David Hall: The Hawaiian commemorative half dollar, struck to commemorate the sequicentennial (150th anniversary) of Captain Cook's landing in the Hawaiian Islands in 1778, was a rousing success. Unlike many other silver commemoratives, especially those struck in the "abusive" commemorative era of 1935-1939, the Hawaiian was a legitimate anniversary, a relatively low mintage coin, and a "honestly" distributed issue. The Hawaiian halves were sold at an issue price of $2 by the Bank of Hawaii. The original 10,008 coins minted sold out immediately, even though the $2 issue price was the highest of any commemorative half dollar to that point.
The Hawaiian half dollars were widely distributed and, because of thier relatively low type mintage and earlier issue date, they are somewhat rare today. They have always been considered a key issue to the silver commemorative series and they have always had good collector demand. The typical Hawaiian is well-struck and relatively mark-free. Toning can be an issue with Hawaiian halves so eye appeal is very important. Most Hawaiians have semi-frosty/semi-satin luster. But many are toned to various degrees, some quite attractively, but some pretty dark and dingy. Again, eye appeal is critical with this issue.
Note that 50 examples were struck as matte-proofs (see coin# 9310).
San Diego Collection
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