In 1836, steam-powered presses were introduced at the Philadelphia Mint. Coins would be produced using a close collar, which struck the obverse, reverse, and edge at the same time. This new technology resulted in coins that were generally of higher quality and more standardized. The half dollar was the first denomination produced using the new equipment.
To coincide with the adoption of the new machinery, the specifications of the half dollar were altered resulting in a reduced weight and diameter. The edge was also reeded instead of lettered and modifications were made to the design. During the transitional year, coins were struck with both the original and modified design.
The 1836 Capped Bust Half Dollar (Buy on eBay) with the original design and lettered edge had a mintage of 6,545,000, representing the highest figure of the series. Coins with the modified design and reeded edge were produced in November, with only 1,200 pieces reportedly struck. The reeded edge issue is both popular and scarce due to its historical importance and low mintage.
- Designer: Christian Gobrecht
- Composition: 90% Silver, 10% Copper
- Weight: 13.36 grams
- Diameter: 30 mm
- Edge: Reeded