Half dollar (United States coin)

The half dollar, sometimes referred to as the half for short or 50-cent piece, is a United States coin worth 50 cents, or one half of a dollar. It is the largest United States circulating coin currently produced[1] in both size and weight, being 1.205 inches (30.61 millimeters) in diameter and 0.085 in (2.16 mm) in thickness, and is twice the weight of the quarter. The coin's design has undergone a number of changes throughout its history. Since 1964, the half dollar depicts the profile of President John F. Kennedy on the obverse and the Seal of the President of the United States on the reverse.[2]

Half dollar
United States
Value0.50 U.S. dollar
Mass11.340 g (0.365 troy oz)
Diameter30.61 mm (1.205 in)
Thickness2.15 mm (0.085 in)
Edge150 reeds
Composition1964: 90% Ag 10% Cu; 1965-1970: 60% Cu 40% Ag 1971-Present: 91.67% Cu 8.33% Ni
Years of minting1794–1797, 1801–1803, 1805–1815, 1817–1921, 1923, 1927–1929, 1933–present
Catalog number
Obverse
DesignJohn F. Kennedy
DesignerGilroy Roberts
Design date1964
Reverse
DesignPresidential Seal
DesignerFrank Gasparro
Design date1964

Though not commonly used today, half-dollar coins have a long history of heavy use alongside other denominations of coinage, but have faded out of general circulation for many reasons. They were produced in fairly large quantities until the year 2002, when the U.S. Mint ceased production of the coin for general circulation. As a result of its decreasing usage, many pre-2002 half dollars remain in Federal Reserve vaults, prompting the change in production. Presently, collector half dollars can be ordered directly from the U.S. Mint,[2] and pre-2002 circulation half dollars may be ordered through most American banks and credit unions. In 2021, half dollars began to be produced for general circulation again.[3]


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