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The Barber dime has the same obverse but a different reverse, in which the half dollar and quarter’s heraldic eagle has been replaced by a wreath and the words “ONE DIME.”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    

Complete 1892-1915 (71 Coins) Ag/vg Barber Half Dollar Album Set Id#o7031894-o Better Date Barber Half, Pcgs Xf-40 Ogh, Lt Olive - David Kahn Rare Coins1911 Pcgs Xf45 Barber Half Dollar - No ReserveLot Of 3 Key Dates Barber Half's 1904 - S, 1913 , 1915 .Barber Half Dollar, 1893-o, Very Fine, Strong Liberty, Scarce, .3617 Oz SilverComplete 1892-1915 (73 Coins) Ag/vg Barber Half Dollar Album Id#z9861908 Barber Half Dollar, Pcgs Xf-40, Original & Pleasing - David Kahn Rare Coins1902 Barber Half Dollar, Pcgs Xf-45, Crusty & Original - David Kahn Rare Coins1910-s Barber Half Dollar, Ngc Vf 351903-s & 1904 Barber 90% Silver Half Dollars F Fine 1895 S Barber Half Dollar F/vf ConditionLot Of 4 Key Dates Barber Half's 1898, 1906-d , 1907-o, 1909 -s 1892 50c Barber Half Dollar U.s. Coin 50 Cent1914 Barber Half Dollar1897-s Pcgs Vf-25 Barber Half Dollar (key Date)(12) 6 Dollars In Face Barber Half Dollar Silver Coin Lot @ O1893 O Pcgs Vf20 Barber Dime 10c 1898-o Better Date Barber Half Dollar, Pcgs Vf-20, Orig - David Kahn Rare Coins4 Different Barber Half Dollars: 1893, 1894, 1894-s And 1895-s - True Auction!!1899 Barber Half Dollar Ngc Ms62 Cac Rare Type Coin Old Money Nice UncirculatedExcellent Lot Of 22 Old Barber Half Dollars ~ Mixed From 1895 To 1915 ~ No Res1908 D Barber Half Dollar Au Condition1894 Barber Half Dollar Coin - Ngc Xf 401912 Silver Barber Half Dollar Free Shipping!1900 Barber Silver  half Dollar Ngc Xf451907 U.s. Barber Half Dollar - Pcgs Ms621915 Barber Half Dollar Pcgs Vg-08 Low Mintage!1906 O Barber Silver Half Dollar1915 Key Date Barber Half's 1893-s 50c Circulated Barber Half Dollar1898 P Barber Half Dollar Extremely Nice Coin Toning You Grade - No ReserveLot Of 8 Barber Half Dollars.1907 Barber Half Dollar. Vf/xf Coin. No Reserve And Free Shipping!1901 Us Barber Half Dollar Nice DetailsBarber Half Dollar - 501908-d Silver Barber Half Dollar Liberty Head Pcgs Au-55 Bright White!Barber Head Half Dollars! Lot Of 11 Great Coins! 1894-1915 , 90% Silver!Silver Barber Halves **lot Of 6** Vg-fine 1898 1899 1901-o 1902-s 1904-o 1906-d1897-1907 Us Silver Barber Half Dollar Coin Lot Of 8 Circulated 90% Silver1915 D Barber Half Dollar Xf Condition Dark1911-s Silver Barber Half Dollar Free Shipping!1900-o United States Barber Head Half Dollar ( Fine )1911-s Us Barber Half Dollar1898-p Us Barber Silver Half Dollar 50c Coin *l@@k At All Our Terrific Coins!*1901-1915 Us Silver Barber Half Dollar Coins Mix Lot Of 11 Circulated 90% Silver1892 To 1915 Barber Head Half Dollar Collection ** Free Shipping**Lot: Six (6) Barber Silver Half Dollar Coins, Mixed Dates - No ReserveLot 7 Barber Half-dollars 1900-s, 1906-d, 1908-o, 1913-s, 1914-s, 1915-d, 1915-s1912 Barber Half Dollar Coin Punched W/ Lady Liberty Watch Fob Key Chain Stamped1915-d Us Barber Half Dollar1902 Silver Barber Half Dollar Free Shipping!1904-o Us Barber Silver Half Dollar 50c Coin *l@@k At All Our Terrific Coins!*1908 Silver Barber Half Dollar Free Shipping!1902 25c Barber Quarter No Reserve Auction1893-s Barber Liberty Silver Half Dollar Nice Circulated: Combined Shipping1811 Small 8 Bust Half Dollar Details1901 Barber Half Dollar Au Condition Some Corrosion1913-p Barber Half Dollar - Good Details - Key Date - Low Mintage 188k1914 S Barber Half Dollars - Nice Fine+ ConditionBarber Half Dollar, 1912-s, Very Fine, Strong Liberty, .3617 Ounce Silver