Lot Number:46
Start Time:5/23/2024 4:00:00 AM
End Time:6/9/2024 10:25:30 PM
Bid Count:7
Winning Bidder:j****s
Starting Bid:$1.00
Bid Increment:$1.50
Current Bid:$11.25
Bidding complete

The Capped Bust Half Dollar: A Short-Lived Classic (1807-1836)

The Capped Bust Half Dollar, minted from 1807 to 1836, serves as a bridge between the early design aesthetics of U.S. coinage and the more refined motifs to come. Here's a detailed look at its history, specifications, and significance for collectors:

Historical Context:

  • Evolution from Draped Bust: The Capped Bust Half Dollar succeeded the Draped Bust Half Dollar (1796-1807), which featured Liberty with flowing hair draped across her bust. The new design reflected a shift towards a more idealized portrayal of Liberty.
  • Shifting Artistic Influences: The early 19th century saw a growing influence of neoclassical art on American design. The Capped Bust Half Dollar's imagery echoes this trend with its focus on sharp lines and a sense of stoicism.

Design Variations (Two Types):

  • Type 1, Lettered Edge (1807-1836): This is the most common variation. The obverse (heads) features Liberty facing left, wearing a cap secured by a ribbon inscribed "LIBERTY." The reverse (tails) depicts an eagle perched on an olive branch, clutching arrows, with "E PLURIBUS UNUM" on a scroll above and the denomination ("50 CENTS" or "HALF DOL.") encircled by "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA." The edge is inscribed with the lettering "FIFTY CENTS OR HALF A DOLLAR."
  • Type 2, Reeded Edge, "50 CENTS" on Reverse (1836-1837): This less common variation eliminates the lettering on the edge and replaces "HALF DOL." with "50 CENTS" on the reverse.


  • Diameter: 30.5 mm (approximately 1.2 inches)
  • Weight: 13.5 grams (approximately 0.42 ounces)
  • Composition: 89.2% silver, 10.8% copper
  • Designer: John Reich (Concept); Modifications by William Kneass (Chief Engraver)
  • Mints: Philadelphia (no mintmark), New Orleans (mintmark "O")

Interesting Facts:

  • Short Mintage: Compared to some longer-running series, the Capped Bust Half Dollar has a relatively short mintage, making some dates and mintmarks scarcer for collectors.
  • Quality Variations: The quality of striking (sharpness of design elements) can vary considerably for Capped Bust Half Dollars. This is especially true for later issues.
  • Rarity of New Orleans Mintmark: Coins minted in New Orleans ("O" mintmark) are generally scarcer and more valuable to collectors.

Collecting Capped Bust Half Dollars:

  • Condition: As always, a coin's condition significantly impacts its value. Higher grades (MS63 and above) from reputable grading services like PCGS or NGC command a premium.
  • Type and Variety: Identifying the specific type (Lettered Edge or Reeded Edge) and any interesting die varieties can influence value.
  • Mintmark: New Orleans mintmark ("O") coins are generally more valuable.
  • Date Rarity: Certain dates within the series may be scarcer and hold a higher premium.

Where to Find Capped Bust Half Dollars:

  • You can find Capped Bust Half Dollars at coin shops, online marketplaces like eBay, or through auctions.
  • When considering a purchase, ensure the coin is authentic and has been graded by a reputable service if it's in potentially higher condition.

The Capped Bust Half Dollar, despite its relatively short mintage, remains a significant chapter in U.S. coinage history. Its design embodies the artistic transitions of the early 19th century and offers a glimpse into the evolution of American coin imagery.

No donations for this lot

Thank you for visiting our online coin auction. While other sellers are increasing their prices, we are reducing our buyer premium from 18% to 15% to offer you greater value. Our shipping is always fast and cost-effective.

We have been selling coins online since 1996—almost since the inception of the internet! With over 70,000 positive feedback and hundreds of thousands of coins sold, we prioritize making your auction experience enjoyable. Your business is important to us, and we aim to build a lasting relationship with you. Look forward to top-notch service and a new selection of interesting items up for auction weekly. Be sure to sign up for our email notifications for upcoming coin and currency auctions.

After the auction concludes, you will receive an invoice via email with a link to complete payment using your credit card or PayPal account. We also offer a 2% discount for money orders or checks.

United States