Wednesday, November 8, 2023

Meet the Famous Faces on the Half Dollar: Discover the Icons of American History!

who is on half dollar coin
Who is on the Half Dollar Coin?The half dollar coin, also known as the fifty-cent piece, is a widely recognized and valued coin in the United States. It has been in circulation since 1794, making it one of the oldest denominations of U.S. currency. This article aims to shed light on the various individuals who have graced the face of the half dollar coin throughout history. Let's take a closer look at these iconic figures and the significance they hold.

1. George Washington


One of the most famous and influential figures in American history, George Washington was the first President of the United States. His image first appeared on the half dollar coin in 1948 to commemorate the 200th anniversary of his birth. The front side of the coin features a left-facing portrait of Washington, while the back showcases the Great Seal of the United States.

2. Benjamin Franklin


Benjamin Franklin, a polymath known for his contributions to science, literature, and the founding of the United States, appeared on the half dollar coin from 1948 to 1963. Franklin's portrait was chosen to celebrate his 200th birth anniversary. The image of Franklin on the coin showcases his profile, emphasizing his iconic glasses and balding head.

3. John F. Kennedy


Perhaps the most recognizable and beloved President of the United States, John F. Kennedy, graced the half dollar coin in 1964, following his assassination in 1963. The image depicts a left-facing portrait of Kennedy, showcasing his iconic youthful charm. Kennedy's appearance on the coin was a way for the nation to honor his legacy and commemorate his contributions to the country.

4. Other Commemorative Designs


While George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, and John F. Kennedy are the most prominent figures to appear on the half dollar coin, there have been various commemorative designs throughout history. One notable design is the Walking Liberty half dollar, minted from 1916 to 1947. This coin featured Lady Liberty striding confidently toward the sunrise, symbolizing freedom and progress.

Another significant design is the Franklin half dollar, minted from 1948 to 1963. It showcased Benjamin Franklin's profile and was introduced to replace the Walking Liberty design. The Franklin half dollar is highly sought after by collectors due to its historical significance and limited mintage.


The half dollar coin has gone through several design changes throughout its long history. From George Washington to Benjamin Franklin and John F. Kennedy, these iconic figures have left their mark on this cherished denomination. Whether it is to honor the founding fathers, commemorate important anniversaries, or pay tribute to beloved leaders, the half dollar coin serves as a reminder of the rich history and cultural significance of the United States.


1. Are half dollar coins still in circulation?

Yes, half dollar coins are still in circulation, but they are not as commonly used as other denominations. They are often sought after by collectors.

2. Can I use half dollar coins for everyday transactions?

While half dollar coins are legal tender, many businesses may not readily accept them due to their relatively uncommon usage. Banks and coin collectors are the best places to exchange them.

3. Why did the design of the half dollar coin change over time?

The design of the half dollar coin changed to honor different historical figures and commemorate significant events in American history. These changes reflect the evolving cultural and political landscape of the United States.

4. Are there any valuable half dollar coins?

Yes, there are certain half dollar coins that are highly valuable to collectors. Rare dates, mint errors, and coins in excellent condition can command a premium price.

5. Can I find half dollar coins in my pocket change?

While it is possible to find half dollar coins in pocket change, it is relatively rare. Most half dollar coins are obtained through banks or coin dealers.

With its rich history and iconic figures gracing its face, the half dollar coin stands as a testament to the cultural and historical significance of the United States. Whether you come across one in your pocket change or seek it out as a collector, this coin tells a story of the nation's past and the people who shaped it.


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