The Top 15 Most Valuable Half Dollars

five of the most valuable United States half dollars
Heritage Auction Galleries

At one time, half dollars were the workhorse of the United States economy. Today, half dollars are seldom seen and rarely received in change. However, these half dollars are highly collectible and are worth more than the average house today.

 

  • 01 of 15

    1839 Proof Liberty Seated Half Dollar - No Drapery

    Value: $241,500
    Grade: NGC PR-65
    Sold: April-May 2009; Heritage Auctions, CSNS US Coin Auction, Cincinnati, OH

    The United States Mint first produced the Liberty Seated half dollar in 1839. The more common design shows Lady Liberty with an additional piece of drapery extending from her left arm. However, there were a few Proof specimens produced without this additional piece of drapery. Numismatists estimate that the mint produced approximately six Proof coins in 1839. This extremely rare Proof...MORE coin dictates its value at almost one-quarter of a million dollars.

  • 02 of 15

    1827 Proof Capped Bust Half Dollar

    Value: $258,500
    Grade: PCGS PR-67
    Sold: Feb 2016; Stack's/Bowers, The D. Brent Pogue Collection, Part III, Sotheby's, New York, NY

    D. Brent Pogue assembled one of the finest quality collections of classic United States coinage of all time. He is known for his astute eye for quality and an unlimited budget to buy coins. Almost half of the fifteen most valuable half dollars are from the Pogue Collection. The mint produced approximately eight 1827 Proof half dollars. To find one in almost...MORE pristine condition is extremely difficult and dictates a price that only the extremely wealthy can afford to purchase.

  • 03 of 15

    1807 Capped Bust Half Dollar - Large Stars

    Value: $258,500
    Grade: PCGS MS-66
    Sold: September 2015; Stack's/Bowers, The D. Brent Pogue Collection, Part II, Sotheby's, New York, NY

    The United States Mint produces Proof coins specifically for coin collectors, and they are not intended to circulate in commerce. Therefore, most Proof coins show no signs of surface wear because coin collectors immediately add them to their collection. Fortunately, a coin collector long ago saved this coin from the rigors of circulation. Its surfaces are...MORE in immaculate condition, and the coin is extremely well struck showing even the smallest detail. A beautiful, high-quality specimen such as this commands a high dollar value.

  • 04 of 15

    1919-D Walking Liberty Half Dollar

    Value: $270,250
    Grade: PCGS MS-66
    Sold: November 2004; Heritage Auctions, Signature Sale, Palm Beach, FL

    Although the United States Mint made over one million half dollars at the Denver mint facility in 1919, half dollars from this year are by no means rare. However, this coin is extremely well struck, and only a few minor imperfections are visible on the surface. This particular specimen is the finest known 1919-D Walking Liberty half dollar. Any coin collector wishing to add it to their...MORE collection will have to pay dearly for it.

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  • 05 of 15

    1855-S Proof Liberty Seated Half Dollar

    Value: $276,000
    Grade: NGC PR-65
    Sold: August 2011; Heritage Auctions, Chicago Signature U.S. Coin & Platinum Night

    This 1855-S Proof Liberty Seated half dollar is unique on several fronts. First, the mint produced Proof coins for coin collectors mainly at the Philadelphia mint facility. The San Francisco mint facility produced approximately three of these half dollars. Second, over polishing during the die preparation led to the removal of the drapery under Lady Liberty's left arm. Both of...MORE these factors combine to make this an extremely rare Liberty Seated half dollar.

  • 06 of 15

    1801 Draped Bust Half Dollar

    Value: $329,000
    Grade: NGC MS-64
    Sold: November 2013; Eric P. Newman Collection Part II, New York, NY

    In 1801 the United States Mint produced 30,289 half dollars. This low mintage makes this a rare coin by any measure. However, this more than 200-year-old coin is still in Mint State condition. Coupled with its colorful toning and excellent eye appeal, this makes it an attractive addition to any coin collection. Numismatist Eric P. Newman had an eye for quality and only purchased the finest coins...MORE for his collection. This finest known example makes it a high-value coin.

  • 07 of 15

    1817/4 Capped Bust Half Dollar - Overdate

    Value: $356,500
    Grade: PCGS AU-50
    Sold: July 2009; Stack's, Treasures from the S.S. New York,

    In the early 1800s, the United States Mint produced coin dies by hand. This process was slow and labor-intensive. The mint reused coin dies from previous years to save money. They did this by grinding off part of the date and re-punching a numeral to form the new date. There is evidence of a "4" underneath the last digit of the date. There are only eight known examples of this rare die variety,...MORE and this is the finest known specimen.

  • 08 of 15

    1839-O Proof Capped Bust Half Dollar

    Value: $373,750
    Grade: NGC PR-65
    Sold: February 2008; Ira & Larry Goldberg, Pre-Long Beach, Long Beach, CA

    Here is another example of a Proof coin produced at a branch mint. The Philadelphia mint facility produced all the other Proof Capped Bust half dollars except for the 1838 and 1839 dated coins that were minted in New Orleans. Any advanced coin collector seeking a Proof specimen of a Capped Bust half dollar produced at a branch mint will have to fork over a large amount of money since less...MORE than thirty of them exist. Additionally, this is one of only three of the finest known examples of the 1839-O Proof half dollars.

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  • 09 of 15

    1795 Flowing Hair Half Dollar - Two Leaves

    Value: $411,250
    Grade: PCGS MS-65
    Sold: May 2015; Stack's/Bowers, The D. Brent Pogue Collection, Part I, Sotheby's, New York, NY

    1795 was only the second year that the mint produced half dollars. Since workers at the mint cut the coin dies by hand, this manual process produced several die varieties. This particular variety has two leaves on the wreath underneath the eagle's wings. Other varieties have a group of three leaves under the eagle's wings. This coin is the only Mint State...MORE example that exists of this rare die variety and is valued at close to half a million dollars.

  • 10 of 15

    1853-O Liberty Seated Half Dollar - No Arrows

    Value: $517,000
    Grade: PCGS VF-35
    Sold: August 2017; Stack's/Bowers, ANA - Session 4 - Rarities Night, Denver, CO

    The U.S. Mint produced the Liberty Seated half dollar in every year from 1839 until 1891. The designs varied slightly over the years, but the basic obverse and reverse major design elements remain the same. The half dollars minted in New Orleans in 1853 were supposed to have arrows on either side of the date and sun rays above the eagle on the reverse. This coin has neither in only...MORE four examples are known. Adding this rarity to your coin collection will set you back over a half a million dollars.

  • 11 of 15

    1796 Draped Bust Half Dollar - 15 Stars

    Value: $587,500
    Grade: PCGS SP-63
    Sold: May 2015; Stack's/Bowers, The D. Brent Pogue Collection, Part I, Sotheby's, New York, NY

    Here is yet another Early American half dollar from the D. Brent Pogue coin collection. Typical of coins in the Pogue collection, quality and beauty are what sets this coin apart from all others. Over 200 years ago, mint workers specially made this coin for some coin collector that is now long gone. With the total mintage of almost 4,000 pieces, it is amazing that...MORE this extremely well-preserved coin has survived and as such dictates such a high price.

  • 12 of 15

    1838-O Proof Capped Bust Half Dollar

    Value: $763,750
    Grade: NGC PR-64
    Sold: January 2014; Heritage Auctions, FUN U.S. Coin Signature Auction, Orlando, FL

    American numismatic researchers believe that this is the oldest Proof coin produced at any branch mint outside of the Philadelphia mint facility. There are no official records of how many Proof half dollars were made, but researchers believe the New Orleans mint produced less than twenty. There are a few minor imperfections on the surface of the coin, but its multicolored toning adds...MORE to its inherent beauty. 

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  • 13 of 15

    1794 Flowing Hair Half Dollar

    Value: $763,750
    Grade: PCGS MS-64
    Sold: May 2015; Stack's/Bowers, The D. Brent Pogue Collection, Part I, Sotheby's, New York, NY

    One can expect that the finest known specimen of America's first half dollar came from the Pogue coin collection. The mint in Philadelphia manufactured only 23,464 half dollars in its second year of operation. This beautifully preserved specimen exhibits a deep golden-gray toning that enhances its beauty and history. To hold a relic of early American coinage...MORE in your hands has only been experienced by a few individuals.

  • 14 of 15

    1796 Draped Bust Half Dollar - 16 Stars

    Value: $822,500
    Grade: PCGS MS-66
    Sold: May 2015; Stack's/Bowers, The D. Brent Pogue Collection, Part I, Sotheby's, New York, NY

    The United States Mint continued to struggle to produce half dollars in 1796. The mint only produced 3,918 half dollars that year. This mintage was a significant decrease from the almost 300,000 half dollars produced the previous year. The pristine surface preservation of this coin, coupled with its beautiful multicolored toning enhance its beauty and value that...MORE makes it worthy of inclusion in the Pogue coin collection.

  • 15 of 15

    1797 Draped Bust Half Dollar

    Value: $1,527,500
    Grade: PCGS MS-66
    Sold: May 2015; Stack's/Bowers, The D. Brent Pogue Collection, Part I, Sotheby's, New York, NY

    The most valuable half dollar is the crowning jewel of The D. Brent Pogue Collection of United States half dollars. Except for some slight weakness on the curls of Lady Liberty's hair, the design details are clear and well defined. The coin has outstanding mint luster that is enhanced by its attractive blue and champagne-gold toning. On other examples of...MORE this coin, the details on the eagle on the reverse are soft. This coin is the exception with sharp and distinct details on the eagle. All these factors combined make it the most valuable half dollar ever!