Early Half Dollars


The early half dollars of the United States Mint were authorized under the Coinage Act of 1792. This act served to establish the US Mint and provide for the specific coinage to be produced.

The first half dollars were required to be struck in a composition of 1485 parts pure silver to 179 parts pure copper alloy, or 89.24% silver and 10.76% copper. The weight would be 208 grains or 13.5 grams. Following these specifications, the first half dollars were minted and issued in 1794.

1794 Half Dollar

The first type for the denomination would be known as the Flowing Hair Half Dollars. These coins were designed by Robert Scot and feature a portrait of Liberty, facing right with her hair slightly flowing backward. The reverse design features a bald eagle positioned within an open wreath. The coins were minted for only two years from 1794 to 1795.

The next type was known as the Draped Bust Half dollars. These coins were also designed by Scot, but based on the work of Gilbert Stuart. The portrait of Liberty included her hair lightly bound and her bust draped with clothing. Initially the reverse design remained the same from 1796 to 1797, but from 1801 to 1807 a new heraldic eagle reverse design was adopted.

This site will provide further basic information on the early half dollars of the United States Mint. A selection of coins available for sale will also be presented, including coins certified and graded by PCGS and NGC.