½ Dollar - San Diego California-Pacific Exposition

½ Dollar - San Diego (California-Pacific Exposition) - obverse½ Dollar - San Diego (California-Pacific Exposition) - reverse

© Ben-jamin (CC0)


Issuer United States
Period Federal republic (1776-date)
Type Non-circulating coin
Years 1935-1936
Value ½ Dollar = 50 Cents (½ USD)
Currency Dollar (1785-date)
Composition Silver (.900)
Weight 12.5 g
Diameter 30.6 mm
Thickness 2 mm
Shape Round
Technique Milled
Orientation Coin alignment ↑↓
References KM# 171
Tracy L. Schmidt (editor); 2019. Standard Catalog of World Coins / 2001-Date (14th edition). Krause Publications, Stevens Point, Wisconsin, United States.
And 5 more volumes.

Commemorative issue

California-Pacific Exposition


Seated Minerva, Goddess of wisdom, holding a spear in one hand and a shield with the other, a cornucopia next to the shield, a grizzly bear In front of the spear, and a ship, a gold miner, and mountains in the background

Script: Latin


Engraver: Robert Aitken


Chapel of St. Francis, and the California Tower

Script: Latin


Engraver: Robert Aitken




D United States Mint of Denver, United States (1906-date)
S United States Mint of San Francisco, United States (1854-date)


The issue commonly referred to as the San Diego Half Dollar was authorized to mark the California-Pacific International Exposition.

The obverse design was based on elements of the California State Seal. Minerva is seated with a spear and shield bearing the word “Eureka”, a grizzly bear is to her left, a horn of plenty is to the right, and a ship and miner at work appear in the background. Inscriptions read "United States of America”, “Liberty”, and “Half Dollar”. The reverse image includes two of the exposition buildings, the observation tower and the State of California building. The words “California Pacific International Exposition” appear in a circle around the image, with “In God We Trust”, “San Francisco”, and the date in the center. The designer of the coin was Robert Aitken, best known for his design of the 1915-S Panama Pacific $50 Gold Piece.

The full maximum authorized mintage of 250,000 pieces was struck at the San Francisco Mint in 1935 and sales began at the price of $1 each. After slow initial sales, the exposition sought and received Congressional approval to send back 180,000 of the unsold coins to be melted and reminted with the 1936 date. The 1936-dated coins would be struck at the Denver Mint and offered for sale at $1.50 each. Meanwhile, a remaining quantity of the 1935-dated coins was offered at $3 each. Later, the cost of the 1936 coins was also raised to $3 each.

Despite these efforts, sales progressed even more slowly. Eventually, 150,000 of the 1936 coins were sent back to the Mint for melting. After the entire convoluted process, total sales were 100,224 out of the 250,000 maximum authorized mintage.

For present-day collectors, this issue remains widely available and relatively affordable even in grades up to MS66.

Authorization: Public Law 74-50 and 74-566

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Date Mintage VG F VF XF AU UNC Frequency
1935 S 70 132 $ 89 $ 140 86%
1936 D 30 092 $ 120 25%

Values in the table above are expressed in USD. They are based on evaluations by Numista users and sales realized on Internet platforms. They serve as an indication only; they are not intended to be relied upon for buying, selling or exchanging. Numista does not buy or sell coins or banknotes.

Frequencies show the percentage of Numista users who own each year or variety among all the users who own this coin. Since some users own several versions, the sum may be greater than 100%.

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Numista Rarity index: 47 Search tips
This index is based on the data of Numista members collections. It ranges from 0 to 100, 0 meaning a very common coin or banknote and 100 meaning a rare coin or banknote among Numista members.

Bullion value: USD 8.43 Search tips
This value is given for information purpose only. It is based on a price of silver at 749 USD/kg. Numista does not buy or sell coins or metal.

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