Collectible US Barber Half Dollar Coins

Few people have had as much impact on U.S. coinage as Charles E. Barber (1840 - 1917). The son of William Barber, who was the Mint’s Chief Engraver from 1869 to 1979, Charles Barber spent almost 40 years in the post his father occupied until his untimely death. The dimes, quarters, and half dollars the younger Barber designed, all of which were released in 1892, are routinely named for him today by coin collectors and scholars alike.

The Barber or Liberty Head half dollar, as it is also known, featured essentially the same obverse and reverse and the Barber quarter. The Barber dime has the same obverse but a different reverse, in which the half dollar and quarter’s heraldic eagle has been replaced by a wreath and the words “ONE DIME.”

In a way, none of these designs should exist, but the Mint Act of 1890 dictated that the design of coins must change every 25 years—dimes, quarters, and half dollars were due for a face lift in 1891. At the U.S. Treasury’s instigation, 300 sculptors submitted designs for these coins but they all faced a very tough juror, Charles E. Barber, who most experts agree wanted the opportunity for himself all along. Not surprisingly, then, Barber ended up redesigning the coins.

The Seated Liberty half dollars that preceded Barber’s version depicted the full figure of Lady Liberty, clad in robes and holding a shield. The Barber coins revealed only Liberty’s head and neck. Among other characteristics, the coin is notable for its profusion of stars—13 appear on both the obverse and reverse, a double nod, no doubt, to the nation’s founding 13 colonies.

Throughout its run from 1892 until 1915, the Barber half dollar was minted in plentiful amounts. Although the coins was modified slightly in 1901 to sharpen the appearance of the leaves in one of the eagle’s talons, and again in 1908 and 1912 (in these cases, the changes are really the result of new hubs), the coin had a mostly sleepy history.

The exceptions occurred in 1892, when the “O” mintmark to designate the New Orleans mint was struck at the same size as the “O” mintmark used on quarters. This “microscopic O,” as it is called, is far more rare than other coins minted in New Orleans that year, and typically trades at 20 times the normal version’s value.

Other Barber half dollars that are especially prized by collectors include the 1901, 1904, and 1907 coins minted in San Francisco—of the three, those from 1904 are the rarest.


Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Legendary Coins and Currency

Legendary Coins and Currency

This online exhibition from the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History is a great way to get an overview… [read review or visit site]

Society of U.S. Pattern Collectors

Society of U.S. Pattern Collectors

Home to the Society of U.S. Pattern collectors, this well-organized site provides in-depth information on pattern c… [read review or visit site]



Clubs & Associations

Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

1899 Pcgs Ms64 Original Colorful Toned Barber Half Dollar1892-o Key Date Barber Half Dollar Ngc Vg10. Nice Original High End Vg!1915-d Barber Half, Pcgs Au-55, Lustrous, Hint Of Gold (estatesale Is Now Dkrc)1892 S Barber Half Dollar Key Date 50c Coin 90% Silver Us Type Coin's 92-s 1904-s Key Date Barber Half Dollar, Pcgs Vf-25, Decent & Very Tough (estatesale)1897-s Barber Half Dollar Good (g) - Circulated Silver Half Dollar1914 Barber Half Dollar Very Good (vg) - Semi-key Date Silver Half DollarOriginal Silver Half Dollar Roll 40% 90% Barber & 1964 Kennedy Halves Show #0031894 O Barber Half Dollar 50 Cent Silver U.s. Type Coin Huge Barber Sale 1892 O Barber Half Dollar 50 Cent Silver U.s. Type Coin Huge Barber Sale Key1913 P Barber Half Dollar Silver 50 Cent U.s. Type Coins Huge Barber Sale Key1897-o 50c Barber Half Dollar Pcgs & Cac Vf 251905-s 50c Barber Half Dollar Au55 Details Attractive Coin Good Date No Reserve1893 Ms++++ Barber Half Dollar From Big Collection1892 S Barber Half Dollar Silver Coin Key Date Coin Name Your Price!!1895 S Barber Silver Half Dollar Coin #1459 $ Us Mint$rare1907-d Barber Half Dollar 50c - Ngc Au58 Certified & Graded1904 Barber Half Dollar Extra Fine (ef) - Circulated Xf Silver Half DollarNice 1892-o Barber Half1915 Barber Half Dollar Silver 50 Cent U.s. Type Coins Huge Barber Sale Key1912 S Barber Half Dollar Silver 50 Cent U.s. Type Coins Huge Barber Sale 1835 Bust Half Dollar 501897 O Barber Half Dollar *key Date*, Ngc Certified Xf Awesome Coin, 90% Silver Barber Half Dollar 1914 Nice Condition1913 P 50c Barber Half Dollar Key Date1898 1899 1900 1901 1902 Silver Barber Half Dollars ***lot Of 5*** Good-vg1903 O Barber Half Dollar Silver 50 Cent U.s. Type Coin Huge Barber Sale 1898-o 50c Barber Half Dollar1902 Barber Half Dollar (au+)---look @ Photos And Grade Yourself1892-o Barber Half Dollat Key Date (low Grade Legible Date/mintmark)1908 Barber Half Dollar- Proof 1896 Barber Half Dollar Silver 50 Cent U.s. Type Coin Huge Barber Sale 1908 O Barber Silver Half Dollar Full Liberty (es1915 S Barber Half Dollar Silver 50 Cent U.s. Type Coins Huge Barber Sale1892 Barber Half Dollar 50 Cent Silver U.s. Type Coin Huge Barber Sale1915 D Barber Half Dollar Silver 50 Cent U.s. Type Coins Huge Barber Sale1896-s 50c Barber Half Dollar 90% Us Coin Silver Key Date No Reserve Ag G1901 Barber Half Dollar CoinBarber Half Dollar 1897s Nice Condition1900-s Barber Half Dollar, Beautiful High Grade Silver Coin1913-p Barber Half Dollar - Very Scarce Key Date - Mintage Only 188,000 -1914 P Barber Silver Half Dollar Ngc Vg 10 1897 O Barber Half Dollar, Key Date, Ngc Certified, Nice Color, 90% Silver Fourty Three (43) Different Barber Halves. Average Circ. Some Better.Lot Of 5 - Barber Half Dollars - 1900, 1901 O, 1902 O, 1903 O, And 1906 O1902-o, 1906, 1907-o, 1909, Barber Half Dollars, 90% Silver (#46)1896 O Barber Half Dollar Silver Coin Semi Key Date Coin1898 O Barber Half Dollar (ngc Graded) Full Mint Strike Good1915 Barber Half Dollar ** Free Shipping!3 Barber Half Dollars 1906 1906 D & 1907 U.s. Type Coins Huge Barber Sale 1898 Barber Half Dollar Silver 50 Cent U.s. Type Coin Huge Barber Sale 1912 D Barber Half Dollar...fine Grade..fully Original...no Reserve AuctionBarber Half Dollar 1897o Nice Condition1897 O Barber Half Dollar, Ngc Xf Details, Awesome Color, *key Date* 90% Silver 1913 Barber Half Dollar Silver Coin Key Date Coin1898-s San Francisco Mint Barber Silver Half Dollar Fine Condition3 Barber Half Dollars 1907 O 1908 & 1908 D U.s. Type Coins Huge Barber Sale 1910 Barber Half Dollar Coin3 Barber Half Dollars 1911 S 1912 & 1912 D U.s. Type Coins Huge Barber Sale 1894 S 1895 & 1895 S 3 Barber Half Dollars U.s. Type Coins Huge Barber Sale