The Flowing Hair Half Dollar debuted in 1794, but was discontinued a year later due to heavy criticism. The mint then reintroduced the coin in 1796 as the Draped Bust Half Dollar. This series, which lasted only two years, included three different varieties. Of the 3,918 half dollars minted, fewer than 300 or 400 remain in existence.
In 1801, the Draped Bust underwent a makeover in the form of a reverse design of the Heraldic Eagle. This version lasted until 1807, when the Draped Bust was replaced by the Capped Bust Half Dollar. This series, which includes numerous variations, was minted until 1839.
In circulation from 1839 to 1891, the Seated Liberty design contained versions with and without mottos. Ultimately, this half dollar was replaced by the Barber Half Dollar in 1892. The new series was minted until 1915, contributing to the appeal of the Barber Coin Collectors’ Society.
In 1916, the mint released the Liberty Walking Half Dollar, which was praised for its design and was minted through 1947. The next half dollar design, the Franklin Half Dollar, came out in 1948 to a less than outstanding reception due to its unappealing design. This series stayed in production through 1963, when it was quickly redesigned with President Kennedy’s profile following his assassination. The silver content of the half dollar decreased from 90% to 40% in 1965 before switching, in 1971, to a copper-nickel clad composition.