Early United States
The Mint Act is passed. Along with the other denominations, the half dollar is specified for the first time, including all the elements required by law.
Silver coins are struck for the first time for general circulation, as the Assayer and Chief Coiner were finally able to post bonds to be able to handle the bullion. Only dollars and half dollars were struck for the silver denominations in 1794. After a small amount of dollars were struck, it was decided that the press was not sufficient to strike the larger coins properly; therefore the half dollars were struck until a new larger press could be built.
5,300 half dollars were struck and delivered, all dated 1794.
A further 18,164 half dollars were delivered by the coiner, most likely consisting of both 1794 & 1795 dated coins.
The design of the lettered edge dies was changed.
The last of the 1795 dated and flowing hair type half dollars were struck and delivered by the coiner. Now that the dollars were being struck again, there was no need for more half dollars until 1797.
Tennessee admitted as the 16th state.
Assistant engraver John Smith Gardner leaves the Mint employ.
A small amount of half dollars (only 60, all dated 1796) were delivered on warrant # 81. This was the first use of the Draped Bust/Small Eagle designs on the half dollars.
Another small amount of half dollars (only 874, again all dated 1796) were delivered on warrant # 84.
The last half dollars of the Draped Bust/Small Eagle design (2,984 pieces, dated both 1796 & 1797) were delivered on warrant # 90.
The first half dollars of the heraldic eagle reverse design are struck.
(April – Nov.)
156,519 half dollars are struck, all with the 1803 date. One 1804 dated die is created, but never used, eventually being over-dated for use in 1805.
A new reverse master die is introduced, which included the dentils as part of the master die for the first time.
The 1804 dated obverse created but not used in 1804 is over punched with a 5 creating an 1805/4 and is used to strike two die marriages early in the year, paired with two different reverse dies made from the old master die.
A new obverse master die is introduced, also now including the dentils as part of the master/hub.
A die made from the new master, but erroneously punched first with a 4, is over dated with a 5 punch, creating another 1805/4 obverse die. This die quickly broke up and was only used to strike one die marriage.
Two obverse dies from 1805 were over dated for use in 1806 creating four 1806/5 die marriages. One of these was first used to create two 1805 die marriages before being over dated. The other was a left over unused 1805 dated die.
Another die shows an error made by the engraver when the six in the date was punched in upside down (twice!), and then corrected.
Prior to 1806, the working dies were of a cylinder design with the sides and die surface at a right angle to each other. Starting with the ninth die marriage, all of the working dies were made with a different new "fustrum" or cone design
For the first eight die marriages, the obverse dies were made utilizing a knobbed six in the date. After the changeover in die design construction, all the remaining dies utilized a pointed six in the date.
839,576 half dollars were struck and delivered in 1806, this was more than all of the half dollars struck from 1794-1805.
The last of the Type 2 edge dies were employed on all of the 1806 die marriages.
One reverse die made in 1806 was carried over for use in 1807.
The Type 3 edge dies with no decorations between the words "Fifty Cents or Half A Dollar" begin with the first 1807 die marriage.
Assistant Engraver John Reich is hired and immediately begins new master die designs for all of the denominations, however most likely the half dollar was not the first series he worked on.
The last of the draped bust / heraldic eagle design half dollars were delivered (warrant #453), after 760,076 1807 dated examples are struck and delivered.
The first of the new Reich capped bust design is struck and delivered (warrant #455)
To be continued...
(Currently Under Construction)