved on time.

This tendency was more common with the circulated versions. Hence, Bicentennial halves may appear duller and more scratched than a regular Kennedy half-dollar coin in recent times. Still, this inclination isn’t always true.

Mintage Variety

Hundreds of millions of Bicentennial half-dollar coins of various versions were minted for different purposes at three mints between 1975 and 1976.

Therefore, the Bicentennial halves can be divided into four versions, including:

  • The clad business strikes: They were made in Philadelphia and Denver and totaled 521,873,248.
  • The clad proof: This variety was struck in the San Francisco Mint and totaled 7,059,099.
  • The silver-clad: This version was minted in San Francisco and totaled about 11,000,000.
  • The silver-clad proof: This version was also produced in the San Francisco Mint and totaled 4,000,000.

It’ll help to note these varieties of Bicentennial half-dollar coins before selling or acquiring them. You could refer to the ”coin’s composition” section above to learn their distinct composition.

Proof Sets

Some Bicentennial half-dollar coins reserved for collectors were packed in proof sets to distinguish them from the circulated lot.

Weight and Diameter

A Bicentennial half-dollar coin’s weight depends on its composition. If the coin is composed of clad (clad business strikes and clad proof versions), it’ll weigh 11.34 grams. Meanwhile, silver-clad-composed Bicentennial halves (silver-clad and silver-clad proof versions) are slightly weightier, with a mass of 11.50 grams.

Furthermore, the Bicentennial half’s diameter measures 30.6 mm. Hence, the Bicentennial Half Dollar is identical to the regular equivalent in weight and diameter.

The Coin’s Edge

The Bicentennial Half Dollar has a reeded edge like a typical Kennedy half-dollar coin.

Factors Influencing the Value of Bicentennial Half Dollar Coins: Are 1776 to 1976 Halves Valuable?

The price of Bicentennial half-dollar coins ranges from 50-cents (for the ordinary circulated-worn-pieces) to up to a thousand dollars for the few well-preserved, high-quality uncirculated versions. Hence, at their very least, Bicentennial halves are worth their face value.

Several elements determine a Bicentennial half’s fate in an auction. Here, we’ll inform you of these considerations to enable you to properly appraise a Bicentennial coin before collecting or auctioning it.

Some factors worth considering when acquiring or selling a Bicentennial half-dollar coin include:

  • The coin’s grade and condition
  • The version
  • The coin’s composition
  • Coin errors
  • Unusual varieties

We’ll elucidate how these factors influence the coin’s worth in the subsequent paragraphs.

The Coin’s Grade and Condition

The coin’s grade and condition are conceivably the most significant factor affecting the price of Bicentennial half-dollar coins. Generally, the Bicentennial coins weren’t manufactured in premium quality; this propensity made it easier for the coins to fade and wear out. Most of the available Bicentennial halves possess significant contact marks and dents.

Accordingly, the value of Bicentennial half-dollar coins increases with their condition. Several third-party grading systems are involved in rating the condition of Bicentennial halves.

The most trusted coin-grading systems include:

Bicentennial coins are typically graded on a scale of 1 to 70, with ”1” representing a poor and non-valuable condition and ”70” signifying the highest mint state possible. The highest graded Bicentennial half-dollar coin known is MS-69 (MS: Mint State)-an uncirculated silver-clad-and the most common quality Bicentennial halves fall between MS-64 and MS-65.

You’re more likely to have a high-quality Bicentennial half-dollar coin if you purchased a proof set when the coins were struck and thoroughly safeguarded until contemporary times. Yet, most individuals failed to take this action in 1975 and 1976.

The Version

Uncirculated Bicentennial half-dollar coins are more sought-after and valuable than the clad business strikes because they’re usually in less appealing conditions.

The Coin’s Composition

Silver is a more precious metal than copper and nickel. Thus, a silver-clad Bicentennial half will fetch a greater price than an ordinary copper-nickel clad equivalent, even if they’re in the same proof set. Many silver-clad Bicentennial half-dollar coins were lost to the Great Silver Melt of the late 1970s and early 1980s, making them relatively rare and more valuable.

Error Coins

Error Coins
@ctf_error_coins

Collectors are usually interested in coins with errors because of their rarity and uniqueness. When the Bicentennial halves were struck, some error coins were also minted. These coins with mint errors command a higher price than flawless coins due to the greater demand they attract, as ironic as that may sound.

Here are some error types you may find in Bicentennial half-dollar coins:

  • Rotated Reverse
  • Broad Struck
  • Obverse Struck Through
  • 1st Strike Full Brockage: This coin was struck between the obverse style and the obverse of a previously struck half-dollar.
  • Obverse Cap Die
  • Double Struck

Unusual Varieties

Unusual Varieties
@westcoastvarieties

Apart from the usual versions of Bicentennial half-dollar coins, there are a few rare varieties. These unique coins are often very valuable.

Some examples are listed below:

Double Die Obverse (DDO)

This rarity was seen on a San Francisco silver-clad Bicentennial half-dollar coin. It features a thickened texture of the obverse inscription “WE TRUST.

Double Die Reverse (DDR)

This oddity is also seen on a San Francisco silver-clad Bicentennial half. It involves a bolded texture of the reverse inscriptions “E PLURIBUS UNUM’’ andSGH.”

Notable Prices Fetched By the Bicentennial Half Dollar

Let’s briefly look at several instances where the Bicentennial Half Dollar amassed significant values.

  • PGCS estimated a 1976 MS-67+ Philadelphia Bicentennial half-dollar coin (the highest graded Philadelphia Bicentennial half-dollar piece) at $3,000, but it was never auctioned
  • A 1976 MS-66D Denver Bicentennial half-dollar coin with an Obverse Die Cap mint error fetched $3,737 in an auction
  • A 1976 MS-64 Denver Bicentennial half-dollar coin with a 1st Strike Full Brockage mint error sold at Heritage Auctions for $4,465
  • PGCS estimated the value of the only 1976 MS-69 silver-clad Bicentennial half-dollar coin at $7,000

FAQ

How much is 1776 to 1976 half dollar worth?

A Bicentennial half-dollar coin’s price ranges from 50 cents to more than a thousand dollars, depending on its condition.

Can I find a 1776 to 1976 half dollar on eBay?

Yes, you can find valuable Bicentennial half-dollar coins on e-commerce platforms like eBay.

Are there versions of 1776 to 1976 half dollars with no mint mark?

Yes, the Bicentennial half-dollar coins struck in the Philadelphia Mint bear no mintmark.

Final Thoughts

Bicentennial half-dollar coins are precious patriotic collectibles if you purchase them from a decent outlet and properly preserve them. Auction houses, coin dealers, and e-commerce sites are great options for acquiring and trading valuable Bicentennial Half Dollar.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.