US Coins

Monroe Doctrine half dollar in MS-67

The 50 distinct types of commemorative silver half dollars of the classic 1892 to 1954 era offers some obvious beauties and others that are a bit more of an acquired taste, aesthetically. 

The 1923-S Monroe Doctrine Centennial half dollar is credited to sculptor Chester Beach. The obverse depicts the profiles of James Monroe and John Quincy Adams. The reverse has a personification of the Western Hemisphere in female form that was inspired in part by Ralph Beck’s 1901 Pan-American Exposition medal, among other artistic historical precedents. 

In total, 300,000 half dollars were authorized to honor the 100th anniversary of the Monroe Doctrine and were issued by the Los Angeles Clearing House, representing backers of the First Annual American Historical Revue and Motion Picture Industry. The majority of the 274,000 coins struck entered circulation rather than being sold for twice face value.


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A typical example in near-Mint State condition can be found for around $50. Many Mint State survivors have low eye appeal, a weak strike, or dull luster, so those in high grades are rare. 

Bonhams on Jan. 28 sold one in Professional Coin Grading Service Mint State 67 that the cataloger called “vividly toned in multicolored hues including reddish-gold, sea-blue, pinkish-rose, jade-green and silver-apricot iridescence.” The unusually attractive half dollar sold for $18,000.

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