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Hunting for Half Dollars
By Robert R. Van Ryzin, Coins Magazine
January 15, 2014

This article was originally printed in Coins Magazine.
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This March 2014 issue of Coins has a focus on half dollars. Although these coins are scarce in pocket change, they continue to be found in banks. Searching rolls can be fun and often yields silver versions of the half dollar. See Krause Publications’ intern Connor Falk’s article on his recent experience in hunting for collectible coins.

Particularly overlooked are the 40 percent silver Kennedy half dollars. These don’t stand out as much as the 90 percent versions, but are easy to detect by their date, 1965-1970. The 1970 was only released in mint sets, so ostensibly you need to look for 1965-1969 coins for 40 percent silver and 1964 (Kennedy) and before for 90 percent silver.

Half dollars have a special place in my heart, as this is the denomination I started with. I like a lot of the earlier designs, such as the Walking Liberty and the Seated Liberty, but at the time I started collecting, in the 1970s, I didn’t have a lot of money. So, being attracted to uncirculated coins, I went for the series I could obtain inexpensively and still have high-grade coins.

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Though I never completed the set, I still own several Mint State-65 Franklins with full bell lines. These coins were really inexpensive then and well worth the money. My 1949-S with full bell lines, in Mint State-65, cost me a pittance at the time, as very few others were collecting these coins—full bell lines or not.

From a standpoint of investment, other series would have certainly been more lucrative, but this series offered a good chance to hone my grading skills, obtain some top-notch coins, and learn other hobby basics without risking a large amount of money.

Happy collecting.


More Coin Collecting Resources:

• Strike it rich with this U.S. coins value pack.

• Get the 2012 Coin of the Year – limited quantities remain!

• Build an impressive collection with Coin Collecting 101.


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