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The Barber Half Dollar (named after the designer Charles E. Barber) was introduced in 1892 along with the similarly designed dime and quarter dollar coins. Featuring the basic design of Liberty on the obverse and an eagle on the reverse, the series was produced until 1915, after which it was replaced by the popular Walking Liberty design. Unlike the Barber Quarter series, which has some genuinely tough coins, there are no significant rarities in the Barber Half series.
The 1892-O Barber Half Dollar was the first year of issue and had a low mintage of 390,000 pieces. Many of the coins were saved, making the coins generally available, however one variety exists which is extremely difficult to locate. This is the 1892-O “Micro O” Barber Half. Instead of a regular sized mint mark, a mint mark sized for a quarter dollar was used on the reverse. The term “micro O” refers to its noticeably diminished size. An example graded PCGS MS65 from the Steven L. Duckor Barber Half Dollar Collection sold for $80,500 in August 2010.
The 1904-S Barber Half Dollar is one of the scarcest issues of the series in mint state grades. The vast majority of the original mintage of 553,038 pieces circulated heavily, leaving few surviving specimens in grades MS60 or higher. The two pieces graded PCGS MS67 were sold at auction, realizing $138,000 (August 2010) and $126,500 (January 2011).
The Barber Half Dollar was designed by Charles E. Barber, Chief Engraver of The United States Mint. He also designed the dime and quarter coins that bear a similar image of Lady Liberty on the obverse.
Depicts a bust of Liberty on the obverse, facing right. She is wearing a Phrygian cap, with the word LIBERTY on the hair band. IN GOD WE TRUST is above the head with the date beneath the truncation of the neck and the designers initial “B” on the truncation. There are 13 stars representing the original states are surrounding the image, configured six to the left and seven to the right.
IN GOD WE TRUST
Depicts the image of an eagle with its wings spread, holding arrows in one claw and an olive branch in the other. A scroll within its beak contains the motto E PLURIBUS UNUM. Above the eagle are another 13 stars, and inscriptions UNITED STATES OF AMERICA and the denomination HALF DOLLAR are around.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA