Coin Values Moving with Precious Metals: Up-Dated 4/8/2024: Gold $2332 | Silver $27.61


1894 Half Dollar Value

Popular among collectors is building sets of the Barber series, creating demand. and supporting 1894 half dollar value. Each collection includes examples of each year, including examples from each mint.

The presence or absence of a mintmark distinguishes all of the different mint issues from one another. Becoming elusive today are examples struck at the Philadelphia mint. Exact variety is confirmed using images that indicate location and illustrate each mark.

On the chart, combinations of date and mint varieties are listed and valued separately. Continue to Step 2 and determine the coin's condition in order to narrow down how much it is worth.

1894 Half Dollar - Barber Half Dollar Series - Obverse and Reverse View

Steps Leading to Value:

  • Step 1: Date and Mintmark Variety - It is important to note the value chart lists the three mints that produced 1894 half dollars. To limit the premium range and recognize the scarce Philadelphia issue, identify the correct date and mint variety combination.
  • Step 2: Grading Condition - Condition of your Barber half is recognized using descriptions of its condition. Collectors prize nice, pleasing examples, which are worth a premium.
  • Step 3: Special Qualities - An overall view of these vintage halves is next. Pleasing coins without eye distracting marks or nicks are favored by collectors.
1894 Half Dollar Value
 Condition of Coin
DateGoodFineExtremely
Fine
Mint
State
Barber Half Dollar Values Updated 4/8/2024
1894 $32 $101 $182 $417
1894 O $19.83 $89 $220 $552
1894 S $18.22 $77 $195 $708

Chart lists wholesale value range of Barber half dollars. Dealer demands and condition are important factors. Using the steps below narrows the range.

Step 1: | Date and Mintmark - Three to Recognize

Examination Confirms Variety and 1894 Half Dollar Value

1894 half dollars were produced in ample quantities at two of the three mints striking coins during the year. As part of a complete set of Barber half dollars, collectors today search for examples from each mint. All U.S. coins struck at branch mints include a distinctive mintmark to identify their coinage.

Philadelphia, the main mint's low production of half dollars and lack of quality examples remaining are noteworthy for the year. Identify and record the precise mint variety.

1894-S Barber Half Dollar

"S" Mintmark on Reverse: San Francisco Mint Struck the Coin

S Mintmark Barber Half Dollar

San Francisco half dollars dated 1894 have the status of an available date, although most display heavy wear. These remained in use for a very long time. With 4,048,690 produced, collectors view this date as an affordable representation of both a branch mint and an early year of the Barber series half dollar. However, all are valued at a significant premium when determined as well-detailed, collector-quality condition.

Examine the reverse of the coin to identify the San Francisco half dollar. Immediately above the letters "DO" in "DOLLAR." A large "S" is the mintmark, indicating the coin was struck in San Francisco.

1894-O Barber Half Dollar

"O" Mintmark on Reverse: New Orleans Mint Struck the Coin

O Mintmark Barber Half Dollar

Coin collectors place a premium on half dollars struck at the New Orleans mint in 1894. Despite an increase in yearly production climbing above 2.1 million coins, it is often difficult to locate a nice, quality example. Once found, these command a very high price.

Collectors enjoy collecting New Orleans mint coinage as a specialized set. In addition to rarity, condition is an important factor in determining value.

The "O" mintmark located on the reverse verifies that the coin is of the New Orleans mint variety. As a branch mint, these marks were used to identify the New Orleans mint. New Orleans' mintmark, an "O," is found at the bottom center, just below the eagle.

1894 Barber Half Dollar

No Mintmark on Reverse: Philadelphia Mint Struck the Coin

No Mintmark 1894 Barber Half Dollar

The Philadelphia mint produced fewer half dollars in the middle of the 1890's decade than its series average. All of these are considered collectibles and worth more than their minimum silver value. 1894 mintage total of just over 1.1 million half dollars is far fewer than the branch mint totals. A scarce and premium coin. Examples in high grade condition are in high demand.

Absence of a mintmark on the reverse of Philadelphia issues is how these are identified. The Philadelphia issue is recognized by an empty space directly above the "DO" letters of "DOLLAR."

Step 2: | Judge and Grade the Extent of Wear with Images

Recognize Condition to Define the Grade Referenced on Chart

The value of Barber half dollars varies according to their condition. State of preservation is a key to how much they are worth. Grading the coin defines the condition by judging wear to the surface. A close examination and comparing your coin to stages of wear help judge its grade.

When metal is worn from these old halves, features of the design typically wear in recognizable patterns. The following images highlight these patterns and areas to evaluate.

Mint State Grade

Barber Half Dollar Mint State Grade

Mint State: A Barber half dollar in Mint State condition is difficult to surpass in terms of aesthetic appeal. This top-quality coin is in the condition they left the mint, without any wear to the surface. Specifically, absence of wear is the grade's defining characteristic. The method of confirming the grade is by inspecting areas to see if all the coin's original luster is still present. Second, look for flattened areas on high points caused by wear.

The process of striking coins with coining dies imparts luster to the metal. Any light shining on the coin now reflects brilliantly because of the surface's fine texture. Examining high contours and small raised details determines if any surface luster has worn.

On Mint State grade halves, Liberty's cheek has a texture of luster that matches low relief areas along the jaw line. A radiance moves across her jaw and cheek as the coin is slowly tilted from side to side under a single light source. This radiance is visible in both the low and high areas of her jaw and cheek.

A second place to examine are the intricate, small design details that help verify a high-quality coin. There are raised edges to the leaves within the wreath, which, if worn, become smooth and show small flat spots. On the example half, all the leaves are complete and untouched, indicating no wear and a high grade.

Extremely Fine Grade

Barber Half Dollar Extremely Fine Grade

Extremely Fine: Identifying a Barber half still displaying very fine details helps judge a collectible coin. Extremely Fine condition is the grade given to define a coin with just light wear confined to small areas.

Overall, a lightly circulated half is a soft silver-gray color, replacing most original brilliance of luster. A smoothing of the metal now covers the surface. A close look at Liberty's headband shows all letters of "LIBERTY" are clearly visible and bold. Just above and below the lettering, a strong edge to the ribbon remains. This band and its edges are separated from the leaves and hair.

Adding to collector appeal, Liberty's full portrait is well contoured, and all high and low relief areas are defined. Her cheek and neck are showing just minor smoothing, and the only flattened area is her eyebrow. When these coins have a "crisp" look, they are serious candidates for the Extremely Fine grade.

Fine Grade

Fine Grade Barber Half Dollar

Fine Grade: These half dollars are now classified in the Fine grade category of condition once the major design elements have begun to blend together. A coin is defined as Fine grade if it shows signs of moderate wear and has some merging of key design elements.

Above Liberty's eye, the brow has lost its contours and become smooth and flat. Also, her forehead and hair are no longer clearly separated. The lettered headband is missing its bottom edge due to wear. Additionally, her ear is surrounded by a smooth area. The coin's legible "LIBERTY" within the headband is a distinguishing feature that places it in the Fine Grade category. Letters are mostly bold, however, with a slight fading along the bottom of the central letters.

Note how, when the coin is tilted under a light, the forehead, cheek under the eye, and nose become connected at the same flattened height. These formerly rounded areas have been clearly leveled and smoothed. With the boldness of the rim, date, and stars, the half dollar presents a pleasing, moderately worn appearance.

Good Grade

Barber Half Dollar in Good Grade

Good Grade: A half dollar in "Good" grade is one where the condition shows the majority of the design is worn smooth. This grade is determined by a lack of central elements and the presence of complete outlines of major features.

In general, the remaining design is worn flat, although all the design's edges are complete. Liberty's portrait has a complete and strong outline, rising well above the coin's field. All but a few features of Liberty's central design are flat, but the eye area is still clear. Leaves of the wreath above her ear are often slightly defined, adding sharpness.

All lettering of the motto along the rim is nicely defined, and the date is bold. Note, the example half dollar shows full separation of letters and stars from a clear, raised rim. Letters appearing faded and connecting to the rim lowers the appeal to collectors.

Despite the coin's lack of finer features, the existing design makes a strong impression.

How to Video: Grading Barber Half Dollars

Expand the grading process to help confirm a narrow grade. Condition is often a large factor when placing a value on these Barber half dollars.

Video, Images and Descriptions | Grading Barber Half Dollars

Step 3: | Special Qualities | Confidently Recognize Collectible Barber Half Dollar

Confirm a Quality 1894 Half Dollar

Two main levels of value are recognizable in these old Barber halves. All of these coins are a silver alloy and worth well above face value, trading easily at a premium. Additionally, collectors search for nice quality examples to place in collections, adding a quality premium.

If your coin is the 1894-S San Francisco issue, it does miss the scarce Philadelphia mint variety. However, it remains a possible candidate for high collectible status. Date and mint of issue quickly determine the first key elements. Then it becomes the state of preservation as the next important trait to confirm.

Barber Half Dollars Nice Quality Compared to Damage SurfacesA Nice Quality Barber Half Stands Out

Viewing the examples above, a quality coin stands out for its pleasing surface qualities. To the right and left are lower condition coins because of visible marks, dark discoloration, and visibly cleaned surfaces. A nice eye appealing coin draws the attention of collectors and premium values. Noticeable problems remove a coin from consideration.

A Heavily Worn Example Barber Half Dollar Compared to a Moderately Worn ExampleA Comparison of Heavy to Moderate Wear Barber Halves

A confirming factor easily visible is the visual difference in the above example of half dollars. Wear has removed the majority of design to one and a pleasing amount remains on the other.

A very worn 1894-S mint variety is worth $18.22 and does enjoy a small premium over intrinsic silver price.

Inspect the headband of the higher quality coin, and all letters of "Liberty" are visible. This fact confirms a scarce level of condition in the Barber half dollar series.

Finding your half dollar without any distractions, marks, or dark color, and displaying natural surfaces immediately places it above many others. Readable letters in the headband allow for a confident determination; it is a special Barber half dollar.

References

U.S. Mint. 1895 U.S. Mint Annual Report https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/book/514117
U.S. Mint. Catalogue of Coins of the United States. https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/book/554591

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