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Silver half dollars, like their larger silver dollar counterparts, are big silver coins that are popular collectibles and investment tools.
While there are many reasons to collect silver dollars, there are some added benefits and numismatic possibilities to consider with silver half dollars.
Silver Dollars vs Silver Half Dollars
Unless you’re an avid coin collector, you’re probably most familiar with silver dollars.
It’s time for you to find out why silver half dollars also are popular in both coin collecting and coin investing.
Here are 5 reasons you’ll want to consider collecting silver half dollars — along with all the other coins you collect:
#1 – Silver Half Dollars Offer Many Designs
Unlike silver dollars, which offer only 2 widely affordable designs (the Morgan silver dollar and the Peace silver dollar), silver half dollars come in several affordable designs:
- Barber half dollar
- Walking Liberty half dollar
- Franklin half dollar
- Kennedy half dollar (90% silver in 1964)
Of course, depending on your particular budget, you might opine that Bust half dollars and Seated Liberty half dollars are also affordable. However, those two designs have prices based solely on numismatic value.
On the other hand, prevailing silver prices tend to influence the values of many Barber halves, Walking Liberty halves, Franklin halves, and Kennedy halves, especially in lower grades.
#2 – Silver Half Dollars Are Cheaper Than Silver Dollars
If you want to get your hands on silver but running on a tight budget, you might find half dollars a good compromise in terms of both price and desirability.
Pure and simple, when you’re buying well worn, common silver coins (commonly referred to as junk silver), half dollars cost only about half that of a common silver dollar. This fact is particularly important to those who have perhaps only $10 or $20 a week to invest in silver and want to get their hands on something.
While $20 may not be enough to buy a silver dollar in the current market, it could fetch 2 silver half dollars from the coin dealer’s junk box — or perhaps a silver half dollar, a silver quarter, and two silver dimes.
#3 – Silver Half Dollars Can Be Found In Bank Rolls
While we don’t see many half dollars in circulation anymore, they’re still pretty easy to find at your local bank. What’s more, it’s relatively easy to find silver half dollars if you look enough.
On top of being able to get half dollars for only face value (instead of the markups usually encountered when buying), there’s always the thrill of the hunt — searching through bank rolls of half dollars can be both fun and rewarding.
Here’s a video about finding silver half dollars in bank rolls:
#4 – Silver Half Dollars Provide Sleeper Opportunities
Everybody loves silver dollars, right? So with all the attention on the bigger silver pieces, many half dollars are simply being ignored by silver dollar-minded coin collectors and investors.
Especially among the Walking Liberty half dollar series and Franklin half dollars, there are many bargains to be had. Millions of those coins have been melted over the years for their silver content, and many dates — especially those in higher grades — are much scarcer than their mintages suggest.
Don’t forget that even the common date, low grade pieces may offer some potential value down the road. Should more people begin collecting Walking Liberty half dollars or Franklin half dollar by date and mintmark (a collecting method popular with Lincoln cents), demand and prices could appreciate all around.
#5 – Half Dollars Are Small & Versatile
Unlike the large silver dollar, half dollars are quite a bit smaller and not nearly as heavy. These physical features can make the half dollar somewhat more appealing in the sense they can store in a smaller space (such as in a safe deposit box) than silver dollars.
And, ultimately, there is the liquidity of half dollars — while it’s pretty hard to imagine being able to spend large silver dollars in an emergency (it’s safe to say very few people working cash registers today know what old silver dollars even look like), half dollars are quite a bit easier to spend.
Not only do many stores still readily accept half dollars, there are still paper coin wrappers available for half dollars — not the case with large-size silver dollars.
My love for coins began when I was 11 years old. I primarily collect and study U.S. coins produced during the 20th century. I'm a member of the American Numismatic Association (ANA) and the Numismatic Literary Guild (NLG) and have won multiple awards from the NLG for my work as a coin journalist. I'm also the editor at CDN Publishing (a trusted source for the price of U.S. rare coins), editor at the Florida United Numismatists Club (FUN Topics magazine), and author of Images of America: The United States Mint in Philadelphia (a book that explores the colorful history of the Philadelphia Mint). I've contributed hundreds of articles for various coin publications including COINage, The Numismatist, Numismatic News, Coin Dealer Newsletter, Coin Values, and CoinWeek. I've also authored nearly 1,000 articles here at The Fun Times Guide to Coins — and I welcome your coin questions in the comments below!