Barber Half Dollars (1892-1915)
The Barber half-dollar was introduced in 1892. Like its’ ten- and twenty-five cent counterparts, it was intended as a replacement for the Liberty seated design, which had been in use over fifty years by then. The Barber half was produced until 1915, at four different mints: Philadelphia, Denver, New Orleans and San Francisco. Charles A. Barber designed the coin. His initial “B” appears on the obverse, on the truncation of Liberty’s neck. The design is a slight variation on Barber’s twenty-five cent design.
Mintmarks, when present, are found below the eagle’s tail on the reverse. There are no truly rare coins within the series, but some of the date & mintmark combinations are scarce, including the 1892-O, 1892-S, 1893-S, 1897-O, 1897-S, 1904-S, 1913, 1914 and 1915. Well-worn examples of almost all other dates, aside from these, are readily available and generally inexpensive.
As with all of the Barber-named series, Barber halves were workhorse coins. Many stayed in circulation until the 1960’s, and became heavily worn as a result. Finding collectible examples in very fine or better grades is a great challenge for any coin collector. Attractive mint state examples can be difficult to locate, and remain highly prized. Proofs were made for all dates in the series, and are often very attractive. Unlike the dime and quarter, no Barber halves were made dated 1916.