The 1926 Sesquicentennial of American Independence Half Dollar is most often noted for its low relief design, which gives the coins somewhat of an unattractive appearance. This was one of two commemorative coins issued for the 150th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence.
The obverse of the coin features the busts of George Washington and Calvin C. Coolidge. Th latter was the President at the time of issue and represented the first time that a U.S. President appeared on a coin during his lifetime. Inscriptions surrounding read “Liberty”, “United States of America”, and “In God We Trust”.
On the reverse of the coin is an image of the Liberty Bell with the anniversary dates “1776” and “1926” to each side. The remaining inscriptions read “Sesquicentennial of American Independence” and “Half Dollar”. This reverse design by John R. Sinnock would later be used for the series of Franklin Half Dollars issued from 1948 to 1963.
The Sesquicentennial Half Dollars were authorized in a quantity of up to one million coins. In anticipation of widespread demand the entire amount was struck at the Philadelphia Mint. The coins were offered for sale at $1 each and ultimately only sold 141,120 pieces. The remaining amount was melted. Ironically, the initial unpopularity of the design which led to low sales, now makes this one of the more valuable commemorative coins due to the low resulting mintage.
American Sesquicentennial Half Dollar Coin Specifications
Designer: John R. Sinnock
Composition: 90% silver, 10% copper
Weight: 12.50 grams
Diameter: 30.6 mm
Authorization: Public Law 68-62
Maximum Authorized Mintage: 1,000,000
American Sesquicentennial Half Dollar Mintage