|Value||50 US Dollars|
|Composition||90% Au |
|Years of minting||1877|
|Mint marks||None (half union patterns were minted at the Philadelphia Mint)|
The half union (separate varieties known as J-1546 through J-1549) was a United States pattern coin with a face value of fifty U.S. Dollars. It is often thought of as one of the most significant and well-known patterns in the history of the U.S. Mint. The basic design, featuring Liberty on the obverse, was slightly modified from the similar $20 "Liberty Head" Double Eagle, which was designed by James B. Longacre and minted from 1849 to 1907.
Today, two gold specimens belong to the Smithsonian. No others are known to exist. There are also copper specimens of the coin that can go for more than $300,000 in PF-65 condition. The half union was never released for circulation.
Some half unions can have a somewhat smaller or larger head than others.
In 1877, famed Chief Engraver of the Mint at the time, William Barber, designed the coin. William Barber also designed several other coins, such as the "Amazonian Quarter" pattern, the short-lived Twenty Cent Piece, and the Trade Dollar. The coin was designed to weigh roughly 2.5 ounces and be made of solid gold. Had it been made for circulation with the general public, the coin would have been the highest valued gold coin ever made at the time, with a face value of fifty dollars. As it is a pattern, it was never struck for circulation and all other known presentation versions were made of copper or sometimes various gilded metals. Only two examples were actually struck in gold, and today both reside in the Smithsonian.
However, the half-union denomination did resurface in the form of a $50 commemorative coin released in 1915 to commemorate San Francisco, the Panama–Pacific commemorative coins. Some of the coins were octagonal, others round, making it the first and only time the United States Mint has ever released a coin that was not round.
In 1915, a gold commemorative coin was issued in $50 denomination, the Panama–Pacific half union. It was minted in round and octagonal varieties, the latter being the only United States coin issued to date that is not round.
Coins of the United States dollar were first minted in 1792. New coins have been produced annually and they make up a valuable aspect of the United States currency system. Today, circulating coins exist in denominations of 1¢, 5¢, 10¢, 25¢, 50¢, and $1.00. Also minted are bullion and commemorative coins. All of these are produced by the United States Mint. The coins are then sold to Federal Reserve Banks which in turn are responsible for putting coins into circulation and withdrawing them as demanded by the country's economy.
A nickel is a five-cent coin struck by the United States Mint. Composed of 75% copper and 25% nickel, the piece has been issued since 1866. Its diameter is 0.835 inches (21.21 mm) and its thickness is 0.077 inches (1.95 mm). Due to inflation, the purchasing power of the nickel continues to drop, and currently the coin represents less than 1% of the federal hourly minimum wage. In 2018, over 1.26 billion nickels were produced at the Philadelphia and Denver mints.
The dime, in United States usage, is a ten-cent coin, one tenth of a United States dollar, labeled formally as "one dime". The denomination was first authorized by the Coinage Act of 1792. The dime is the smallest in diameter and is the thinnest of all U.S. coins currently minted for circulation, being 0.705 inches in diameter and 0.053 in (1.35 mm) in thickness. The obverse of the current dime depicts the profile of President Franklin D. Roosevelt and the reverse boasts an olive branch, a torch, and an oak branch, from left to right respectively. As of 2011, the dime coin cost 5.65 cents to produce.
The United States Mint has minted numerous commemorative coins to commemorate persons, places, events, and institutions since 1848. Many of these coins are not intended for general circulation, but are still legal tender. The mint also produces commemorative medals, which are similar to coins but do not have a face value, and therefore are not legal tender.
A double eagle is a gold coin of the United States with a denomination of $20. The coins are made from a 90% gold and 10% copper alloy and have a total weight of 1.0750 troy ounces.
The eagle was a United States $10 gold coin issued by the United States Mint from 1792 to 1933.
The Jamaican dollar has been the currency of Jamaica since 1969. It is often abbreviated to J$, the J serving to distinguish it from other dollar-denominated currencies. It is divided into 100 cents, although cent denominations are no longer in use as of 2018. Goods and services may still be priced in cents, but cash transactions are now rounded to the nearest dollar.
William Barber was the fifth Chief Engraver of the United States Mint from 1869 until his death. He succeeded James B. Longacre in the position.
Charles Edward Barber was an American coin engraver who served as the sixth chief engraver of the United States Mint from 1879 until his death in 1917. He had a long and fruitful career in coinage, designing most of the coins produced at the mint during his time as chief engraver. He did full coin designs, and he designed about 30 medals in his lifetime. The Barber coinage were named after him. In addition, Barber designed a number of commemorative coins, some in partnership with assistant engraver George T. Morgan. For the popular Columbian half dollar, and the Panama-Pacific half dollar and quarter eagle, Barber designed the obverse and Morgan the reverse. Barber also designed the 1883 coins for the Kingdom of Hawaii, and also Cuban coinage of 1915. Barber's design on the Cuba 5 centavo coin remained in use until 1961.
A pattern coin is a coin which has not been approved for release, but produced to evaluate a proposed coin design. They are often off-metal strike, to proof standard or piedforts. Many coin collectors collect and study pattern coins because of their historical importance. Many of the world's most valuable coins are pattern coins; nearly 25 of the pieces listed in 100 Greatest US Coins are pattern coins.
The Indian Head cent, also known as an Indian Head penny, was a one-cent coin ($0.01) produced by the United States Bureau of the Mint from 1859 to 1909. It was designed by James Barton Longacre, the Chief Engraver at the Philadelphia Mint.
The Shield nickel was the first United States five-cent piece to be made out of copper-nickel, the same alloy of which American nickels are struck today. Designed by James B. Longacre, the coin was issued from 1866 until 1883, when it was replaced by the Liberty Head nickel. The coin takes its name from the motif on its obverse, and was the first five-cent coin referred to as a "nickel"—silver pieces of that denomination had been known as half dimes.
The United States trade dollar was a dollar coin minted by the United States Mint to compete with other large silver trade coins that were already popular in East Asia. The idea first came about in the 1860s, when the price of silver began to decline due to increased mining efforts in the western United States. A bill providing in part for the issuance of the trade dollar was eventually put before Congress, where it was approved and later signed into law as the Coinage Act of 1873. The act made trade dollars legal tender up to five dollars. A number of designs were considered for the trade dollar, and an obverse and reverse created by William Barber were selected.
The half eagle is a United States coin that was produced for circulation from 1794 to 1929 and in commemorative and bullion coins since 1983. Composed almost entirely of gold, its face value of five dollars is half that of the eagle coin. Production of the half eagle was authorized by the Coinage Act of 1792, and it was the first gold coin minted by the United States.
The United States Mint has minted over 20 different kinds of coins, of many different sizes. Often, it is difficult for people to get a grasp of what much of the historical coinage looked like, at least in relation to modern circulating coins. This chart shows all of the coin types, and their sizes, grouped by coins of similar size and by general composition.
Coins of the Australian dollar were introduced on 14 February 1966, although they did not at that time include one-dollar or two-dollar coins. The dollar was equivalent in value to 10 shillings in the former currency.
The United States dollar is the official currency of the United States and its territories. The Coinage Act of 1792 introduced the U.S. dollar at par with the Spanish silver dollar, divided it into 100 cents, and authorized the minting of coins denominated in dollars and cents. U.S. banknotes are issued in the form of Federal Reserve Notes, popularly called greenbacks due to its historically predominantly green color.
The numismatic history of the United States began with Colonial coins such as the pine tree shilling and paper money; most notably the foreign but widely accepted Spanish piece of eight, ultimately descended from the Joachimsthaler and the direct ancestor of the U.S. Dollar.
The five Panama–Pacific commemorative coins were produced in connection with the 1915 Panama–Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco. Struck at that city's mint, the issue included round and octagonal $50 pieces. Excepting modern bullion coins, these two gold pieces are the highest denomination ever issued and the largest coins ever struck by the United States Mint. The octagonal $50 piece is the only U.S. coin to be issued that is not round.
The Union was a proposed $100 coin of the United States dollar. It was canceled before any pattern coins could be minted.