Coin Values Moving with Precious Metals: Up-Dated 5/27/2024: Gold $2341 | Silver $30.82


1902 Half Dollar Value

Barber halves was a series of coins produced with an alloy containing 90% silver. This series is now considered very old. Today, a substantial premium is in 1902 half dollar value.

With a collectible percentage applied, the minimum worth is $17.46 apiece. Demand is being supported by both, precious metal investors, and collectors seeking examples in higher grades. A coin's exact listing on the chart is found by confirming its date, mint, and judging condition. Follow the step-by-step-process below, using the images as a reference.

1902 Half Dollar - Barber Half Dollar Series - Obverse and Reverse View

Steps Leading to Value:

  • Step 1: Date and Mintmark Variety - Recognizing and identifying mintmarks is essential to provide a true description and thorough evaluation of these vintage Barber halves.
  • Step 2: Grading Condition - Today, many of these halves are in poor condition. Key design features visible indicates a higher-quality coin. Images are compared to grade condition.
  • Step 3: Special Qualities - Exceptional coins are sought by collectors at a variety of premiums. The aesthetically pleasing features of coins can range anywhere from low premiums to high premiums.
1902 Half Dollar Value
 Condition of Coin
DateGoodFineExtremely
Fine
Mint
State
Barber Half Dollar Values Updated 5/27/2024
1902 $17.46 $43 $159 $458
1902 O $18.36 $67 $229 Rare
1902 S $19.26 $95 $386 Rare

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

Step 1: | Date and Mintmarks are Now Identified

Small Mintmarks Identify Branch U.S. Mints

In addition to the date on 1902 Barber half dollars, identifying the mint that struck them is also important to the value of the coin. Half dollars in this year were produced by three different mints, each of significance to collectors. Mintmarks or the absence of a mintmark found on the coin identify each mint.

Each listing on the chart represents a unique date and mint combination with its value. Images are used when locating and identifying the mintmark.

1902-S Barber Half Dollar

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

S Mint Barber Half Dollar

A silver content premium is awarded to all 1902 half dollars struck by the San Francisco mint. Coinage from the western branch mint is a popular variety with collectors seeking nice, well detailed examples. 1,460,670 were produced, and most available today are in low quality, trading based on their 90% silver content. However, these are a difficult variety to find in a high state of preservation. Collectible quality is in strong demand.

An "S" mintmark found on the reverse identifies San Francisco half dollars. In the lower area of the coin, below the Eagle's tail feathers, a distinct "S" is the mintmark indicating the mint.

1902-O Barber Half Dollar

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

O Mint Barber Half Dollar

Minted in a long-ago era, Barber half dollars are all showing premium values because of silver content. Importantly, New Orleans mint issues are elusive and noted for their typically low mintage numbers at the time. Just over 2.5 million half dollars were produced by the New Orleans mint in 1902, a slightly above average yearly number. A popular coin with collectors because of its availability and New Orleans association. A confirmation of both date and mint variety is needed.

All New Orleans Barber half dollars are recognized by the large "O" mintmark found on the reverse. At the lower center just below the eagle, an "O" mintmark is seen identifying the New Orleans variety.

1902 Barber Half Dollar

No Mintmark on Reverse: Philadelphia Mint Struck the Coin

1902 Barber Half Dollar

1902 halves minted in Philadelphia are easily obtainable. The challenge is locating an example in better than heavily worn condition. A high production year seeing 4.9 million coined. In heavily worn condition, these trade in a range based on value of their silver content. All Barber series half dollars were minted during the era of 90% silver content in coinage.

Potential of raising the value of any 1902 half is recognizing above average condition. Confirm the date and mint combination first. Next, judging condition is done by recognizing a close match of the coin to an image of a standard grade in Step: 2.

Philadelphia Barber halves are identified by the lack of any mintmark on the reverse of the coin. In the lower area of the reverse, the area below the Eagle and just above HALF DOLLAR is empty. As the primary mint of the U.S., Philadelphia did not place a mark in this position.

Step 2: | Grading Defines Condition to Identify Place on Value Chart

Identify a Grade of Preservation to Narrow 1902 Half Dollar Value

Grades define the different stages of wear on coins. Standards of these levels of preservation are used to compare your half dollar. Using the images and descriptions, a narrow grade is recognized.

Important areas of the design are examined, and a close-up of details needed per grade is imaged, helping to recognize a higher quality coin.

Mint State Grade

Barber Half Dollar Mint State Grade

Mint State: Care is taken when handling coins of high quality. To prevent touching the surface of the coin, hold them by the edges. The definition Mint State indicates the coin's surface shows no signs of wear, and this state of preservation is maintained through careful handling. This grade is verified by carefully examining the surface and judging the areas that are most likely to experience wear.

In addition to having open areas like her cheek, neck, and cap, Liberty's portrait also has fine details within her hair, leaves, and headband. Her cheek and neck, an open and exposed area, are still covered in luster, which has a fine grain texture. Any wear that occurs in these areas causes the surface to become dull and smooth, which is a notable difference in comparison to the lower relief, protected areas.

Mint state grade is also determined by the finer details of the leaves, all of which remain without loss of detail. There are no flat areas on the leaf edges, and the inner raised contours show no signs of smoothing.

Inspecting the cap at the top of Liberty's head helps confirm a judgement of Mint State condition. As well as remaining covered in luster, this high area does not show signs of smoothness or dullness.

Extremely Fine Grade

1902 Barber Half Dollar Extremely Fine Grade

Extremely Fine: Featuring ample detail, this Barber half dollar is a nice example in Extremely Fine grade. Light wear restricted to the very tops of high-point details helps to define the grade.

Liberty's headband above her forehead is a key area to judge when grading these coins. With the word "LIBERTY" written across the ribbon, a clearly defined band with top and bottom edges is displayed. Although there is some minor wear along the bottom edge of the ribbon, all the letters are complete and bold. When examined closely, the example coin also reveals a separation between the headband and the leaves above it.

Liberty's cap on the back of her head is also examined as an area to help judge the grade. Note how the design has retained many of its contours. Wear is only evident on high relief areas of the folds and the outer edges to the cap. Significantly, there is no merging of the leaf edges with the cap; wear is visible as small, smooth, and flattened spots. A half dollar with slight wear is indicated by the well-detailed leaves and the remaining high and low areas within the cap.

Shine and luster are replaced by a surface now covered in shades of soft gray. Highly defined details remain, all contributing to an Extremely Fine grade of condition.

Fine Grade

Fine Grade Barber Half Dollar

Fine Grade: A Barber half dollar judged in Fine condition displays small details, although with some fading of design, while maintaining a crispness to its overall look.

These collectible quality coins strike a balance between missing detail and detail that is present. All letters in "LIBERTY," for instance, are clearly legible high above the head. However, noticeable wear is also present. The ribbon displaying the lettering is well worn, particularly along the lower edge where it blends with her forehead, and some of the letters are weak.

A completeness of detail to the leaves in the laurel wreath is a requirement to reach the grade. An upper row of leaves is prominently displayed within Liberty's hair. Leaf edges in the lower row, however, lack complete outlining to their edges. Its condition is identified as the Fine grade due to the visible and missing leaf design.

These halves display a clearly worn appearance in addition to a high-quality appearance. Remaining design is highlighted and given a pleasing appearance by a soft gray color of silver that has deeper tones along the rim.

Good Grade

Barber Half Dollar in Good Grade

Good Grade: Despite the level of wear, a half dollar graded "Good" retains characteristics that contribute to their appeal. The portrait of Liberty is worn smooth, with only a few of the primary design elements visible, defining the Good grade.

Note how a small part of the wreath is visible. Partial leaves along the bottom of her cap places the condition of the coin above severely worn examples.

There is demand for examples in this grade with a complete rim, without any merging with letters or stars. Even though her hairline is smooth above her forehead, visible details of her eye and ear are important to the reach the Good grade. Soft metal toning highlights the overall design and gives it a bold appearance.

How to Video: Grading Barber Half Dollars

Accurate value depends on judging condition of these Barber half dollars. Using the video, a focus on important areas to judge are examined. An expanded grading process narrows condition range.

Video, Images and Descriptions | Grading Barber Half Dollars

Step 3: | Special Qualities Enhancing Value

Recognize Collectible Barber Half Dollars

An overall quality check of old coins separates those candidates with potential to rise into collectible status. Premium values are given to eye appeal and quality of surfaces found on Barber half dollars. This includes all states of condition, from worn to mint state pieces.

A few factors are easily and quickly identified. Identifying these either enhances or lowers value.

  • Distraction Marks
  • Evidence of Cleaning
  • Damage Due to Storage

Damage Causing Lower Value to Barber Half DollarReverse Damage Visible on Barber Half Dollar

One type of damage avoided by collectors is large/deep marks or scratches. Inspecting the coin finds a pleasing - worn Barber half dollar - the obverse. A close examine of the reverse spots two deep marks, one found on the wing and another just in front of the beak. This coin has an initial appeal to beginning collectors as an example of the New Orleans mint variety Barber half dollar. However, damage is lowering its appeal.

Barber Half Dollar Reduced in Value a Result of CleaningBarber Half Dollar Showing Evidence of Cleaning

Cleaning a coin is considered a form of damage by collectors. Attempts to brighten dark coins by removing toning and color is causing further damage. Changing what a coin looks like to improve its appearance results in unnatural colors and toning. Notice the "shine" on the open areas of Liberty and within the fields. Eye appeal is an important part of value.

Storage Damage Lowering Value of Barber Half DollarStorage Damage Displayed on Barber Half Dollar

With advanced age of the Barber half dollars comes the possibility of storage damage. Where the coin is housed over the years determines its current state of surface preservation. Detected quickly are the mottled and deep colors of improper storage. Damage has occurred to the surface; corrosion is seen in the roughness of the metal. The coin is now in poor condition and no longer of interest to collectors.

Quality Barber Half DollarsPleasing Collector Quality Barber Half Dollars

View the selection of eye appealing Barber half dollars. Each is chosen to represent the absence of common forms of damage. Large distracting marks are not found on the surface. A natural array of toning is present. All have received proper care since they were removed from circulation. The visual difference from the damaged examples helps identify higher quality half dollars suitable for a collection and premium collector value.

References

U.S. Mint. 1903 U.S. Mint Annual Report https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/book/514125
U.S. Mint. Catalogue of Coins of the United States. https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/book/554591

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