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Commemorative Half Dollars

The first commemorative Half Dollars issued by the United States were used to raise money for the Columbian Exposition in Chicago held in 1892 and 1893. A total of 2,500,405. At the Exposition, people could buy a Columbian Half Dollar for a Dollar, a fact that seemed to puzzle a lot of folks. “Why would anyone pay a Dollar for Fifty cents?” At the end of the Exposition, many of these coins were released into circulation, making the Columbian Half Dollar very common and easily acquired in circulated condition. However, in uncirculated condition, they can get a bit pricey. Between 1892 and 1954, forty-eight different commemorative half dollars were issued. All of these coins were known as the “Early Commemorative” or “Classic Commemorative” series and were struck from a .900 silver and .100 copper alloy, with the same specifications as the circulating half dollars of the day. In 1982, to mark the 250th anniversary of the birth of George Washington, Congress authorized the issuance of a half dollar struck from a .900 silver and .100 alloy, the first such silver coin struck since 1964. A total of 7,104,502 of these coins were issued. Since then, many different commemorative half dollars have been issued to raise funds for a variety of different causes.

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