The 1928 Hawaii Discovery Sesquicentennial commemorative half dollar
has a low mintage of just 10,008 pieces and is an expensive coin in
any grade, much like the 1935 Old Spanish Trail commemorative half dollar.
For Hawaiian commemorative half dollars there are two points of
entry. A problematic coin can be found with some searching at the
$1,200 level, such as an example graded ANACS Uncirculated Details,
Environmental Damage, with uneven coloring and an odd salmon pink
color, that brought $1,116.25 at a 2013 auction.
For several hundred dollars more, a collector can buy a more
presentable example with light wear or other minor problems.
The next substantial quality-jump is for a problem-free MS-62
representative that may cost $2,000, or so, or an attractive MS-63
that coin can be found at the $2,500 level.
The Hawaiian half dollar is a prime example of the study that the
classic commemorative series requires to make smart buying decisions.
Most Spanish Trail half dollars were saved; many Hawaiian ones were
spent. For both types, those that survived unspent often have odd
toning or impaired luster.
As with most coins, the best way to train one’s eye as to what’s
attractive (and considered by the market to be original) is to look at
many different coins. In this case, both the Spanish Trail and
Hawaiian half dollars have distinct looks.