Barber Half Dollars

Barber half dollar coin values have increased significantly since the early 1990s, when well-worn examples of common dates in the series were easily considered junk silver. These days, Barber half dollars (named for designer Charles E. Barber) seemed to have gained greater appreciation for their overall scarceness and are worth much more than they were in earlier decades. Even common-date, Good-4 Barber half dollars – once worth barely more than their intrinsic bullion value – now have minimum coin values of about $15 to $20, or about three times greater than their prices in the 1990s.

As many coin collectors and investors discover when pursuing Barber half dollars, it’s very difficult to complete a date-and-mintmark collection of these coins in a minimum grade of Good-4. That’s mainly because Barber half dollars circulated very heavily during their production from 1892 through 1915 and even thereafter. Back then, a half dollar represented a large part of a typical American’s daily wage, and few of these coins were ever really saved. Values for this coin reflect its scarcity, especially in the case of the high-grade Barber halves. Take, for example, the 1899 Barber half dollar – one of the most common issues in the series. Values for this coin in Good-4 are between $18 and $20. However, that same piece in MS-60 is worth roughly $550; the price jumps to nearly $3,500 for an MS-65 specimen.

Interestingly, Barber half dollar coin values across the board take a significant leap upward between from the grade of Very Good to Fine. That’s because Barber half dollars are considered scarce above the grade of Very Good, and in Extremely Fine or higher, they are virtually rare.