Barber Half Dollar

1892 – 1915

The Barber Half Dollar is also referred to as the Liberty Head Half Dollar. Throughout the 1880s relatively little quarters and halves were struck as the government had sufficient stock piles of older coins in it’s vaults to satisfy demand. By 1890 the stockpile of quarters and halves  had dropped to levels low enough as to require more normal production numbers. At this time plans were being made to modify the design of US silver coins.

In 1890 a contest was setup at the behest of Mint Director James P. Kimball to obtain a new design for US silver coins. The Treasury received around 300 entries, but not a single one was deemed to be good enough for use on the new coins. In 1891 the task of designing the new coins was turned over to Charles E. Barber, chief sculptor and engraver for the U.S. Mint.

Barber Half Dollar

Barber Half Dollar

The obverse of the Barber Half Dollar features the head of Lady Liberty with her hair tucked up inside a cap which is tied with a ribbon at the base. A laurel wreath runs along Liberty’s hair line and a diadem with the word “LIBERTY” is positioned above her brow. The coin bears the words “IN GOD WE TRUST” in an arc along the top and the date at the bottom. There are also 13 stars to represent the 13 original colonies; 7 on the right and 6 on the left. At the base of the neck just above the date there is a “B”, which is the designer’s initial.

Barber Half Dollar

Barber Half Dollar

The reverse side of the Barber Half has the Heraldic Eagle which has the Union Shield across its breast, an olive branch is held in the right talons and 13 arrows in its left talons. In its beak it holds a ribbon with the words “E PLURIBUS UNUM”. A field containing 13 stars appears above the eagle and below the words “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” which run in an arc along the top. Mintmarks are placed below the eagles tail feathers, just above the words “HALF DOLLAR” which appear at the bottom.

The Barber Half was struck for 24 years and can be found in 73 different date and Mintmark combinations. In total, only about 136 million Barber Halves were ever minted. An interesting point here is that more than twice as many Kennedy Halves were struck in 1964 alone.

The harder to find Barber Halves include 1892-O, 1892-S, 1893-S, 1896-S, 1901-S, 1904-S, 1913, 1914 and 1915, although none of these are considered to be extremely rare.

Barber Half Dollar Specifications

  • Minted: 1892 – 1915
  • Diameter: 30.6 mm
  • Weight: 12.5 g
  • Composition: 90% Silver 10% Copper
  • Edge: Reeded
  • Designer: Charles E. Barber

By D. Slone, Copyright 2011 CoinCollectorGuide.com

Barber Half Dollar Mintage Numbers

1892 … 934,000
1892-O … 390,000
1892-S … 1,029,028
1893 … 1,826,000
1893-O … 1,389,000
1893-S … 740,000
1894 … 1,148,000
1894-O … 2,138,000
1894-S … 4,048,960
1895 … 1,834,338
1895-O … 1,766,000
1895-S … 1,108,086
1896 … 950,000
1896-O … 924,000
1896-S … 1,140,948
1897 … 2,480,000
1897-O … 632,000
1897-S … 933,900
1898 … 2,956,000
1898-O … 874,000
1898-S … 2,358,550
1899 … 5,538,000
1899-O … 1,724,000
1899-S … 1,686,411
1900 … 4,762,000
1900-O … 2,744,000
1900-S … 2,560,322
1901 … 4,268,000
1901-O … 1,124,000
1901-S … 847,044
1902 … 4,922,000
1902-O … 2,526,000
1902-S … 1,460,670
1903 … 2,278,000
1903-O … 2,100,000
1903-S … 1,920,772
1904 … 2,992,000
1904-O … 1,117,600
1904-S … 553,038
1905 … 662,000
1905-O … 505,000
1905-S … 2,494,000
1906 … 2,638,000
1906-D … 4,028,000
1906-O … 2,446,000
1906-S … 1,740,154
1907 … 2,598,000
1907-D … 3,856,000
1907-O … 3,946,000
1907-S … 1,250,000
1908 … 1,354,000
1908-D … 3,280,000
1908-O … 5,360,000
1908-S … 1,644,828
1909 … 2,368,000
1909-O … 925,400
1909-S … 1,764,000
1910 … 418,000
1910-S … 1,948,000
1911 … 1,406,000
1911-D … 695,080
1911-S … 1,272,000
1912 … 1,550,000
1912-D … 2,300,800
1912-S … 1,370,000
1913 … 188,000
1913-D … 534,000
1913-S … 604,000
1914 … 124,230
1914-S … 992,000
1915 … 138,000
1915-D … 1,170,400
1915-S … 1,604,000


Filed under: Half Dollars,Silver Coins

Comments

2 Responses to “Barber Half Dollar”
  1. David Kopec says:

    I do have a certified 1892O Micro o Barber half dollar.

  2. Gary Lovgren says:

    I have a 1890-s Barber half dollar in fine condition. I realize they were designed in 1891 by Charles Barber but they weren’t circulated till 1892. If that’s true, what do you think I have? Can you send me some information. Thank you

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