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David Hall: The Grant half dollars were among the earliest of the silver commemoratives struck by the U.S. Mint. The sale and distribution of commemoratives was rather new and the people involved dramatically over-estimated the demand for the coins. For the Grant, 95,055 coins were originally minted of which 27,650 were melted as unsold. This made the available orginal mintage of 67,405.
This mintage figure is much higher than many of the issues of the 1930s, but as it turns out, the Grant is much rarer in Choice and Gem condition. The silver commemorative series can basically be divided into two parts; the pre-1930 and the post-1930 issues. The post-1930 issues were saved in large percentages at the time of issue and most of the original mintages survive and are in Choice or Gem condition. The pre-1930 issues were not saved as much on a percentage basis as the post-1930 issues and are much scarcer in Choice and Gem condition. Also, the pre-1930 issues often found their way into circulation, while it is almost impossible to find circulated examples of the post-1930 issues.
As a consequence of the above, the Grant half dollar is much rarer in Gem condition than many of the 1930s issues with much lower mintages, such as the Maryland, Gettysburg, Norfolk, New Rochelle, etc. Also note that most Grant half dollars have very obvious die striations swirling on the surfaces of the fields and most examples are also weakly struck thru the hair. The typical Grant has a more satiny than frosty luster. But if you can find a well struck example, eye appeal can be outstanding.
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