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The Half Dollar, while not widely used in circulation today, was a mainstay of the banking system in the early 19th century. Struck almost continuously since 1794 (though only sporadically between 1921 and 1933) the Half has featured most of the traditional American coinage designs including one of the few designs to use a real person who was not a former U.S. President. As is the case with most of the date sets, the early coins are the keys. The early Draped Bust, Small Eagle reverse design (struck only in 1796 and 1797) is one of the major U.S. type rarities. With a miniscule original mintage of just 3,918 coins for both years, it is estimated that fewer than 300 pieces have survived. The 1794 is also scarce, but not on the order of the 1796-97. Most of the others should provide relatively little difficulty.
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