US Coins

Colorful MS-66+ Sesquicentennial silver half dollar

Like the 1923-S Monroe Doctrine half dollar, the 1926 Sesquicentennial of American Independence commemorative half dollar is often found in lightly circulated grades for around $50.

One million 1926 half dollars were authorized by an Act of March 3, 1925, to honor the 150th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, and of these, many were melted, for a net mintage of 141,120.

The obverse features the busts of George Washington and then-President Calvin Coolidge, with designer John Ray Sinnock’s initials at Washington’s bust. Sinnock would later design the 1946 Roosevelt dime that continues today. 

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The overall low relief of the commemorative and generally indifferent production quality means that most Mint State examples lack eye appeal and receive modest grades. Swiatek has observed “porous openings or minute holes located in the cheek area of Washington and Coolidge,” and adds, “To date, I have yet to encounter a Sesqui. half that does not exhibit at least a slight graininess or lack of metal fill at this location.” 

Some of these cheek marks are seen on an example graded Mint State 66+ by Numismatic Guaranty Corp. with an NGC Star and a green CAC sticker that sold for $19,200 at Heritage’s Florida United Numismatists auction. Heritage wrote, “Attractive iridescence blankets both sides in pastel hues of pink, lilac, tangerine, and gold,” and it is one of the finest certified. 

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