Capped Bust Half Dollar Specifications

The Capped Bust Half Dollars issued for the initial years of the series included a lettered edge. From 1807 to 1814, the lettering reads “FIFTY CENTS OR HALF A DOLLAR”. For the years 1814 to 1831, a single star was added between “DOLLAR” and “FIFTY”, and for 1831 to 1836, a vertical line was used. For all years when the lettered edge was used, the coins were struck on planchets with a composition of 89.24% silver and 10.76% copper. The standard weight was 13.48 grams or 208 grains and the standard diameter was 32.5 mm.

From 1836 to 1839, Capped Bust Half Dollars were struck with a reeded edge and different specifications. The planchets had a composition of 90% silver and 10% copper. The standard weight was 13.36 grams or 206 grains, and the diameter was 30 mm.

Due to the heavy use of dies, many coins of the series will look worn-out. The stars on the obverse are often weakly struck, together with the scroll on the reverse. The combination of a weak strike and subdued luster can often be mistaken for circulation wear, which can make grading the series difficult.

Care should be taken when selecting coins, as many have been dipped, cleaned or otherwise damaged. Coins with original surfaces are in the distinct minority and have recently sold for large premiums over white, non-original coins.